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Wireless Performance - more

Here's the IxChariot plot for downlink Throughput is generally stable, except for those durn big occasional dropouts!

Draft 802.11ac throughput IxChariot plot - NETGEAR R6300 - downlink

Draft 802.11ac throughput IxChariot plot - NETGEAR R6300 - downlink

Uplink is a little squirrelier, particularly in Location C.

Draft 802.11ac throughput IxChariot plot - NETGEAR R6300 - uplink

Draft 802.11ac throughput IxChariot plot - NETGEAR R6300 - uplink

Maximum 11ac Throughput

I reran the multi-pair test I used on the Buffalo, to see how much total throughput I could squeeze from the R6300. The plot below shows the R6300 started out higher than the WZR-D1800H, but peaked at 413 Mbps with 5 up/down pairs. Again, this isn't exactly apples-to-apples. But this should represent best case performance given the pairing of same-vendor designs.

Draft 11ac throughput vs. traffic pairs

Draft 11ac throughput vs. traffic pairs

Wireless Performance - Two Stream

As I mentioned earlier, I used our standard test method to test the the R6300's two-stream N wireless performance with our standard two-stream client an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 in a Acer Aspire 1810T notebook running Win 7 Home Premium SP1 (64 bit). 2.4 GHz tests were run on Channel 1 and 5 GHz band tests on Channel 36.

Since I'm going to get to repeat this all over again once NETGEAR releases new firmware, I'm just going to show one particular product comparison and let you run more of your own.

The 2.4 GHz table below compares 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz bandwidth performance for the R6300, Buffalo WZR-D1800H, ASUS RT-N66U and ASUS RT-N56U.

I included the older ASUS router, even though it was tested with my old Intel 5300 two-stream client, mainly because one of the SNB Forum denizens insists that his R6300 provides broader coverage than his old RT-N56U.

In looking at the numbers, however, I can't see anything in my data that would support his claim for downlink. Uplink shows slightly better numbers from the R6300 than the RT-N56U, but nothing that would provide significantly more range.

2.4 GHz, 2 stream performance comparison

2.4 GHz, 2 stream performance comparison

The 5 GHz table shows even weaker support for better coverage from the R6300 vs. the RT-N56U. Downlink numbers are neck-and-neck in Location D and uplink has the R6300 at only 8 Mbps vs. the ASUS' 33 Mbps!

5 GHz, 2 stream performance comparison

5 GHz, 2 stream performance comparison

Bottom line: Where the same test clients are used, i.e. the RT-N66U and WZR-D1800H, the RT-N66U has an advantage over the two draft 11ac routers only for strongest signal (Location A) downlink in 2.4 GHz and across most 5 GHz downlink locations.

So at least to me, neither the Buffalo nor NETGEAR draft 11ac routers are likely to provide a significant performance advantage (both range and throughput) for two-stream N clients over any other current-generation N router.

Closing Thoughts

With its soon-to-be-upgraded firmware, a pair of NETGEAR R6300's don't provide as much total throughput as a Buffalo WZR-D1800H / WLI-H4-D1300 pair. The NETGEAR's draft 11ac throughput also appears to not hold up as well as the Buffalo's as signal levels drop.

As for hoping that the R6300 will be a step up from your current draft 11n router, for 802.11abgn clients, I'd say don't bother, unless you jumped into the 802.11n router game as early as you are considering jumping into the 802.11ac beta test.

We'll be back for a full review once NETGEAR gets a firmware release out that they deem review-worthy.

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