We did not expect much from the WBR-6000 in terms of performance as this router was in fact one of the cheapest available on the market. Therefore we didn’t take the WRT300N v2 (the fastest Fast Ethernet router we had tested) as its opponent because that model was one of the most expensive. Instead, we compared the WBR-6000 with the Edimax BR6504N router which cost about the same money.
Here is a full list of equipment and software we used for this test session:
- Edimax BR6504N + Edimax EW7708Pn (PCMCIA) kit
- LevelOne WBR-6000 + LevelOne WPC-0600(PCMCIA) kit
- Two Category 5 Ethernet cables
- Intel Centrino notebook
- PC with a mainboard with a Gigabit Ethernet controller (Ubuntu 8.10)
- IxChariot (High_Performance_Throughput and Throughput scenarios)
As you see, we used a wireless adapter from LevelOne’s N_One series together with the LevelOne router to make a fair comparison.
The router’s wired interfaces were tested first. We measured the speed of data transfer between two LAN ports. This is the maximum speed the router can show.
Next we tested the WAN connection with and without load in both directions, measured the speed of a VPN connection, and found out how many simultaneous connections the router could support. We combined the first two tests and publish the results we obtained with the firewall and QoS turned on.
Strangely enough, the first and second tests produced identical results. This seems to be good because there is no performance hit while the average speed is as high as that of a LAN-LAN connection. Then we recalled that we had had similar results with the Edimax BR-6504n router thanks to Fast NAT. It is a special variety of NAT with low processor load and higher performance. However, Fast NAT has limited functionality in comparison with ordinary NAT and may be incompatible with the latter, so there can be problems with data transfers via certain protocols. We could not spot any problems ourselves, though.
Next, we tested the speed of a PPPoE tunnel established between the router and a VPN server set up in Ubuntu.
We’ve got the same picture again: the speed is as high as that of the LAN connection. We thought we had done something wrong with the settings and configuration of the network, but the BR-6504n showed worse results under the same conditions. So, these numbers are as correct as we could make them be.
The next test is about the number of simultaneous connections the router can support. To perform this test we are increasing the number of identical network pairs in IXIA Chariot using the Throughput scenario in which we change the size of the transferred file from 100,000 to 1,000,000. We do so until there are errors during the test. The WBR-6000 proved to be able to maintain 700 simultaneous connections – the maximum result in this test. However, the test program got awfully slow at 200 and more connections, so 200 connections is the maximum practical limit.
There were no surprises when we tested the router’s wireless interface. We used a notebook with a WPC-0600 wireless adapter and established a secure connection between the adapter and the router. Its parameters were standard for Draft N: 40MHz channel width, WPA2-PSK encryption, AES encryption algorithm.
And finally we tested the router’s coverage at different distances and with different obstacles. We measured the signal level in five points:
Point 1: Near the router
Point 2: At a distance of 4 meters without obstacles
Point 3: At a distance of 5 meters + two thin gypsum wallboards
Point 4: At a distance of 6 meters + one brick wall, about 30cm thick
Point 5: At a distance of 17 meters + one thin gypsum wallboard and two 30cm brick walls
Here are the results:
The BR-6504n wins this test. Although the LevelOne router is not far slower, its speed fluctuated too much. Besides, the speed of the WBR-6000 could sometimes drop to the level of IEEE 802.11g without any obvious reason.
Thus, the LevelOne WBR-6000 doesn’t seem to be worth its price because such routers are bought for their Draft N support. As for 802.11g, you can get a better router with 802.11g support for the same money.