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Original and Retest: Linksys EA6900

The 2.4 GHz Linksys plots show improved performance at higher attenuations (lower signal levels). This indicates improved range for both up and downlink.

Linksys EA6900 original and retest comparison - 2.4 GHz

Linksys EA6900 original and retest comparison - 2.4 GHz

Unfortunately, the 5 GHz comparison goes in the wrong direction, with lower throughput in the retest, again for both up and downlink. This is definitely a step back for the Linksys.

Linksys EA6900 original and retest comparison - 5 GHz

Linksys EA6900 original and retest comparison - 5 GHz

Storage Retest

The RT-AC68U didn't do so well in its original USB storage testing. I had to enable the Reducing USB 3.0 interference setting, which appears to slow the USB 3.0 port to USB 2.0 speeds. I tried multiple times to get the tests to run, but each time the router share would disconnect while copying the first 1 GB VOB file in the test folder.

Since the AC68U has no shielding around its USB 3.0 connector, I've thought it unlikely that there would be a firmware fix for the problem. So I reran the USB tests with 3.0.0.4.374_371 with the Reducing USB 3.0 interference setting disabled and using my standard USB drive.

Table 1 summarizes USB 2.0 performance for the three AC1900 routers and includes both the original and retest results for the ASUS. The results here are essentially unchanged.

Processor NETGEAR R7000 ASUS RT-AC68U
(3.0.0.4.374_371)
ASUS RT-AC68U
(3.0.0.4.374_205)
Linksys EA6900
Broadcom BCM4709A Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4708A
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 24.8 16.6 11.8 14.5
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 27.8 26.6 24.0 21.0
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 27.9 25.2 23.7 17.2
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 27.9 26.8 24.2 21.2
Table 1: File copy throughput - USB 2.0 (MBytes/sec)

The USB 3.0 results show only slight improvement and certainly nothing near the best-in-class results of the NETGEAR R7000. The good news is that I had only one disconnect during testing that I couldn't reproduce.

Processor NETGEAR R7000 ASUS RT-AC68U
(3.0.0.4.374_371)
ASUS RT-AC68U
(3.0.0.4.374_205)
Linksys EA6900
Broadcom BCM4709A Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4708A
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 33.4 16.6 11.7* 15.6
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 57.4 26.6 21.6* 22.1
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 36.8 17.1 23.6* 17.4
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 57.7 27.0 24.3* 22.4
Table 2: File copy throughput - USB 3.0 (MBytes/sec)
* = "Reducing USB 3.0 interference" setting enabled

Closing Thoughts

The bottom line of the retest is best summarized by the Router Ranker, which shows the ASUS and NETGEAR now tied for #1 rank and the Linksys EA6900 in the #2 slot.

AC1900 Router Ranking

AC1900 Router Ranking

The side-by-side comparison of the Ranker Performance details shows the sub-ranks and just how close in performance the ASUS and NETGEAR are.

NETGEAR R7000 and ASUS RT-AC68U Ranker Performance Detail Comparison

NETGEAR R7000 and ASUS RT-AC68U Ranker Performance Detail Comparison

In the end, one of the folks in the forum summed it up aptly when he said:

"So it really is splitting hairs to choose between these routers then. Choose your religion (e.g. Asus or Netgear) and be happy with either is the bottom line I guess."

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