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Wireless Reviews

Storage Performance

I ran Windows filecopy tests using the standard NAS testbed to the EA6500 with our new USB standard drive (Startech USB 3.0 eSATA to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station (SATDOCKU3SEF) containing a WD Velociraptor WD3000HLFS 300 GB drive) formatted in FAT32 and NTFS. The results are summarized in Table 3, along with other draft AC routers and the current N-based leader, NETGEAR's WNDR4700 CENTRIA.

  Cisco-Linksys EA6500 ASUS
FAT32 Write 4.8 9.0 7.3 8.6 17.4
FAT32 Read 10.7 9.9 11.8 10.2 32.9
NTFS Write 7.7 13.5 8.4 11.3 31.6
NTFS Read 9.5 9.4 8.7 10.3 61.3
Table 4: Router filecopy performance comparison - MB/s

Results show that the EA6500's storage performance is similar to the other Broadcom-based AC routers with the exception of FAT32 writes, which are about half of what we normally measure. But Broadcom's design can't come anywhere near the CENTRIA's, which is powered by an Applied Micro APM82181 CPU.

Wireless Performance - Draft 802.11ac

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

Cisco sent along a Linksys WUMC710 Wireless-AC Universal Media Connector for testing the 6500's draft 11ac performance. By opting to provide a dedicated bridge device instead of adding a bridge mode to the EA6500, you save $60 (off list price - $50 off most street price) if you want an all-Linksys draft 11ac setup.

Cisco Linksys WUMC710 Wireless-AC Universal Media Connector

Cisco Linksys WUMC710 Wireless-AC Universal Media Connector

Cisco is currently providing more of a nudge in this direction by knocking $30 off the cost of its bundle of the EA6500 and WUMC710. They're even throwing in a $50 Amex gift card (via mail-in rebate) if you buy direct from them before 11/3/2012.

The WUMC710 had V1.0.00 firmware installed and was tested with the EA6500 set to channel 36 using our standard wireless test process. As is our standard practice, testing was done with WPA2/AES wireless security engaged. The EA6500 channel width was set to its default 80 MHz, which enables draft 11ac operation.

I ran throughput vs. location plots, including the NETGEAR R6300, Buffalo WZR-D1800H and ASUS RT-AC66U. The downlink plot below shows the 6500 failing to outperform the top-performing NETGEAR with a best case Location A throughput of 146 Mbps vs. 158 Mbps. As signal levels drop in Locations C and D, the EA6500 performs more like the Buffalo and NETGEAR routers and the ASUS takes the lead. The ASUS remains the only product to connect in our weakest signal Location F (with another copy of it set to bridge mode).

Draft 802.11ac throughput vs. location comparison - downlink

Draft 802.11ac throughput vs. location comparison - downlink

The uplink plot shows a slightly different story, with the EA6500 beating the ASUS with 382 Mbps vs.361. When signal levels drop, the Linksys ranks in second place in Locations C and D, but again fails to connect in Location F.

Draft 802.11ac throughput vs. location comparison - uplink

Draft 802.11ac throughput vs. location comparison - uplink

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