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ASUS WL-330 Pocket Wireless Access Point reviewed

Wireless Performance

Testing Notes:

Given the 330's diminutive internal antennas , I expected not-so-great throughput vs. range. But Figure 9 shows that size doesn't necessarily matter!

Figure 9: Four location throughput

The relatively high 100mW transmit power and higher sensitivity of the Marvell chipset apparently help make up for the small antennas because these results are better than I've seen with some older-generation products with external "rubber duckie" type antennas. I also checked Location 1 performance with 128 bit WEP enabled and saw no appreciable throughput slowdown.

I was somewhat puzzled by the good Location 3 results, because this location one floor below the access point usually shows more of a throughput reduction. I suspected this was due to the horizontal antenna orientation, which directed more signal than normal down into the lower level of my home.

So I ran a second test with the WL330 propped up into a vertical orientation. If my suspicion were true, I'd expect to see poorer results, since the vertical antenna radiation pattern would direct less energy below it.

Figure 10: Location 3 comparison with antenna orientation change

Figure 10 shows that my theory was correct, with the run done with the propped-up WL330 turning in lower average throughput and higher throughput variation. The lesson here is that you need to position the WL330 to match your desired coverage area. For most folks this may mean a vertical orientation, so the wall-mounting screw slot on the back of the 330 may come in handy!

802.11b Wireless Performance Test Results

Test Conditions
- WEP encryption: DISABLED
- Tx Rate: Automatic
- Power Save: Disabled
- Test Partner: ASUS WL-100g Wireless LAN CardBus adapter
Firmware/Driver Versions AP f/w:
1.11.29.21
Wireless client driver:
WinXP 3.30.15.0
Wireless client f/w:
No Info
Test DescriptionSignal Strength (%)Transfer Rate (Mbps)Response Time (msec)UDP stream
Throughput (kbps)Lost data (%)
Client to AP - Condition 11005.9
[No WEP]
5.8
[w/ WEP]
1 (avg)
4 (max)
5000
Client to AP - Condition 27441 (avg)
3 (max)
5000
Client to AP - Condition 3625.31 (avg)
2 (max)
5000
Client to AP - Condition 4505.41 (avg)
4 (max)
5000

See details of how we test.