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December 6, 2006

Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n

By Glenn Fleishman

Selling an 802.11n router without gigabit Ethernet is like delivering a five-inch pizza in a 20-inch box: Most early Draft N equipment uses 10/100 Mbps Ethernet, which can deliver something like 80 Mbps of net throughput over its 100 Mbps flavor. 802.11n will easily peak over 100 Mbps in its cheapest, default mode—although it may run much slower on average based on other networks operating in the vicinity. The most expensive 802.11n devices may deliver well over 300 Mbps of throughput in peak mode, and possibly as high as 450 Mbps if all the stars are aligned.

That’s why it’s great to see companies finally shipping Draft N gear with GigE built in. Most desktop computers beyond the very basic consumer models have gigabit networking, and all professional laptops do, too. Switches cost a few dollars a port for consumer and SOHO models.

Now I’m opposed to current Draft 1.0-based devices because manufacturers are not guaranteeing a no-cost hardware upgrade if their gear can’t be upgraded. However, it’s still a good trend to see the GigE coming out.

NetGear had the first gigabit Ethernet Draft N device out in April, which listed for about $250, but now runs for $140 at Broadcom announced today they’ve added GigE to their Intensi-fi Draft N platform. Buffalo and Linksys are using the technology: Buffalo in its upcoming WZR-G300N; Linksys in its Wireless-N Gigabit Router ($180 from Amazon, but not yet released).

Posted by Glennf at December 6, 2006 11:30 AM

Categories: Draft N, Gateways, Gigabit Ethernet


So, does Belkin's Pre-N not have GigE? Thus far, it seems to be the universally best-reviewed draft-n router.

[Editor's note: I thought it had just 100 Mbps Ethernet, but you wouldn't know it from reading Belkin's site. They don't have any kind of data sheet on their site, for some reason. The review says it has Fast Ethernet, which 100 Mbps.

Posted by: Steven I. Weiss at December 7, 2006 2:59 PM

You left out D-link's DIR-655, which is based on Marvell's TopDog chipset (same as Netgear's Rangemax Next gigabit edition). I actually own this device and it works nicely. I prefer the external antennae to internal, truth be told. I didn't buy the draft-n card to go with it, however.

Posted by: Kevin at January 18, 2007 3:40 PM

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