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The Great 802.11G+ Hardware Shoot-out,  . . . . . are claims fact or fiction?

The USR Wireless Turbo Router - cont'd

The “Signal Radiation Pattern” or SRP, a measurement in RF Energy, for the USR8054 is only slightly stronger (~ 94) in front of the unit, nearly the same at 45 degrees, but only slightly weaker at the sides (81-82).  
   
Of all the 802.11G Wireless Routers, the US Robotics has the most signal power output. The highest recorded signal we’ve ever recorded at an average peak of 100 (highest peak recorded at 108), with USR’s own USR5410 PC Card in “Turbo Only Mode” installed in our test notebook. This really IS a Turbo Wireless Router!

Since the US Robotics Turbo Router has the capability of being set for 802.11G only or “mixed mode” (allows .11B too), we tested for both.

If you look at the charts below (click on the images to enlarge), you will see that the USR8054 802.11G Wireless Turbo Router performs best with its own PC Card. However, note that most other brands of .11G cards did well too, except that Broadcom chip-set cards only connected at 48 or 36Mbps bandwidths and lower as distances increased. Remember that Texas Instruments has warned of incompatibilities with the Broadcom chip-set used in the Linksys (and Asante) .11G hardware. These lowered 48 and 36Mbps numbers seem to prove the TI claims.

              USR Mixed Mode Performance Chart


            USR "G Only" Mode Performance Chart

When the mode selection for 100 G “Only” is used, any 802.11B-equipped device is naturally locked out of the WLAN. You’ll notice when comparing the two test results pages, that the signal strength goes up for the US Robotics PC Card, but down very slightly for other “turbo” enabled .11G cards. Since the Apple, Linksys and Asante .11G cards do not have a “Turbo Mode” they are also locked out.

In the 43MB file test download to a US Robotics USR5410 PC Card equipped and a D-Link DWL-G650 PC Card equipped notebook, we tested the USR Turbo-G Router set in both “Mixed” mode and “100G” only mode. Here are the results:

USR8054 Wireless Turbo Router Mixed Mode:
USR5410 PC Card: 34.5 sec.= 1,276KBps (8.7% faster)
D-Link G650 PC Card: 39.6 sec.= 1,112KBps

(Note that this is KBytes not bits)

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spacerUSR8054 Wireless Turbo Router in 100-G Mode:
USR5410 PC Card: 34.5 sec.= 1,727KBps (9.1%faster)
D-Link G650 PC Card: 39.6 sec.= 1,573KBps
(Note that this is KBytes not bits)

Keep in mind that you WOULD expect like chip-set devices to be faster than mixed competitive chip-sets.

After testing all the units, Tech-edge E-zine gives the USR8054 802.11G Wireless Turbo Router our 2004 Editors' Choice Award as the Best All Round "54G Turbo" Device. 
        
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Asante Technologies
Asante FriendlyNET AeroLAN-XG CardBus $64.95 Street


We asked Asante to participate with their Asante FriendlyNET AeroLAN-XG CardBus adapter because they were first to produce an 802.11G third-party solution for older Mac PowerBook owners. While this card also uses the same Broadcom G chip-set found in the Linksys and some other PC Cards, Asante goes out of their way to cater to Mac users. If you purchase any other card which might work, don’t expect any help from those company’s Tech Desk if you can’t get it to wok in your PowerBook.

If you have a Mac PowerBook, such as a G3 Wallstreet, PDQ, Lombard, Pismo (G3 FireWire) or any G4 Titanium PowerBook, and you want to go over to 802.11G hardware, this is the card for you. Remember that you must be running OS X 10.2.6 and Airport 3.1.

Your Mac PowerBook must also have a CardBus Slot which some first generation G3 PowerBooks and older 603e powered PowerBooks, don’t have. This card also works perfectly well in a Windows PC as well; drivers for Windows are included with the card.

The version of the card we had is an AL5402-XG, and since receiving our test unit, Asante has issued a newer AL5403-XG version which officially supports WPA, however this doesn’t affect performance for the purpose of our tests.

The Asante FriendlyNET AeroLAN-XG card performed equal to or better than the same Broadcom chipped Linksys PC Card, all applications. In some cases the AeroLAN-XG ran at a higher bandwidth than the Linksys in exactly the same notebook computer; we have no idea why this should be the case.

With OS X 10.2.8 and the most current version of Airport installed on each of our PowerBooks, installation was no different than if you had just used an original Apple Airport 802.11B card. In fact if you have an Apple Airpor .11B card installed in your G4 Titanium, just merely turn it off in the Control Panel, shutdown the G4, insert the Asante FriendlyNET AeroLAN-XG card into the CardBus slot and reboot.

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