Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

802.11n wireless gear falls short in testing

MANHASSET, N.Y. — The first round of IEEE Draft N-compliant wireless networking equipment from Netgear and Buffalo Technology proved disappointing in terms of performance and interoperability, according to independent tests performed by Craig Mathias, principal at Farpoint Group (Ashland, Mass.).

The tests over this past weekend were performed in a typical home environment, and were designed to analyze the capabilities of Buffalo's AirStation Nfiniti router and client, which use Broadcom's Intensi-fi chip set, as well as both versions of Netgear's RangeMax Next client and routers. One is based on Broadcom's Intensi-fi chip set and the other on Marvell's TopDog chip set.

The Draft N equipment was then compared to established products from Linksys: the SRX400 based on Airgo's third-generation multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) chip set; and the Wireless G line, based on Broadcom's chips.

The performance comparisons were much anticipated in the competitive wireless LAN market, especially following the behind-the-scenes tactics used by members of the IEEE 802.11n task group to gain an advantage for their respective technologies. With the introduction of a draft standard in January, the stage was set for the introduction of prestandard, or Draft N, equipment, despite calls from the IEEE to avoid such labels.

"Draft N is misleading . . . we couldn’t even get the equipment to talk to each other. That [lack of interoperability] was surprising," said Mathias, who said he unsuccessfully tried to get Netgear equipment to communicate with Buffalo's gear. "We couldn’t even get the two Netgear systems to talk," he added.

  • 1