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Long-Range, 1 Versus 60 Clients Plus Noise

Why Your Wi-Fi Sucks And How It Can Be Helped, Part 2

With interference from our 60 Wi-Fi clients (and connected access point), we again see a predictable and severe hit to performance across the board. Again, Apple impresses by plugging along, while poor Meraki stumbles again into the ditch, unable to complete the test. And again, Cisco shows its design prowess by seizing an almost 19% advantage over HP. To us, this exemplifies that deep design quality far outstrips marketing bullet points, such as three-stream support. If HP and Meraki are the best performance to be had from “450 Mb/s” access points, we’ll stick with hardier two-stream options any day.

Once more, we see the same story drawn even more dramatically in the uplink testing. Ruckus barely manages to hold Cisco at bay. Both leaders pull far ahead from the others, with Aruba and HP in a near dead heat for a distant third place.

Note that at these levels, none of our five competing APs would likely sustain a decent HD video signal. Unfortunately, what we measured was average sustained throughput over the course of a two-minute test run. There simply wasn’t enough time within our test window to also run minimum sustained throughput levels. After having seen Ruckus excel in this before, we really wanted to see if competing enterprise-class products could meet or beat Ruckus on this basis in our environment, particularly since streaming video looks to be playing an increasingly important role in K-12 education. Schools need to understand the technical limits of how and where their wireless networks can be deployed, especially when potentially many dozens of clients are involved. Even in a home environment, 100 feet for a video stream isn’t uncommon, although the amount of interference likely to be encountered by consumers should be less than we inflicted here.

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