With the network cards installed and the computers seeing each other on the network, it is time to begin the testing. The testing software I chose to use for this introductory article, Qcheck, is part of the Chariot suite of network application and hardware performance testing software by the NetIQ Corporation. This free utility can be downloaded from
TCP Response Time
This test measures the minimum, average, and maximum amount of time it takes to complete a TCP transaction. I used the settings of 10 iterations of 100bytes of information for this test. This test is pretty much a glorified version of a ping utility. The measures the "lag" or latency of your connection.
This test measures the amount of data per second that is successfully sent between the two nodes using the TCP protocol. For this test, the program used 1Mb of data and timed the successful delivery of packets. This test measures the bandwidth of the connection.
UDP Streaming Throughput
This test measures the rate at which the streaming data is received by the destination node. This test also measures the packet loss as well as the CPU utilization for the transaction. For this test I used a grueling 1Mbps for 10 seconds. This test simulates the behavior of applications that use streaming like video broadcasts. Streaming protocols like UDP are connectionless and send data without acknowledgement signals for greater throughput.
For the wireless network card setup, I left the default transfer rate setting at automatic. In doing so, the cards will negotiate the best connection and highest speed. I set the network architecture in the configuration utility to 802.11 ad hoc. At the 802.11 Ad Hoc setting, I used three different WEP settings: no WEP, 64-bit WEP, and 128-bit WEP. I wanted to see if the encryption and decryption of the packets would show up in the performance of the network.
For the wired network, I used category 5e crossover cable and for the wireless network a distance of approximately 2 meters separation of the systems. Both systems were running under Windows 98 SE (Windows 98 4.10 Build 2222 A) with no other applications besides the test software running.
These are in no way exhaustive tests of the NICs performance. Anything more would be out of the scope of this introductory article and are therefore unwarranted.
The test systems are as follows: