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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance - Draft 802.11ac

As noted earlier, draft 11ac mode tests were run with a pair of AC66's with one set to Media Bridge mode. The connection on channel 36 was secured with WPA2/AES and 80 MHz bandwidth mode was set on the 5 GHz radio to kick in the draft 11ac mode.

Throughput vs. location plots, including the NETGEAR R6300 and Buffalo WZR-D1800H, show that the pair of AC66's outperform the other two draft AC routers in the lower signal level test locations C and D. And, in a first for draft 11ac products, I was able to run tests in our weakest signal test location F—with over 50 Mbps of throughput!

Draft 802.11ac throughput vs. location - downlink

Draft 802.11ac throughput vs. location - downlink

Draft 11ac uplink performance was even more impressive, with much higher throughput than obtained with the Buffalo and NETGEAR products and 28 Mbps of throughput in location F.

Draft 802.11ac throughput vs. location - uplink

Draft 802.11ac throughput vs. location - uplink

Here's the IxChariot plot for downlink. Throughput is surprisingly stable, although there are plenty of large dropouts.

Draft 802.11ac throughput IxChariot plot - ASUS RT-AC66U - downlink

Draft 802.11ac throughput IxChariot plot - ASUS RT-AC66U - downlink

It's a bit hard to see in the uplink plot below, but it takes a few seconds at the start of the location A and C tests to ramp up to the high levels that produce the 350+ Mbps average thoughput for the one minute runs.

Draft 802.11ac throughput IxChariot plot - ASUS RT-AC66U - uplink

Draft 802.11ac throughput IxChariot plot - ASUS RT-AC66U - uplink

Maximum 11ac Throughput

I ran the multi-pair test to see how throughput scales as more test scripts are run simultaneously. The plot below shows that the AC66's performance is tuned so that almost 450 Mbps of throughput is available to a single up/downlink test pair.

Draft 11ac throughput vs. traffic pairs

Draft 11ac throughput vs. traffic pairs

Since throughput starts out so high, it doesn't increase as much as the NETGEAR and Buffalo products do as additional up/down pairs are added. Throughput plateaus at around 525 Mbps with four test pairs.

I should note that throughput distribution among the pairs is very unequal, both pair to pair and between up and downlink. A glance at the IxChariot plot below for four pairs illustrates what I mean.

Draft 11ac throughput vs. traffic pairs IxChariot plot - 4 pair

Draft 11ac throughput vs. traffic pairs IxChariot plot - 4 pair

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