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Mar 02

Cisco 1702i, 2702i, 3702i: Real World Coverage

Cisco 1702i, 2702i, 3702i: Real World Coverage

We thought it might be an interesting test to do some tests on how each of the new AP types perform. One of the primary differences between the Cisco 1702, 2702 and 3702 is the number of antennas in use. The maximum radiated power from an AP is limited by the regulatory domain, so as more antennas are added, the AP will push less power to each antenna – however the overall radiated power is the same. The difference though is more antennas means more special streams, higher throughput and more consistent coverage.

    We’ve run some tests to see what difference in reality the number of antennas makes to coverage. This doesn’t account for throughput of course (as more special streams should equal more throughput), but does give an indication how well the APs will cover an area, and if you need to vary the density of APs for different types.


The tests below detail how consistent the coverage is from each of the AP types, so we can see if the additional antennas make a lot of difference to the coverage pattern or not. The surveys were conducted using AirMagnet with the Proxim adapters in use.

The coverage results show the comparison for each of the AP types at 10mW and 20mW. The 3702's have different power levels, and were tested at 12.5mW and 25mW. The cut-off point has been set as -67dB for the Primary coverage, which is typical for voice type coverage.

Let’s see how each AP type performs in comparison to each other.



Cisco 1702i Access Point

First up is the Cisco 1702i access point. This AP has 3x3 MIMO with two spatial streams.

Cisco 1702i: 10dBm (10mW)

2.4 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi   5 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi

Cisco 1702i: 13dBm (20mW)

2.4 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi   5 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi

Cisco 1702i: Coverage Results

The 1702 provides nice even coverage and as you’d expect, increasing the power also increased the coverage provided. Each 3dB is a doubling of power, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see that while the coverage pattern has indeed expanded, its not as significant as you might have expected.




Cisco 2702i Access Point

Next up is the Cisco 2702i. This AP has 3x4 MIMO with three spatial streams.

Cisco 2702i: 10dBm (10mW)

2.4 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi   5 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi

Cisco 2702i: 13dBm (20mW)

2.4 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi   5 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi

Cisco 2702i: Coverage Results

Any perceived difference is fairly inconclusive between the Cisco 1702i and the Cisco 2702i. While it did in some of the tests provide a more even coverage than the 1702i, the 1702i itself performed marginally better. Note though that this is not a throughput test, only a base coverage test. The 2702i would be expected to outperform the 1702i in any throughput tests.



Cisco 3702i Access Point

Finally is the Cisco 3702i. This AP has 4x4 MIMO with three spatial streams.

Cisco 3702i: 11dBm (12.5mW)

2.4 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi   5 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi

Cisco 3702i: 14dBm (25mW)

2.4 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi   5 GHz - Primary Coverage @ -67dBi

Cisco 3702i: Coverage Results

The Cisco 3702i does show itself as the clear winner in the testing. It provided noticeably better coverage on the 2.4GHz band and some improved coverage on the 5GHz band. Noting that the AP was running 1dB more than the 17021 / 2702i tests (although this is not a significant amount of power more).

Cisco Access Point Coverage: Overall Results

The aim of the testing was determine if there was much difference between the coverage provided by the 1702i, the 2702i and the 3702i. The result is a fairly indistinct ‘not much’.

The 3702i did indeed perform better than the other two AP types, as you’d expect, although its list price is significantly more. We didn’t test the throughput or number of clients each might support – I would suspect this would reveal a much greater difference between the AP types than the base coverage testing did. In the end, the main differentiator has got to be the ability of the 3702i series to support add-in modules – with the introduction of both the WiPS and Hyperlocation modules.

This is a compelling argument for the 3702i, but only if your budget can stretch to cover these modules, in addition to this top-of-the-line AP.

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