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

Benchmark Results: Close Range, No Interference

We begin with the single-client downlink test at 5 GHz with a 10-foot line-of-sight distance. HP handily trounces the field here, thanks to its triple-stream capability. Given that, it’s not surprising that Meraki comes in second place. These are the only two APs able to leverage all three of the client’s potential streams.

In the 10-foot uplink test, Meraki soars out to 157 Mb/s, leaving the next four contenders clustered around 130 Mb/s and Cisco bringing up the rear at 114 Mb/s. Why would the triple-stream HP fall back into the pack here? We don’t have a good explanation. Theoretically, it should have done better. Our only explanation would be that perhaps HP has a somewhat asymmetrical orientation in its omnidirectional antennas. This might explain the lag we see, as well as the jump witnessed on the next page—if the client happened to fall in a sweet spot for that AP’s signal.

After all of the many optimizations we discussed in part 1, why doesn’t Ruckus sweep the field and win here? Because in all wireless approaches, there are compromises. Ruckus APs are designed for adaptability. Keep in mind that the AP being tested doesn’t know its distance from the client. It only senses signal strength. So, if an AP is programmed to keep continually searching for a better pattern, it’s going to spend resources essentially saying, “Can I hear you better this way? Nope, so I’ll go back to how I was. Well, how about this way? Nope, back again. How about...?” At such close range, there’s only one best path: direct line-of-sight. Attempting to optimize to anything else is only going to hamper performance, but Ruckus keeps trying. That’s the trade-off. Additionally, the benefits of single-antenna beamforming and signal steering vanish in such close quarters.