802.11n delivers blazing performance

Groundbreaking test of WLAN systems from Aerohive, Bluesocket, Motorola and Siemens shows that 802.11n is a viable replacement for wired LANs

802.11n WLAN performance test highlights

In an effort to see if 802.11n WLAN systems could deliver on the vastly higher data rates promised by this new version of Wi-Fi, Network World Lab Alliance member David Newman tested solutions from Aerohive, Bluesocket, Motorola and Siemens on the largest wireless test bed ever used for a public test. With test instrument vendor VeriWave, we crafted tests where hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of virtual clients accessed the new 802.11n systems to test scalability both in pure 802.11n settings and also with a mix of 802.11n and legacy clients. For full test details click here .

BlueSecure AP-180

Score: 4.05 out of 5

Price as tested: $23,355*

Pros: Good overall performer; relatively efficient power usage; most robust system tested

Cons: Significantly slower with bidirectional than unidirectional traffic

*Includes eight 802.11n access points, each with 2.4- and 5-GHz radios and controller if needed

Vendor: Siemens

Score: 3.7 out of 5

Price as tested: $35, 844*

Pros: Most efficient at power consumption; good overall performer

Cons: Software glitches created hangs or reboots in a few stress tests

*Includes eight 802.11n access points, each with 2.4- and 5-GHz radios and controller if needed

Aerohive HiveAP 34

Vendor: Aerohive Networks, Inc.

Score: 3.65 out of 5

Price as tested: $14,991*

Pros: Strong performer with highest 802.11n throughput; no controller needed; good security features

Cons: High latency in some tests; high power consumption

*Includes eight 802.11n access points, each with 2.4- and 5-GHz radios and controller if needed

AP-7131 Tri Radio 802.11n Adaptive Access Point

Vendor: Motorola, Inc.

Score: 2.85 out of 5

Price as tested: $9,992*

Pros: Novel design will accommodate up to three radios, including forthcoming WiMAX module

Cons: Software glitches prevented completion of some tests; relatively high power consumption

*Includes eight 802.11n access points, each with 2.4- and 5-GHz radios and controller if needed

As is standard operating procedure with all Clear Choice Tests, Network World invites all vendors in a market category to participate in its comparative tests. Vendors then decline or accept the invitations. All of these vendors declined for a variety of reasons ( see story ), but we stand ready to test them according to the same methodology should they be willing to step up in the future.

David Newman

David Newman, Network World Lab Alliance

Newman, who has been involved with testing network gear for over 15 years, is president of Network Test, an independent test lab in Westlake Village, Calif. He can be reached at dnewman@networktest.com .

We want to hear from you!

Have we tested the right features of these WLAN products? What else should we include in future WLAN reviews? Do you have any questions about our results? Let us know.