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Wireless Reviews

AirStation AC1300 / N900 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router
At a glance
ProductBuffalo Technology WZR-D1800H AirStation AC1300 / N900 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router   [Website]
SummaryFirst-to-market Draft 2.0 802.11ac router based on Broadcom chipset
Pros• Can get ~ 450 Mbps total throughput in 80 MHz draft AC mode
• Built in PPTP server
• NAS feature supports DLNA and Torrent downloads
Cons• Moderate single client throughput gain from draft 11ac
• No guest SSID
• No WDS or client mode bridging
• Basic routing feature set

Typical Price: $180  Compare Prices  Check Amazon

Wireless Performance - Overview

This product has been retested with the Rev 7 wireless test process. See this article for the results.

With the feature review, routing performance, file sharing performance and initial look at maximum draft 11ac throughput out of the way in Part 1, we now move on to our regular throughput vs. location testing.

First, however, to recap, in Part 1 we found that the Buffalo draft 11ac router / bridge pair was able to pump out increasing throughput as we increased the number of simultaneous IxChariot test scripts. Figure 1 is the graph from Part 1 that summarizes the tests. So, at least at close range, draft 11ac is capable of much higher throughput than previously attainable with even three-stream 802.11n.

Draft 11ac vs. Three Stream 802.11n throughput vs. traffic pairs

Figure 1: Draft 11ac vs. Three Stream 802.11n throughput vs. traffic pairs

I used our standard test method to test the D1800's wireless performance. Three-stream testing was done with our standard Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 test client in a Lenovo x220i Thinkpad running Win 7 Home Premium SP1 (64 bit). For two-stream tests on both bands, I used an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 in a Acer Aspire 1810T notebook running Win 7 Home Premium SP1 (64 bit). For the 80 MHz bandwidth mode, 5 GHz band tests, i.e. draft 802.11ac mode, I used a Buffalo WLI-H4-D1300 draft 11ac bridge. Both router and bridge were running their original-release version 1.86 firmware.

As is SNB practice, I set the 2.4 GHz radio to Channel 1 and the 5 GHz radio to Channel 36. All tests were run with WPA2/AES security engaged, which I set by running a WPS pushbutton session.

Each entry in the Benchmark Summary in Figure 2 shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations. As I've found with previous three-stream tests these averages don't change much between two and three stream modes until you get multiple simultaneous data streams running with a strong signal.

Buffalo WZR-D1800H benchmark summary

Figure 2: Buffalo WZR-D1800H Benchmark Summary

For example, comparing two and three stream 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode up/down tests shows a 42% gain in average throughput (84 Mbps vs. 119 Mbps), while comparing downlink-only results for the same benchmark actually produces around a 10% throughput loss (48 Mbps vs. 43 Mbps).

But if you look at the last three draft 11ac tests (5 GHz, 80 MHz B/W, 3 stream), the up/down average at 192 Mbps is 61% higher than the 40 MHz mode three-stream N test at 119 Mbps.

Table 1 summarizes the highest wireless throughput measured out of all locations in the 20 MHz mode test runs. In most cases, highest throughput was measured in Location A. Note that the Dn/Up result is for simultaneous up and downlink tests in Location A. This test usually shows higher throughput than unidirectional tests.

Test Group Max Dn (Mbps) Max Up (Mbps) Dn/Up (Mbps)
2.4 GHz, 2 stream, 20 MHz 68 57 83
2.4 GHz, 3 stream, 20 MHz 76 73 104
5 GHz, 2 stream, 20 MHz 66 61 84
5 GHz, 3 stream, 20 MHz 50 57 76
Table 1: Highest Throughput, 20 MHz mode

Something seems off in the 5 GHz results since, in 20 MHz mode, best case three stream throughput is actually lower than two-stream. 5 GHz 40 MHz mode results in Table 2 are better and go in the right direction for three-stream vs. two. But the 14% gain between two and three stream down/up tests is nothing to write home about.

For 40 MHz bandwidth modes, the two-to-three stream performance gain shown in Table 2 is more significant—between 30 and 60%!

Test Group Max Dn (Mbps) Max Up (Mbps) Dn/Up (Mbps)
2.4 GHz, 2 stream, 40 MHz 76 71 104
2.4 GHz, 3 stream, 40 MHz 98 79 104
5 GHz, 2 stream, 40 MHz 78 75 104
5 GHz, 3 stream, 40 MHz 85 80 119
Table 2: Highest Throughput, 40 MHz mode

Table3 calls out the draft 11ac best case throughputs, which are at least 56% higher for downlink, 65% higher for uplink and 61% higher for up/down. Now we're talkin'!

Test Group Max Dn (Mbps) Max Up (Mbps) Dn/Up (Mbps)
5 GHz, 3 stream, 80 MHz 133 132 192
Table 3: Highest Throughput, 80 MHz mode

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