Articles: Networking
 

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Performance

Now we will check out the DG843N’s speed characteristics which are supposed to be its strongest point. Here is a list of equipment and software we used for the tests:

  • Netgear DG834N router
  • Linksys WRT300N v2
  • Two Category 5e Ethernet cables
  • Intel Centrino notebook
  • Linksys WPC300N v2 PCMCIA Card
  • D-Link DWA-552 PCI adapter
  • D-Link DAS-3224 IP DSLAM
  • PC based on a mainboard with an integrated Gigabit Ethernet controller
  • IxChariot’s High_Performance_Throughput and Throughput scenarios
  • Windows XP’s standard WLAN client

Unfortunately, we didn’t have WLAN cards based on the Intensi-fi chipset and we had to use devices with Atheros’ chipset instead. This may have affected the results since we haven’t yet fully investigated the problem of compatibility between different 802.11n chipsets. We compared the results of the WLAN interface of tested router with those of the Linksys WRT300N (v2). The latter is a Fast Ethernet router whose second version is based on the Atheros chipset.

We tested the router’s wired interface first. The router’s speed on the local network is indicative of its peak bandwidth.

LAN-LAN:


Click to enlarge

The WAN port was tested next. First we’ll show you the speed of data transfers into either side. This test was performed with enabled NAT, firewall and protection against DOS attacks. We used different test scenarios for the different traffic directions. To be specific, we used the High_Performance_Throughput scenario for the WAN-LAN direction and the Throughput scenario for LAN-WAN. We enabled ADSL2+ modulation for each test.

WAN-LAN:


Click to enlarge

LAN-WAN:


Click to enlarge

As you can see, the results are average, meaning that many other ADSL routers deliver the same performance. We also performed a test of the maximum number of simultaneous connections using the Throughput scenario with the file size increased from 100,000 to 1,000,000. We were steadily increasing the number of WAN-LAN connections (this is the most important direction) until there were errors in the test. This way we found that the DG834N can maintain only 32 simultaneous connections, which is too few even for a Fast Ethernet router.

Next we tested the router’s wireless interface. Besides our ordinary tests we performed one more test to reveal the router’s “pure” WLAN performance. Having set up WLAN parameters, we measured the bandwidth between two Wi-Fi adapters connected via the router. This test is important due to the ongoing transition to the next-generation wireless networking. When high-speed WLANs become widely available, it will make sense to dismiss wired network segments altogether especially if the wired and wireless interfaces have comparable speeds. We used a WPA-PSK connection for this test. We selected AES encryption for the WRT300N and the only available secure connection variant for the DG834N.

WLAN-WLAN (Netgear):


Click to enlarge

WLAN-WLAN (Linksys):


Click to enlarge

The WRT300N is almost two times as fast as its opponent. Perhaps this is due to the use of Atheros chipsets on both ends of the connection.

The following diagram compares the results of the routers in the WLAN test (the security settings are the same as above).

Both routers have excellent results. The low speed of the DG834N in the WLAN-LAN direction is probably due to minor problems with compatibility between the chipsets from Atheros and Broadcom. The Netgear router wins the opposite direction, even though by a small margin.

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 DG834N doesn’t win here, but turns in a good result anyway. The WRT300N is surprisingly good when the network card is oriented properly.

So, the WRT300N gains the upper hand in the WLAN tests but we guess the DG834N would have performed better with an Intensi-fi based network card.

 
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