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Wireless Performance

NOTE!NOTES:
SNR readings were done with NetStumbler
Testing was done with an ORiNOCO Gold Card in a Dell Inspiron 4100 laptop running WinXP Home

I ran my tests with the WET11 and ORiNOCO Gold card each in AdHoc mode... the first time I've done a test in AdHoc mode. The maximum throughput of around 4.7Mbps is similar to what I see when testing throughput using an Access Point instead of the WET11.

I was more impressed with the longer distance Condition 3 and 4 tests, however, which yielded a reliable throughput around 4Mbps... a very respectable showing. I double checked the results with a 30 Second Chariot run, which confirmed the 4.1Mbps average number but also showed a cyclical variation between 2.7 and 5.0Mbps as shown in Figure 5.

Linksys WET11- Chariot throughput plot

Figure 5: Chariot throughput plot
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

The mixed news on WEP is that enabling it extracted about a throughput penalty, although it was a relatively low 10%, vs. the 30+% I've seen with other products.

In all, I'd say the WET11 has pretty decent radio performance!

802.11b Wireless Performance Test Results

Test Conditions


- WEP encryption: DISABLED
- Tx Rate:
Automatic
- Power Save:
disabled
- Test Partner: ORiNOCO Gold PC card

Firmware/Driver Versions

AP f/w:
1.3.2
Wireless client driver:
7.42.0.300
Wireless client f/w:
No Info

Test Description SNR (dB) Transfer Rate (Mbps) Response Time (msec) UDP stream
Throughput (kbps) Lost data (%)
Client to AP - Condition 1 67 4.7 [No WEP]
4.2 [w/ WEP]
3 (avg)
4 (max)
392 0
Client to AP - Condition 2 40 4 [No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
3 (avg)
4 (max)
391 0
Client to AP - Condition 3 25 4.1 [No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
3 (avg)
6 (max)
391 0
Client to AP - Condition 4 24 4.1 [No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
3 (avg)
5 (max)
391 0

Wrap Up

When I first heard about the WET11 back in May, I thought it might be a slightly interesting product for a niche market. But the product that ended up shipping turned out to have a much wider range of possible uses... once you understand the differences between the WET and an Access Point.

Once you do "get it", you'll find there's a lot you can do with a WET, and its superior radio performance and ability to accept better antennas are sure to win it a number of fans, too.

Update 11/13/02 - Rewrote the following summary based on feedback from my helpful readers, particularly Fritz Riep.

The main quandry potential buyers are going to face is deciding between a WET11 and its older sibling, the WAP11 Access Point. Since both are available for about $100, how do you choose? The decision may come down to your preference in product size, and for the way you want to set up your network. The main thing to remember is that the WAP11 is intended to perform its bridging tricks with other WAP11s only, where the WET11 is intended to work with other manufacturers' 802.11b devices. (A WAP11 in AP Client mode won't even connect to Linksys' own BEFW11S4 Wireless Router!) The other important difference is that the WET11 can't be set to operate as an Access Point and won't support support wireless clients that are set to operate in Infrastructure mode - the most common mode that 802.11b networks use.

And if you still don't understand the difference, go buy one of each and experiment. Hell, they're cheap enough!

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