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Wireless Reviews

AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router
At a glance
ProductLinksys AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router (WRT1900AC)   [Website]
SummaryMarvell-based AC1900 class router with Gigabit Ethernet ports and USB 3.0 / eSATA storage sharing
Pros• Establishes a new high in router storage sharing performance
• Supports non WDS bridging and repeating
Cons• Smaller feature set than other top-end routers

Typical Price: $237  Buy From Amazon

Introduction

In the WRT1900AC review, I promised to come back and beat on Linksys' new top-of-line router to dig a little deeper. I ran four investigations:

  • Checked 2.4 GHz 600 Mbps link rate performance
  • Checked for interaction between storage and wireless performance
  • Stress tested with simultaneous high loads on both radios and wired routing
  • Checked for compatibility with various clients, including N

Let's hop right to it.

2.4 GHz 600 Mbps Link Rate Performance

Since I have had mixed results with ASUS' PCE-AC68 AC1900 client, I used a second WRT1900AC in wireless bridge mode. It was parked in the same room under 10 feet away from the WRT1900AC acting as a router. The main router's 2.4 GHz radio was set to Auto mode, Channel 6 and had WPA2/AES security enabled.

All I had to do on the Bridge router was select the Wireless Bridge mode and enter the SSID and WPA2 key of the main router. As noted in the original review, neither WRT1900AC provides any indication of bridge link rate, signal level or traffic. So I don't really know whether these results represent 256 QAM modulation rates (289 Mbps in 20 MHz mode and 600 Mbps with 40 MHz bandwidth) and I remain a skeptic of the value of 256 QAM in 2.4 GHz.

The first IxChariot screenshot compares downlink throughput with the router forced to 20 MHz mode and Auto mode. Looks like something is working because the auto mode throughput is about 2X the 20 MHz mode's! But I went back and checked the 20 MHz mode results from our standard tests using the ASUS PCE-AC66 AC1750 class client and found 123 Mbps, which is actually a bit higher than measured in this test.

Linksys WRT1900AC 2.4 GHz bridge throughput comparison - downlink

Linksys WRT1900AC 2.4 GHz bridge throughput comparison - downlink

Here's the uplink version of the plot. Once again, Auto mode provides around double the throughput. I measured 116 Mbps using the standard PCE-AC66 adapter, so, again, the 20 MHz mode results don't represent any real gain in performance.

Linksys WRT1900AC 2.4 GHz bridge throughput comparison - uplink

Linksys WRT1900AC 2.4 GHz bridge throughput comparison - uplink

I also ran simultaneous up and downlink tests in each mode to check for total throughput. Here is 20 MHz mode. Total throughput is only a tad more than best-case unidirectional throughput because for some reason downlink throughput was significantly lower than its unidirectional test results. The 159 Mbps I measured using my standard adapter is again higher than the results below.

Linksys WRT1900AC 2.4 GHz bridge throughput 20 MHz mode - simultaneous up/downlink

Linksys WRT1900AC 2.4 GHz bridge throughput 20 MHz mode - simultaneous up/downlink

Total Auto mode throughput was much better, although downlink throughput again dropped below its unidirectional value. Since we don't test in 40 MHz mode for my standard benchmarks, there are no results to compare here.

Linksys WRT1900AC 2.4 GHz bridge throughput Auto mode - simultaneous up/downlink

Linksys WRT1900AC 2.4 GHz bridge throughput Auto mode - simultaneous up/downlink

Remember these are results with router and bridge in the same room. High link rate throughput tends to drop quickly with signal levels, so don't count on 200+ Mbps throughput in real-world use.

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