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how we did it

May 12, 20032 mins
Network SecurityWi-Fi

How we tested the various 802.11g wireless LAN products.

We tested the products at a close proximity (9 feet) and far proximity (65 feet) for speed rates, the ability to associate and log on 802.11b clients, the ability to associate and log on 802.11g clients (PC cards only) from each of the six vendors in the test. We also noted the vendors’ card ability to fall back in speed in a linear way at four test points (32 feet, 65 feet, 98 feet and 147 feet away from the access point). The fallback test is referred to as the walkabout test.

Maximum throughput measurements were taken at the 802.11g client with an FTP application. The FTP server (a Compaq DL580 running SuSE Linux 8.1) delivered the test file via FTP to the clients from cache. An average of four downloads were taken to determine the test result figure. Maximum throughput tests for all access points were tested in strict 802.11g mode where available, or in best or 54M bit/sec modes where available.

Seven network cards were used on each throughput test. An average of four downloads were made and then averaged among the cards. Cards used were the Netgear WAG511, SMC Networks 2835W, D-Link Systems DWLG650, Buffalo Technology WLI-CB-G54, Belkin F5D7010, Linksys WPC54G and an internal Apple PowerBook G5 AirPort Extreme card. The tests represent a “very best case” scenario – none of the cards that the vendors sent had Microsoft digitally signed device drivers and were current as of April 7. Access point firmware was updated from the vendors’ Web sites and were current as of April 7.

One client was a Compaq Presario 700s (900MHz Athlon, CardBus, no other applications, including virus protection, were active) with Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1. The other client was an Apple PowerBook G4 with the internal Airport Extreme wireless feature.

Back to main review: “802.11g WLAN gear”