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Router Charts

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Mesh Charts

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Stress Test

To check for interaction between wired routing and wireless performance, I ran a test similar to one I've run before. I set up four IxChariot throughput scripts as follows:

  • LAN to WAN Wired Routing (limited to 300 Mbps send rate)
  • WAN to LAN Wired Routing (limited to 300 Mbps send rate)
  • 5 GHz Wireless Downlink (ASUS PCE-AC66 AC1750 class client linked at 1.3 Mbps)
  • 2.4 GHz Wireless Downlink (Intel Centrino Ultimate N N900 class client client linked at 217 Mbps)

I limited wired routing throughput mainly to smooth out the plots and make it easier to see changes in wireless performance. The plot starts the 5 GHz traffic first, followed by 2.4 GHz, WAN to LAN and finally LAN to WAN at one minute intervals. Due to the high variation in 5 GHz throughput, it's tough to tell exactly how much throughput falls when WAN to LAN wired routing starts. But it seems like at least 40 Mbps.

Linksys WRT1900AC wired and wireless stress test

Linksys WRT1900AC wired and wireless stress test

It seems like the start of 2.4 GHz traffic negatively impacts 5 GHz throughput first, however. But none of the wired routing traffic seems to affect 2.4 GHz throughput at all. Of course, 2.4 GHz throughput is around half 5 GHz's. In all, this isn't a bad showing for the WRT1900AC and seems like the 1.2 GHz Marvell Armada processor is doing a decent job of keeping everything running at a high clip.

Note I didn't throw storage into this too, since we already saw it reduces 2.4 GHz throughput around 25% when the USB 3.0 port is used.

Interoperability

A few folks in the forums asked about the WRT1900AC's compatibility with N devices, since that has been a problem for some NETGEAR R7000 users. So I gathered up an assortment of devices lying around the SNB office, gave each a one minute test and summarized the results in Table 1.

Device OS Chipset Class Tested Link Rate (Mbps) 2.4 GHz Throughput (Mbps) 5 GHz Throughput (Mbps) Comment
2.4 5 Down Up Down Up
Chromo 7 Android ? N150 78 - 47.8 43.6 - - Very well behaved in general
Apple iPad2 iOS 7.1 Broadcom BCM43291 N150 N/A N/A 26.9 13.2 27.0 13.6 Low performance, especially uplink
Apple iPhone 4s iOS 6.1.3 Broadcom BCM4330 N150 N/A N/A - - - - Connected, but would not ping or run IxChariot
Google Nexus 7 Android 4.4.2 Broadcom BCM4330 N150 65 - 34.1 27.4 - - High downward throughput spikes
Acer Aspire S7-392 Windows 8.1 Intel Wireless-N 7260 N600 144 300 23.7 76.6 76.1 153.8 Downlink slower than uplink on both bands. High 5 GHz variation
Lenovo x220i Windows 7 SP1 Intel Centrino Ultimate N 6300 N900 217 450 90.8 101.0 110.8 133.8 Better behaved than N 7260.
Moto X Android 4.2.2 QCA WCN3680 AC580 86 78 48.4 35.4 52.8 92.8 High downward throughput spikes in 2.4 GHz. 5 GHz did not link at full AC rate.
Linksys AE6000 Windows 7 on Lenovo x220i MediaTek MT7610U AC580 86.5 433 46.0 49.1 221.5 153.3 Better behaved than MotoX
NETGEAR A6200 Windows 7 on Lenovo x220i Broadcom BCM43526 AC1200 144 866.5 89.3 66.3 208.4 177.8 Both bands well behaved
ASUS PCE-AC66 Windows 7 on Dell Optiplex 790 SFF Broadcom BCM4360 AC1750 216.5 1300 111.3 116.5 209.6 323.2 Good performance, but high variation on both bands.
Table 1: Linksys WRT1900AC Interoperability Test Summary

The good news is that everything I tried was able to connect to the WRT1900AC just fine. But the iPhone 4s was the only device that could not be pinged or run the IxChariot test. Note that the same BCM4330 chipset in the Android-powered Google Nexus 7 tablet was able to run the test. Also note the Moto X, which has a 1x1 AC580 class radio failed to link at the 433 Mbps rate it should have in the 5 GHz test.

I was least impressed with the Intel Wireless-N 7260's performance, which suffered from low downlink and disconnected on one of the test runs. IxChariot plots for each test are in the gallery. You can get a better feel for each clients performance by clicking through the IxChariot plots.

Closing Thoughts

I was going to include the results of another test running a mix of wireless client types plus wired routing, with a target of 24 hours. So far, however, the test has not been able to run more than five minutes or so without a client disconnect. But I think the problem is in my test setup, not the WRT1900AC. So that will have to wait for another time.

The main takeaway from these additional tests is that the WRT1900AC seems to have enough processing power to handle heavy simultaneous wired routing, wireless on both bands and storage activity. But, to no surprise, client compatibility still needs some work.

So my botton line remains the same as in the original review. If you're unhappy with either ASUS' RT-AC68U or NETGEAR's R7000 Nighthawk and have the time, money and inclination, you might as well give the WRT1900AC a shot and see if it can make you happier.

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