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Killer Wireless-N 1103 Review: Can Qualcomm Take On Centrino?

Benchmark Results: GaNE, 5.0 GHz

Let’s examine the GaNE data on the 5.0 GHz band.

There’s little way to describe Qualcomm here except in terms of quickness and resistance to distance and obstruction. It’s really a marvel to behold. In Locations 1 and 2, Cisco holds up surprisingly well and doesn’t suffer until way out at Location 3. And Intel? The 6300 still continues to search for its sea legs on the 5.0 GHz band.

GaNE 5.0 GHZ comparison - Location 1

GaNE 5.0 GHZ comparison - Location 2

GaNE 5.0 GHZ comparison - Location 3

Once more, keep your eye on that y-axis. In Location 3, it looks like the Killer line (red) is practically dead, which really means minimal latency. In fact, this is nearly true, as the adapter is pulling in an amazing 1.2 ms ping average, even at our maximum distance. Still, there is some jitter, as you can see in the Location 1 test against Cisco. But this minor fluctuation all but vanishes when compared against the others. Obviously, Cisco’s AE2500 isn’t exactly stellar. Not even Intel had a blip where it took almost a full second to complete a ping.

You’ll notice that the ping performance in the 5.0 GHz band is better than what we saw in 2.4 GHz. Often, 5.0 GHz is mentioned as an option for video streaming because it has less congestion and thus less chance of frame drops. But there’s no question that 5.0 GHz should also be examined as a preferred choice for gaming. Poor 2.4 GHz is simply overworked with too few channel options.

  • Still not buying it.
    Reply
  • phamhlam
    I wish they would build better PCI-Express WiFi Adapter. Some of us can't have a cable going through our house or have our computer sit next to the router.
    Reply
  • KelvinTy
    I think if you have the lowest latency at your end and leave everything on the server and internet end. Then it would be a lot better, especially there is input lag from everything, monitor, mouse, keyboard, wireless card, router and internet...
    Reply
  • reghir
    There are 2 versions of the E4200 did you use version 1 or 2 as version 2 increases to 450Mbps on both bands and full spatial on its 3X3 streams?
    Reply
  • MKBL
    I hope TH will review on powerline Ethernet adapter against typical RJ45 and wifi. For the same reason as phalmhlam, my desktop is connected to router by a long cable running across floor, which bothers me and my family sometimes. I've been considering powerline ethernet, but I can't make decision between that and wireless-N, because I have no idea which one has better performance/price.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    Great article! I learned quite a few things from it.

    I still think I will be waiting for 802.11ac before upgrading from G though.
    Reply
  • jaylimo84
    M. Van Winkle,
    Thanks for this nice article.

    I own an Alienware M17xR3, with the Killer 1103.
    Upon installation, the driver was causing me issues (nothing big tho), and I decided to follow a forum recommendation and install the Atheros Osprey driver instead of Killer's.
    It seems the two card are identical apart from the name on it. (Maybe I am misleaded)

    It could be interesting to see if the Killer 1103 gets any improvement using the Killer driver vs. the vanilla Atheros drivers, and see if "years of working with the windows tcp stack" pays off. Or if your performance improvement is due to a good, but still normal card.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    MKBLI hope TH will review on powerline Ethernet adapter against typical RJ45 and wifi. For the same reason as phalmhlam, my desktop is connected to router by a long cable running across floor, which bothers me and my family sometimes. I've been considering powerline ethernet, but I can't make decision between that and wireless-N, because I have no idea which one has better performance/price.Indeed, it is an issue. I ended up wiring the house through the HVAC ducts, which is a terrible idea (breaks all sorts of building codes), but better than drilling holes all throughout the house only to move to wireless within the next 5-10 years.
    Reply
  • The Killer 1103 *IS* available for purchase. Check Amazon... $55 shipped.
    Reply
  • XmortisX
    I would like to try this out. If they can make a good pci-e/pci version of this card then definitely would try to push it with my clients. Even though we may get more labor hours for running wires the convenience and idea of avoiding HVAC ducts building codes makes this appealing.
    Reply