Superior RF design: Meru outperforms Cisco by 76%, Aruba by 59%

802.11n Test Results - Comparing Meru, Cisco, Aruba
Yours truly got his hands on a couple of confidential Meru sponsored competitive tests (One Cisco and the other Aruba). Regarding the Cisco test, Meru outperforms in most test cases with especially strong results using the following client adapters:

Intel 4965
Macbook Pro (Atheros based)
Atheros chipset (internal 5008 and D-Link 652)

Cisco performs best with Marvell-based clients due to the more optimized interaction with their Marvell-based AP. Below are some selected results based on a downstream-only TCP test using Chariot1.

Client/Adapter Type Meru Performance (Mbps) Cisco Performance (Mbps) Percentage Improvement (Meru vs. Cisco)
1 Intel 4965 128 111 15%
1 Macbook Pro 181 74 145%
1 Atheros 5008 179 109 64%
10 D-Link 652 clients 130 42 210%
1 D-Link 652 (Atheros) 171 119 44%

1Note: Test results conducted in an RF chamber with multiple downstream TCP flows with the highest result obtained shown for each vendor.

Superior RF Design - Meru Outperforms Cisco by 76%, Aruba by 59%
While the Wi-Fi Alliance has certified hundreds of client adapters, there is a variation in performance across different chipsets and also drivers and client utilities for the adapters based on those chipsets. Meru clearly outperforms both Cisco and Aruba across the range of chipsets, with very few exceptions. Above, the two rightmost adapters are Marvell-based clients. Since Cisco is a Marvell-based AP, they appear to interoperate better with the Netgear for this specific test, but curiously they do not interoperate as well with the Linksys 4400. Aruba does not appear to interoperate very well with Marvell.

Competitive Rate and Range Testing - Meru Outperforms Cisco and Aruba for Rates/Performance
Multiple-In/Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology used in 802.11n creates more signal unpredictability vs. 802.11a/b/g systems, impacting coverage and coverage planning activities. Meru demonstrates superior RF design, with some locations showing stark differences in coverage and performance. Above, th AP was placed at a fixed location and data was collected at ten test point locations using an Intel 4965 client for each vendor, comparing the client’s reported rate of association and the resulting Chariot-reported throughput at each location. Testing methodology was the same as in the single client and single AP performance tests (four TCP downstream flows per test, multiple test runs at each location, the highest result shown).

Competitive Airtime Fairness Testing - Meru Outperforms Cisco, Aruba 802.11a/b/g/n Client Mixes
Meru defines airtime fairness as providing equal and fair air time for every client, independent of client chipset, access method (802.11a/b/g/n), and rate of association. Fast clients are not penalized by the presence of slow clients, who would otherwise dominate the air time as is the case in packet fair systems. Meru believes that airtime fairness is the key to supporting a higher density of clients, while simultaneously optimizing aggregate system throughput. Since 802.11n is required to be backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g clients, support for mixed environments is the reality in many customer deployments. Meru uniquely commands and controls the air to provide airtime fairness, and as shown above Meru can achieve fairness and higher aggregate throughputs than competitors for all different client mixes.

802.11n Test Setup: Equipment and Software

Comparison of Virtual Cell to Microcell - Cisco, Aruba, and Meru
You may also wish to investigate the Novarum Enterprise Wireless LAN Scale Testing Report. View the confidential Meru competitive tests (One Cisco and the other Aruba). For more competitive lab tests visit: Cisco vs. Competitor Lab Tests

Related story: Updated: Wireless LAN stress test uncovers 802.11 performance problems What testing flaws did YOU find in the above confidential Meru competitive tests with Cisco and Aruba?

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