Performance: A Case Study
Ok, now with all of that technical jargon out of the way, let's get down to what's truly important to the user - "How fast is it?" Before I get to that, let me introduce you to the product.
This is the wireless LAN kit I received from Compex. It is the C-Kit 811WL WLAN kit. This kit includes two WavePort WL11 11Mbps Wireless PCMCIA LAN cards, one PCMCIA/PCI adapter card, and drivers and software to connect them all together.
These cards use the DSSS modulation scheme and are restricted to 11 out of the 14 channels available in the 2.4 GHz ISM band due to FCC regulations. The manufacturer's data sheet on this product states that the card has an 11Mbps air transmission rate with a 3.8-4.0 Mbps throughput. We shall put this to the test a little later.
The installation of these cards is fairly standard and straightforward. You power your system down, install the cards, power the system up, and insert driver disk when prompted. All that is left if to install is the configuration utility, which configures and resets the driver, as you need it. This program also implements an icon that shows you the state of your network connection.
The Compex Configuration Utility Icon is the one that looks like a computer with a green screen with an antenna on top and EMF waves radiating from it.
When the network cards lose connection, the screen becomes red and the antenna now looks like it's not transmitting.
Double clicking on this icon brings up the Wireless LAN Configuration Utility window. This window consists of four "tabbed" pages.
The first tab, as we see here, is the information page that is refreshed about once a second. The "State" refers to whether or not the card is connected. As shown, the card is connected with the current BSS (Basic Service Set) ID, is set to channel 11, and its transfer rate is currently at 11Mbits/s. The throughput is an instantaneous measure of the current outbound (Tx) and inbound (Rx) traffic at the moment of refresh. The link quality and signal strength meters only apply to the infrastructure topology. They are not applicable in the Ad Hoc topology because data will be coming in from many different computers.