Ok. There's DEFINITELY something amiss with these Dell N cards. I just got yet ANOTHER router to test, the Linksys WRT300N, and the Dell 1500 cards REFUSE to connect any faster than 54mbit. This results in about 2mb/s transfer rates. If I could get connected at 270mbit, maybe I'd actually get some more decent speeds over my network?
It's weird because the card's software says it's running at 40mhz, but it's not 270mbit. Gah!
Bizarrely, switching the router from "N-ONLY" mode to "Mixed Mode" fixed this problem.
Final results: Not awful. But not as consistent as the Netgear. The Linksys seemed to "stall" on file transfers, - that is, stop transferring for a second, and then continue. The Netgear is the best N router on the market, and heck, I've pretty much tested them all!
OK this is REALLY weird. When moving my Logitech G7 around while transferring files, the transfer rate PLUMMETS. I've tested this on both my M1210 and my M1710, with DIFFERENT Logitech G7 wireless mice, and the results is the same. Is that weird, or is that weird? Literally, the transfer rate essentially STOPS when moving the wireless mouse around. Touchpad has no effect, though...
At the end of the day, firmware updates are needed, though I suspect the culprit here is the Wireless 1500 cards. It just amazes me (sort of....) that Dell reps could say this technology was worth releasing. I'm getting around 3mbytes/second transfer rates with the systems right next to each other and right next to the router (the Netgear). That's how many Mbit? 24?