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Wireless Reviews

Roaming

With the ability to control multiple APs, I was curious whether Xclaim APs have any features to improve roaming. To test roaming, I used inSSIDer to measure signal strength from my laptop and determine which AP I was connected to. I wanted to see if moving between Xclaim APs would result in my laptop connecting to the AP with the strongest signal.

I started with my laptop within 6 feet of the Xi-3 and connected to its 5 GHz radio. At this location, my inSSIDer reported the Xi-3's signal strength at -31 dB and the Xi-2's at -54 dB. I then walked to within 6 feet of the Xi-2, where my laptop detected the Xi-3's signal strength at -50 dB and the Xi-2 at -36 dB. Unfortunately, my laptop remained connected to the Xi-3. While next to the Xi-2, I disabled and enabled the Wi-Fi interface on my laptop and it finally connected to the Xi-2.

To be fair, roaming is not mentioned in the Xi-2 or Xi-3 specs and there are no configuration options for roaming. But my simple test shows the Xclaim system doesn't offer handoff / roaming enhancements. (Xclaim as confirmed this.)

VLANs

I also wanted to test Xclaim APs ability to connect to multiple VLANs, which would allow for WLAN traffic to be segmented. To test VLAN capability, I left my initial SSID configured on the Xi-3 assigned to VLAN 1. I then created a new SSID and assigned it to VLAN 33, and associated it with the Xi-3, as shown below.

CloudManager VLAN Config

CloudManager VLAN Config

I configured a new router on my network with a subnet different than my main router and connected the new router to an access port assigned to VLAN 33 on an 802.1q capable switch (Cisco SG200-26). I then connected a trunk port configured as an untagged member of VLAN 1 and a tagged member of VLAN 33 from the switch to the Xi-3. I was pleased to see that connecting a device to my initial SSID gave me an IP address from my main router, while connecting to the SSID gave me an new IP address from the new router.

Wireless Performance

The Xi-3 was tested using the V8 Wireless test process. All wireless testing was done using 2.0.0.0 355 firmware.

The AP was laid flat and centered on the turntable for testing with the 0° position having the the connectors facing away from the chamber antennas as shown in the photo below. All testing was done via WPA2/AES secured connections. Channel 6 and 20 MHz bandwidth mode was used for 2.4 GHz tests and Channel 153 and 80 MHz bandwidth mode used for 5 GHz.

Xi-3 in test chamber

Xi-3 in test chamber

The Benchmark Summary below shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations.

Xi-3 Benchmark Summary

Xi-3 Benchmark Summary

To provide some perspective, I used the Wireless Charts to create the composite view below. It shows average throughput for all access points tested with the current wireless test process. The N600 and AC1200 class products have similar 2.4 GHz average results because both use 2x2 N radios. The 5 GHz results are more different among the N600, AC1200 and AC1750 products because each has different maximum link rates (300, 867 and 1300 Mbps, respectively)

Average Throughput Comparison

Average Throughput Comparison

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