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« 802.11n Draft Confirmed | Main | Outdoor N: Speed Gains Not So Much »

January 25, 2006

3rd Gen Airgo Gear Doesn't Back Off As Promised

By Glenn Fleishman

Tim Higgins posted a long review of NetGear’s RangeMax 240 which uses Airgo’s 3rd generation MIMO chips: He found that despite the promise by Airgo for this chipset to back off from using the equivalent of two Wi-Fi channels (40 MHz) when it detected other Wi-Fi networks on active channels nearby, current firmware fails at this task. He has the charts and graphs to show it. He also notes that Airgo and NetGear are aware of this problem.

He did find that the devices can deliver over 100 Mbps of real throughput, which is a first for any Wi-Fi-like device, and more significant still in a consumer-level product. (The NetGear has just 10/100 Ethernet switching, so it can’t deliver more than about 94 Mbps in Tim’s testing to a single port.)

If there are any other 802.11b/g networks in the vicinity, it makes no sense to install this generation of Airgo-based equipment until firmware problems are resolved. eWeek reached the same conclusion (less exhaustively but just as completely) two weeks ago.

Even when they are resolved, the Adaptive Channel Expansion (ACE) algorithm is somewhat different than what I heard from Airgo in Sept. 2005. Tim writes, “I should also note that Airgo told me that when it is working, it will take 5 to 10 minutes (!) to tune away from a neighboring WLAN that is detected after the RM240 completes its initial power-up sequence—if the RM240 sees “lots of continuous traffic” in the neighbor.”

In Sept., Airgo’s director of product marketing, Dave Borison, said that ACE didn’t create negative effects on neighborhing channels, and that it performs a frame-by-frame check on adjacent channels—but apparently, this just applies to b/g clients on the Airgo-based device’s network. Clearly, the current firmware in Tim Higgins testing doesn’t live up to that promise yet for adjacent networks.

Posted by Glennf at January 25, 2006 10:10 AM

Categories: Consumer, Gateways, MIMO


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