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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Security Performance

I ran my usual test to check for throughput in WEP 128, WPA/TKIP and WPA2/AES modes. Figure 12 shows the downlink results for tests run in Location A in the default Up to 145 Mbps mode.

The reduction in WEP and WPA/TKIP speeds seem higher than usual, but I think that is largely due to high throughput variation. I will note that the WN111V2 adapter did not report a 54 Mbps link rate during any of the tests, which would indicate a switch to 802.11g mode.

Wireless security tests - 20 MHz mode, downlink
Click to enlarge image

Figure 12: Wireless security tests - 20 MHz mode, downlink

Throughput reduction was lower running uplink as shown in Figure 13. But throughput variation was higher for no security and WPA2/AES modes, but less for WEP and WPA/TKIP.

Wireless security tests - 20 MHz mode, uplink
Click to enlarge image

Figure 13: Wireless security tests - 20 MHz mode, uplink

The downlink performance in WPA/TKIP is a cause for concern, since it's common to have to accomodate products that don't support WPA2/AES. I would hope that the performance can be improved via future firmware. But in the meantime, if you need to run WPA/TKIP, you might want to choose another product.

Wireless Performance - Competitive Comparison

Since I tested the products in the Cheap Draft 802.11n Router Roundup using the Azimuth method, you won't find them in the Wireless Chart Open Air benchmarks. But fortunately, I ran Location A open air tests for all products. So I can at least provide a comparison of best-case performance of the WNR2000 against the other "cheap" routers.

Location A Wireless Performance (Open Air, Same Room, 10 ft.)
  NETGEAR WNR2000 Belkin
Downlink - 20 MHz b/w (Mbps) 48 82 56 59 49 58 46
Downlink - 40 MHz b/w (Mbps) 60 83 61 69 57 62 56
Uplink - 20 MHz b/w (Mbps) 34 80 34 55 49 53 46
Uplink - 40 MHz b/w (Mbps) 49 73 63 63 64 66 68
Table 1:"Cheap" draft 11n router throughput comparison

For at least "best case" performance, the Ralink-based Belkin N Wireless Router clearly is the winner. The WNR2000 falls somewhere in the middle, except for coming in last in 40MHz mode uplink with only 49 Mbps.

Since the Cheap roundup, Linksys came out with the WRT110 "RangePlus" router, which like the Belkin, uses a Ralink chipset (but a less-expensive 1T2R version). As explained in the review, Linksys doesn't call the WRT110 a draft 11n router. But data for that product is in the Wireless Chart Open Air benchmarks, so let's quickly compare it to the WNR2000.

Figure 14 shows downlink throughput in the default 20 MHz mode. The two products are generally evenly matched.

Wireless competitive comparison - 20MHz mode, down

Figure 14: Wireless competitive comparison - 20MHz mode, down

Figure 15 shows uplink throughput, where the WRT110 clearly takes the lead. But it's possible that the Linksys' edge comes from the WPC100, which uses an Atheros 3x3 draft 11n design. Go figure!

Wireless competitive comparison - 20MHz mode, up

Figure 15: Wireless competitive comparison - 20MHz mode, up

The upshot of all of this is that the WNR2000 might do better, especially for uplink, if a different client is used, preferably one with a 2T2R or 3T3R design.

Use the Wireless Charts to generate other comparisons.

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