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Wireless Reviews

AC1900 Router Retest

Introduction

These products were retested again. See this article for the results.

Seems like only yesterday that I was putting the first AC1900 routers into the SNB testbed (actually, it was last October). I found the ASUS RT-AC68U, Linksys EA6900 and NETGEAR R7000 essentially identical on the 5 GHz band, but significantly different in 2.4 GHz.

That first round of testing stuck with the ASUS PCE-AC66 AC1750 class adapter as the test client because its AC1900 class potential replacement—the PCE-AC68—wasn't quite baked yet. So all three products were tested as AC1750 routers because of the client limitation.

I recently was able to test all three routers as AC1900 routers using ASUS' adapter and published the results in Is AC1900 Worth It?. Those tests showed at best the same throughput and at worst significantly lower throughput compared to tests run with the PCE-AC66 client. But they also showed pairs of routers forming AC1900 bridges could produce significantly higher throughput with strong to moderate level signals.

Since I had everthing set up, I decided to also rerun 5 GHz band tests on all three routers and update the Router Charts database with the retest data for both bands. All three companies had issued new firmware since the original tests were done, so I thought it would be interesting if wireless performance had changed. (Spoiler alert: Not so much.)

The firmwares used in this retest are:

  • ASUS RT-AC68U: 3.0.0.4.374_371
  • Linksys EA6900: 1.1.42.156465
  • NETGEAR R7000: 1.0.2.194

Comparison

Here are the original (left) and retest (right) plots for 2.4 GHz downlink profile. The R7000 still has the smoothest curve of the three routers. The Linksys' early downward dip moved a bit, but is about as deep as before. The ASUS's throughput drop in the low attenutation range has been reduced, but is broader than before.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - original and retest

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - original and retest

The 2.4 GHz uplink profile shows the ASUS having the most improvement. It's now the same as the Linksys and NETGEAR until 30 dB attenuation or so. The Linksys' throughput still falls off the earliest, indicating somewhat reduced range.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - original and retest

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - original and retest

The 5 GHz downlink profile shows Linksys taking a bit of a step backward in performance and the NETGEAR and ASUS staying about the same.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - original and retest

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - original and retest

Finally, the 5 GHz uplink profile shows a bump in throughput for all three products for the 0 dB test used for maximum throughput ranking. The ASUS and NETGEAR also seem to have slightly higher throughput in the midrange attenuations, while the Linksys stayed about the same.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - original and retest

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - original and retest

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