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Wi-Fi Router Charts

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Mesh System Charts

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Product Recommendations

But enough with the navel-gazing! What the heck should you buy? If you want the best combination of high throughput and low throughput variation, then your choice should be products using Airgo's TrueMIMO technology. The Belkin G Plus actually turned in better WQS numbers than the Pre-N gear, but the Pre-N seems to be more widely available. At least in my testing, the results were not generally clear enough to categorically recommend one over the other, so buy on price.

If high throughput is what matters most to you, then choose any of the products using Atheros VLocity technology, i.e. the D-Link, ZyXEL or TRENDnet gear. Since all three also include routing sections with Ubicom's StreamEngine Internet upstream optimization technology, you can buy again on price, with TRENDnet getting the nod as low-price leader.

But keep in mind that you'll achieve this highest throughput only if your WLAN contains only Super-G clients and more likely only if the clients are from the same manufacturer and product family. You'll also need to make sure your hopefully speed WLAN isn't within range of any neighboring non Super-G wireless networks, since Super G products must shift down out of channel-bonding "turbo" mode if any are detected - even if you force "Static Turbo" mode.

So what about the other products? The Ruckus Wireless products command the highest price and may end up being mainly sourced via IPTV service providers (although the company says you can purchase them directly by emailing them). They don't provide the highest peak throughput, but earn the distinction of having both the highest total up and down throughput and WQS numbers in my most difficult test locations 4 and 5.

The non-MIMO Buffalo Turbo G Hi Power pair actually held its own among the sexier MIMO gear and managed to maintain 2-3Mbps of usable (although not with low variation) in the location 4 and 5 tests. Wireless bridging / repeating, upgradable antennas on both router and client, and pricing below all but the Airlink101 could make it an attractive alternative if you're willing to accept higher throughput variation for a lower price.

And what about the NETGEAR RangeMax, which ranked next-to-last for up and down WQS and behind both the Atheros and Airgo-based products for total up and down throughput? Actually, that about sums it up for this pair that seems to suffer from its earlier-generation Atheros technology and client that doesn't use the multi-element BeamFlex antenna. While it may be a top-selling MIMO product now, its technology and features are getting long in the tooth and the VLocity and TrueMIMO based products provide better value.

This brings me to the Airlink101, which bears the distinction of being the only product that I can't recommend because of its bottom total throughput ranking, low WQS and especially its inability to establish a connection in both difficult test locations 4 and 5.

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