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Wi-Fi Router Charts

Click for Wi-Fi Router Charts

Mesh System Charts

Click for Wi-Fi Mesh System Charts

Wireless Performance

The readings in the Signal Quality columns are actually Signal Strength (in %)
Testing was done with a NETGEAR HR314 802.11a router and ME102 802.11b Access Point as test partners

The charts above and plots below pretty much tell the story of the WAB501's performance. Let's start by looking at Plot 1 that shows 802.11a tests.

NETGEAR WAB501- 802.11a performance

Plot 1: 802.11a performance
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

11a mode performance was among the best 802.11a-only adapters that I've tested with solid 21-22Mbps throughput with or without WEP enabled in 1X mode. Enabling Turbo mode boosted performance almost 50% to an average 31-32Mbps, with a max throughput of about 37Mbps. As usual, I tested Turbo mode only under Condition 1, because it tends to more negatively affect performance under lower signal conditions. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to complete test runs in both Condition 3 and 4, since some 802.11a-only products aren't able to handle these tests at all.

Figure 2 shows the 501's shocking performance in 802.11b mode!

NETGEAR WAB501- 802.11b performance

Plot 2: 802.11b performance
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

No, I didn't make a mistake and use the same plot data four times. The 501 is the only 802.11b client adapter that I've ever tested that showed such consistent (and excellent) results under all four test conditions. It just cruised along at almost 5Mbps without missing a beat. Plot 3 shows that you do get about a 4% throughput reduction when you enable WEP in 802.11b mode, however (and shows you 802.11a WEP test results, too). But the consistent throughput performance more than makes up for that small hit, and you shouldn't have any qualms about running with WEP enabled in either mode.

NETGEAR WAB501- WEP performance

Plot 3: WEP performance
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

In all, I have to say that I was extremely impressed with the WAB501's performance in both 11a and 11b modes, but especially in 802.11b mode!

802.11b Wireless Performance Test Results

Test Conditions

- WEP encryption: DISABLED
- Tx Rate: Automatic
- Power Save: Disabled
- Test Partner: NETGEAR HE102 802.11b Access Point

Firmware/Driver Versions

AP f/w:
Wireless client driver: (WinXP)
Wireless client f/w:
No Info

Test Description Signal Strength (%) Transfer Rate (Mbps) Response Time (msec) UDP stream
Throughput (kbps) Lost data (%)
Client to AP - Condition 1 90 4.9 [No WEP]
4.7 [w/ WEP]
2 (avg)
3 (max)
413 0
Client to AP - Condition 2 90 4.9 [No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
2 (avg)
3 (max)
409 0
Client to AP - Condition 3 64 4.9 [No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
2 (avg)
3 (max)
414 0
Client to AP - Condition 4 63 4.9 [No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
1 (avg)
2 (max)
409 0
See details of how we test.

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