Like every other website on the planet, SmallNetBuilder uses cookies. Our cookies track login status, but we only allow admins to log in anyway, so those don't apply to you. Any other cookies you pick up during your visit come from advertisers, which we don't control.
If you continue to use the site, you agree to tolerate our use of cookies. Thank you!

Router Charts

Click for Router Charts

Router Ranker

Click for Router Ranker

NAS Charts

Click for NAS Charts

NAS Ranker

Click for NAS Ranker

More Tools

Click for More Tools

Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

NOTE!NOTES
• "Signal Quality" readings are from the SMC Client utility
• Testing was done in a WinXP Home Dell Inspiron 4100 laptop, using an SMC2655W AP as test partner
• Details of how we test can be found here.

The main reason folks will be looking to buy the 2532W-B is to fix some problem they have with WLAN range, speed, or both. Figure 3 shows the results of my usual indoor four location test, which looks very nice, indeed. I used an SMC2655W, which has a peak output power of 17.5 dBm (56mW) - typical of 802.11b APs, if not slightly higher powered.

SMC2532WB : Four condition throughput

Figure 3: SMC2532W-B Four location throughput
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

I then ran the same tests with a Linksys WPC11V3 card, the current incarnation of its plain-ol' 802.11b card. It has a peak output power of 11.8dBM (15mW), less than one-tenth that of the SMC card. Figure 4 tells the tale.

Linksys WPC11V3 : Four condition throughput

Figure 4: Linksys WPC11V3 Four location throughput
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

No, I didn't screw up and use the same data for both plots. What you see is that transmit power alone may not make a significant performance difference. In this case, both combinations of card and AP have enough power to yield essentially the same performance in my test environment.

Since my usual indoor tests weren't showing any difference, I took to the outdoors to produce the results shown in Figure 5.

SMC2532W-B vs. Linksys WPC11V3 max range 'spin test'

Figure 5: SMC2532W-B vs. Linksys WPC11V3 max range "spin test"
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

After doing some walks around my yard, I came upon a simple test that could demonstrate the value of higher power, but also the effect of antenna orientation. I left the Access Point in my office in the lower level of my home, which is built on a sloping lot. This means that the signal had to travel through a couple of interior walls, a ceiling, and one exterior wall before hitting the great outdoors. I moved to a point about 150 feet from the AP, and started a Chariot run. Holding my notebook level, I then slowly turned around 360°, continuously changing the orientation of the client card's antenna to the AP while Chariot plotted the throughput.

The results show that under long-range conditions, the higher power of SMC's card did make a difference, especially in peak throughput. But it also shows that I could cause huge swings in results simply by changing the way that the card and AP's antenna were oriented to each other. But you already knew that anyway, didn't you?

More Wireless

Wi-Fi System Tools
Check out our Wi-Fi System Charts, Ranker and Finder!

Support Us!

If you like what we do and want to thank us, just buy something on Amazon. We'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!

Over In The Forums

After updating to 384.18, all 8 of my Nest Protect devices went offline, and I was unable to add any new Protect devices onto my account. I have one 2...
Hi all,I'm using a (new in Dec 2019) RT-AX88U with Merlin 384.18 firmware, and previously 384.17 etc. I've always been running Merlin on this box. Thi...
I was having problems with my RT-AC3100 after four years and decided to bite the bullet and purchase a new RT-AX88U. After unwrapping and plugging int...
Hi!I'm owner of RT-AC3100m using a asuswrt-merlin firmware (384.17) with Entware installed on WD 1TB USB3 HDD. On router I have installed ruTorrent 3....
Is the RT-ACRH17 still being supported with firmware updates? It's been over a year since the last update and I'm wondering if this is a dead product....

Don't Miss These

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3