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You are here: Central > Broadband Home Labs > Home Networking > Wi-Fi > Test Results: Round One
Updated 3/9/2005

Wi-Fi Test Results: Round One

Between February and June 2003, we tested six different two-node networks, each consisting of a Wi-Fi access point and a single notebook adapter. All completed tests were done with 802.11g access points based on an 802.11g draft standard.

The middle floor of our house is the main floor from the street side. We used HONEST to measure the file transfer speed over two minutes. We took at least one sample at each location; when we took multiple samples, we averaged them. Each access point was at the same location—labelled AP on the diagram—in approximately the center of the main floor of our house. See the test locations page for the location of each test.

Here's our summary of these test results:

  • Both 802.11g and 802.11b worked at all nineteen locations we tested, most of them obstructed by walls, floors and ducts, and one (location 19) quite far from the access point and through a wall. This is substantially improved from our first-generation 802.11b equipment, which did not work at all at half of the locations.
  • We tested 802.11b with two test combinations. The measured file transfer speed averaged 4.34 Mbps across all nineteen locations. It varied from an average maximum of about 5 Mbps at many locations down to about 3 Mbps at a few, with a low of about 0.6 Mbps with one combination at location 4 (Dave's conference table).
  • We tested 802.11g with four test combinations. The measured file transfer speed averaged 9.07 Mbps across all nineteen locations. It varied from an average maximum of about 17 Mbps (with the notebook adapter in the same room as the access point) down to about 5 Mbps at three locations, with a low of about 2 Mbps with one combination at location 16 (Dave's desk).
  • 802.11g speeds varied considerably more than those with 802.11b. The average 802.11b speed (4.34 Mbps) was about 85% of the maximum of 5.14, while the average 802.11g speed (9.07 Mbps) was only about 50% of the maximum (18.09).
  • The 802.11g measurements were quite inconsistent. Since the Buffalo and Linksys equipment is all based on the same Broadcom "54g" chip set, we expected similar results from each combination. Instead, we saw significant speed variations at many locations, with some varying by more than 2:1.

Test Combinations

We tested six different two-node networks, each consisting of a Wi-Fi access point and a single notebook adapter. The following table shows the equipment used for each test combination:

TestStandardAccess PointNotebook Adapter
1802.11gBuffalo WBR-G54 Wireless Router Base StationBuffalo WLI-CB-G54 Wireless Notebook Adapter
2802.11gBuffalo WBR-G54 Wireless Router Base StationLinksys WPC54G Wireless-G Notebook Adapter
3802.11gLinksys WAP54G Wireless-G Access PointLinksys WPC54G Wireless-G Notebook Adapter
4802.11gLinksys WAP54G Wireless-G Access PointBuffalo WLI-CB-G54 Wireless Notebook Adapter
5802.11bBuffalo WBR-G54 Wireless Router Base StationLinksys WPC11 ver 3 Wireless Notebook Adapter
6802.11bLinksys WAP54G Wireless-G Access PointLinksys WPC11 ver 3 Wireless Notebook Adapter

Test Results

The following tables show the results of each test, expressed in Mbps, with averages for each location and each set of equipment we tested.

802.11g Access Points with 802.11g Notebook Adapters

The first group of tests was with two 802.11g Access Points and two 802.11g Notebook Adapters. The following table shows the equipment used for each test:

TestAccess PointNotebook Adapter
1Buffalo WBR-G54Buffalo WLI-CB-G54
2Buffalo WBR-G54Linksys WPC54G
3Linksys WAP54GLinksys WPC54G
4Linksys WAP54GBuffalo WLI-CB-G54

LocationTest 1Test 2Test 3Test 4Average
19.236.8112.369.019.35
29.6510.1410.007.279.27
38.8414.4617.177.6912.04
45.168.162.343.984.91
56.337.956.455.336.52
64.016.813.745.404.99
710.3914.3616.408.4912.41
89.109.1115.2515.9512.35
99.729.7611.877.619.74
1015.3017.6117.917.0214.46
1114.7517.4818.0917.8617.05
128.317.906.788.977.99
139.8110.179.6510.129.94
146.861.458.447.496.06
1516.0410.587.449.2610.83
166.014.557.852.095.13
1710.168.837.305.728.00
183.936.117.215.335.65
194.588.433.775.615.60
Average8.859.5110.007.919.07

802.11g Access Points with an 802.11b Notebook Adapter

The next group of tests was with two 802.11g Access Points and a single 802.11b Notebook Adapter. The following table shows the equipment used for each test:

TestAccess PointNotebook Adapter
5Buffalo WBR-G54Linksys WPC11 ver 3
6Linksys WAP54GLinksys WPC11 ver 3

LocationTest 5Test 6Average
14.792.563.68
24.805.114.96
34.825.124.97
44.620.612.61
54.782.773.78
64.795.064.93
74.795.064.93
84.825.074.95
94.772.593.68
104.805.124.96
114.845.144.99
124.785.054.92
134.805.064.93
144.755.094.92
154.834.704.77
163.095.084.09
174.652.013.33
184.481.122.80
193.485.034.26
Average4.604.074.34


Next: Wi-Fi Conclusions: Round One