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Study: All WLANS Not Created Equal Under 802.11n

Aruba Networks, a wireless local-area network vendor, claims that a recent study shows that not only do various vendors' 802.11n access points deliver dramatically different performances, some vendors' equipment is much better than others at working with third-party client adapters.

The company's in-house testing of access points from three vendors -- Aruba, Cisco Systems and Meru Networks -- found that throughput ranged from a low of 2 megabytes/sec to 169 megabytes/sec.

Aruba said the performance delivered depends not only upon the access point selected, but also upon the combination of access point and client adapters selected.

The study indicates that some vendors may not be properly designing their access points to conform to the 802.11n draft specification, since any certified client should deliver identical network performance. What's more, according to Aruba's study, the fault was not with the client devices.

"Some of the wireless LANs actually starved the laptop PCs of airtime so that throughput dropped to almost zero," said Vijay Raman, Aruba's head of technical marketing.

Aruba's testing, which the company makes clear was not independently performed, was designed to be easily replicated. Five laptops, using four different 802.11n-compliant chipsets, were employed with each access point.

The new technical brief, 802.11n Client Throughput Performance, can be downloaded here (PDF).

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is the technology editor of Government Computer News (GCN.com).

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