Voyager Air vs. Seagate Wireless Plus — Real World Wireless Performance

 

It's completely logical that the Corsair Voyager Air and the Seagate Wireless Plus are frequently compared to each other. In fact, they were recently compared in a roundup at CNET. CNET Editor Dong Ngo compared several devices and declared the Voyager Air to be the most complete package on the market in this product class. He has a really informative Voyager Air video linked in the article also.

 

Voyager Air

 

To give users a bit of a different perspective on the performance of the Voyager Air, we've summarized some of the in-house testing we've performed over the past few months. We've spent a great deal of time testing the Voyager Air in what we thought would be common usage scenarios. We also put the Seagate Wireless Plus through the same testing for comparison purposes. We were very impressed with the Voyager Air wireless performance and we think you will be impressed also.

The Voyager Air and the Wireless Plus both have the same stated 802.11n 150Mbps wireless capability. However, based on our testing, the similarity ends there. The Voyager Air illustrates superior wireless testing in the four scenarios we've charted below.

  1. File Transfer + Pass Thru Disabled — Test 1 consists of wirelessly transferring data directly to and from the Voyager Air and the Wireless Plus.
  2. File Transfer + Pass Thru Enabled — The same file transfers from Test 1 were repeated with wireless pass through enabled on the Voyager Air and the Wireless Plus. Wireless pass through was enabled however, the devices were not connected to the WiFi network during this test.
  3. File Transfer + Streaming .mp4 (5000k bitrate) — The third test is the same file transfers to and from the devices while the devices also streamed a .mp4 video (5000k bitrate) to a second wireless client. Wireless pass through was disabled for this test.
  4. File Transfer + Pass Thru Enabled + Streaming .mp4 (5000k bitrate) — The fourth test is the same file transfers to and from the devices while the pass through was enabled and they streamed a .mp4 video (5000k bitrate).

The test files used were a folder of mp3 music (AC/DC -96.1MB) and a .mp4 HD movie file (a 720p/5000kbps bit rate .mp4 test file for Battlestar Galactica – 560MB). The router is an ASUS wireless 802.11ac capable router.

All tests were run five times. The high and low runs were omitted and the median score of the remaining three scores was used. The data shows that in all cases, with and without wireless pass through enabled, the Voyager Air provides a consistently faster and more pleasurable wireless user experience.

In the first test, the test files were simply moved wirelessly to and from to each device to evaluate wireless performance uploading to and downloading from the Voyager Air, and the Wireless Plus. The Voyager Air is clearly the faster device here.

 

TEST 1 — MP3

 

MP3 1

 

TEST 1 — MP4

 

MP4-1

 

In the second test, we enabled the wireless pass through but did not actually connect the devices to the ASUS WiFi connection. Enabling the pass through even without connecting to the WiFi caused file transfer test times to increase on both the Voyager Air and the Wireless Plus. As you can see, the increase in time was far more significant on the Wireless Plus.

 

Test 2 — MP3

 

MP3-2

 

Test 2 — MP4

 

MP4-2

 

The third test allowed us to see how the wireless performance would be affected while an user also watched a high definition video on another connected device. The extra load on the HDD is evident here and the Voyager Air takes it in stride. The Wireless Plus performance on the other hand, again drops much more than than the performance of the Voyager Air.

 

TEST 3 — MP3

 

MP3-3

 

TEST 3 — MP4

 

MP4-3

 

The fourth test was a combination of the three previous tests, intended to simulate two wireless clients using the devices while performing both file related tasks and watching a high definition video. This is of course the heaviest load placed on the devices in the testing and this is reflected in the times.

Note: In this testing the Seagate Wireless Plus exhibited some stutter in the playback of the high definition video. The device connected to the Voyager Air did not have any issues with stuttering during video playback under these test circumstances.

 

TEST 4 — MP3

 

MP3-4

 

TEST 4 — MP4

 

MP4-4

 

The user scenarios tested above are likely to be very common for owners that like to enjoy the features of their drive. Based on these tests, we believe that Voyager Air owners will have a much more pleasant user experience and be able to use their Voyager Air the way in which it was intended.

Here are links to other helpful Voyager Air resources:

Relevant Hardware Used for Wireless Performance Testing

  • Lenovo Thinkpad T420 (Corsair Neutron 240GB SSD) with Intel Wireless N 1000 Wi-Fi Adapter
  • ASUS RT-AC66R Dual Band Gigabit Router
  • Voyager Air Red 1TB w/firmware 1.2.2
  • Seagate Wireless + w/shipping firmware
  • Home NAS Server w/Gigabit Ethernet adapter + ZFS RAID-Z2 capable of 80MB/s + sustained transfer rates
  • LAN, all gigabit switches

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