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

The D-Link Router tests - cont'd.


     D-link DI-624 running in 108 Mbps Only Mode chart

Also, even though Windows reports that the DI-624 is communicating with the D-Link DWL-G650 at 108Mbps Tx rate, our test equipment and D-Links own configuration software says it actually still at 54Mbps Tx.

But the lower signal strength and 54Mbps Bandwidth may not mean much when it comes to actual measured download speed. When we downloaded the test 43MB file in each mode and to each .11G card -
DI-624 AirPlus XtremeG Router in Mixed Mode:
D-Link G650 PC Card: 29 sec = 1,518 KBps (17.1% faster)
USR5410 PC Card : 35 sec. = 1,258 KBps
Asante AeroLAN-XG 35 sec. = 1,258 KBps
(Note that this is KBytes not bits)

DI-624 AirPlus XtremeG Router in 108Mbps Mode:
D-Link G650 PC Card: 27.0 sec = 1,631 KBps (23% faster)
USR5410 PC Card : 35.0 sec. = 1,258 KBps

So you can see from the numbers above and compared to ones from the other brands, the D-Link DI-624 kicks some butt in real-world moving data from point to point. With the lower signal and range numbers, we were not expecting the decisively faster data movement; but we retested and retested with the same results.

We have to conclude that the three part method that the Arthros chip-set uses in “Super G” technology and “Turbo” mode to move more data, works very well! Just remember that the more limited range of the DI-624 compared to the others, will impede that speed as you move further away from the wireless router.

Addendum 8/21/04: After running the test DI-624 day-in day-out for just 5 months, we started seeing it losing connection with the DSL Modem and difficulty-issuing DHCP addresses to clients. At first it happened once a week, then three or four time a week, this wthl the latest firmware updates. D-Link has had a “Beta” Firmware release listed on their site for a month now, which won’t download.

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Apple Inc., iPod / iTunes Company
Apple Airport Extreme A P M8930LL/A $199. Street
Apple Airport Extreme Card M8881LL/A $99. Street
AirPort Card (802,11B) M7600LL/E $79. Street


   Click on images for full size or to view product page

We only half jokingly poke fun at Apple over the title “Apple iPod / iTunes Company”, because us long time Apple and Mac computer enthusiasts are wondering if Apple hasn’t lost their enthusiasm and direction with the computer part of their business. There is just no excitement or innovation with Macs in the last few years since Apple found gold in the iPod and iTunes Music Store. Sorry, we are just not nutso over the G5, it really isn’t as fast as Apple claims (we proved that in the Gateway M675 review) and there has been no G5 speed bump in a full year. G4 PowerBooks are 2 GHz behind Windows PC notebooks in speed. Sorry we had to bitch here.

Apple was clearly the progenitor of the consumer Wireless Network with the original 802.11B “Graphite” Airport, which was reasonable in price and excellent

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in performance. Apple was the first to put an 802.11B card inside a notebook with the 1999 G3 PowerBook “Lombard” model and the G4 PowerMacs.

The innovation of the Apple Airport was impressive. It had an internal modem and was ready to plug into your existing Ethernet; the next model (Snow) was WAN (Broadband) share ready. Then Apple announced the Airport Extreme G (802.11G) base station at MWSF in 2002. It still looks like a flying saucer from an alien encounter you might see on Art Bell’s website. It’ll look good next to your Lava Light.

The announcement was a bit premature though, because Broadcom was having .11G chip-set problems and the Extreme was delayed, as is customary with Apple products over the last ten years. The big problems with the Airport Extreme is actually that it’s STILL only an Access Point (no hub capabilities), it still doesn’t have a platform OS independent HTML administrative interface, it’s now underpowered and it’s VERY overpriced at $199 and $249. Come on Apple, you can get a Linksys, US Robotics or D-Link 802.11G 4-port Switched Router for well under a $100!

The Airport Extreme has had unprecedented failure rates too; hundreds were returned and Apple has flooded many online Mac dealers with “factory refurbished” units to this day. We wouldn’t recommend touching these with a ten-foot pole!

A feature that “could be” cool is that it has a USB 1.1 port for a printer to share with the network. Well the only problem here is that your Macs must be running OS 10.2.3 minimum and Windows / Linux computers are out of luck. Pretty shortsighted again.

The Airport Administrator really hasn’t changed distinguishable since the very first release and it is now very short on the advanced features found with our other test group. Its wizard really sucks, only offering the minimum of advice when setting up the Airport. All the “naming” of features is totally Apple centric on NOT industry standard. Example: SSID is referred to as “base-station name”, huh? There are actually too many incongruities with industry norms to mention. We were not impressed.

          Click image to see all the set-up screen caps.

Since the beginning, it’s physical design dictates that you mount it on the wall or place it on a shelf. But actually, mounting it on the wall up high is a good idea. Getting up above obstacles and other electronics will help, because the Airport Extreme G is “extremely” underpowered. If you refer to our The “Signal Radiation Pattern”, or SRP topographic map you will notice that signal pattern is very uniform, even sitting on the shelf we tested all units on. Average sustained signal measured only 50 at the sides, lower in the front, but hardly any difference worth noting.
   

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