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Routing Performance

Routing throughput was measured using our standard router test process with the router loaded with v1.0.0.52 firmware. Table 4 summarizes the results and includes the ASUS RT-AC87U/R for comparison.

The Maximum Simultaneous Connection value happens to be the highest in this group. But all four values were limited by the test technique we use, which isn't reliable above 30,000 sessions.

Test Description NETGEAR R7500 ASUS RT-AC87
WAN - LAN 749.7 Mbps 787.1 Mbps
LAN - WAN 814.2 Mbps 807.7 Mbps
Total Simultaneous 1501.7 Mbps 1392 Mbps
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 42,122 36,805
Firmware Version v1.0.0.52 3.0.0.4.376_2044
Table 4: Routing throughput

The IxChariot unidirectional composite plot below shows periodic spikes up to peak speeds near 950 Mbps for both down and uplink.

Routing throughput unidirectional summary

Routing throughput unidirectional summary

The simultaneous up/downlink benchmark plot shows lower throughput in the first 10 seconds or so, most likely due to IxChariot's Nagle's algorithm implementation. Once that settles down, throughput use is fairly even for awhile, then diverges with uplink traffic favored over downlink. In all, the R7500 appears to have pretty beefy routing.

NRouting throughput bidirectional summary

Routing throughput bidirectional summary

Wireless Performance

The RT-AC87 was tested using the new V8 Wireless test process, which has reduced 5 GHz band range from the V7 process. While many products made it all the way out to 45 dB attenuation without disconnecting in the V7 process, most products don't make it past 39 dB in the V8 process. So use the Test version filters in the Charts and especially in the Rankers when doing product research. All wireless testing was done using v1.0.0.52 firmware.

In keeping with NETGEAR's standard practice, the R7500 is not Wi-Fi Certified at this time. NETGEAR doesn't allow Wi-Fi Certification to be an obstacle to selling product, but gets it done eventually.

The R7500 defaults to Up to 600 Mbps mode and Auto channel selection in 2.4 GHz and Up to 1733 Mbps mode and Channel 153 in 5 GHz upon power-up, enabling maximum link rates for the few devices that can take advantage of them. NETGEAR doesn't provide separate channel bandwidth and 802.11 mode settings, instead combining both into the settings above. So the R7500 defaults to auto 20/40 MHz bandwidth mode in 2.4 GHz and auto 20/40/80 MHz mode in 5 GHz. Unique SSID's for each band are also assigned so that you can connect your client to the desired band.

For 2.4 GHz, Up to 54 Mbps can be set to allow only 802.11b/g link rates and Up to 289 Mbps is what you'd use to force 20 MHz bandwidth. For 5 GHz, the other mode settings of Up to 347 Mbps and Up to 800 Mbps are referenced, but unexplained in the User Manual. NETGEAR told me, however, that they represent 20 MHz and 40 MHz bandwidth mode respectively with 11n/ac 802.11 modes supported.

I ran a simple WPS pushbutton test that successfully connected my Windows 8.1 client with an WPA2/AES link. I didn't check 20/40MHz coexistence, but will note that NETGEAR provides an Enable 20/40 MHz Coexistence control in the Advanced Setup > Wireless Settings that is checked by default. I'm not a fan of the ability to force 40 MHz mode and stomp on neighboring networks, but apparently it's allowed.

For throughput testing, the router was first reset to factory defaults, then set to channel 6 and mode set to Up to 289 Mbps for 2.4 GHz. The 5 GHz radio was set to channel 153 and Up to 1733 Mbps mode set to enable 802.11ac link rates. The NETGEAR R7000 in bridge mode now used as our standard test client was connected using WPA2/AES encryption. This means that the profile data in the charts is for three stream operation.

Our standard practice with the new testbed is to center the router under test's antennas on the turntable, both front-to-back and side-to-side in the chamber. The chamber antennas are also centered on the turntable (front-to-back of chamber). This method is intended to keep maximum distance between the router under test and chamber antennas. The photo below shows the R7500 in the test chamber

R7500 in test chamber

R7500 in test chamber

Note the angled position of the router's antennas. My initial results produced link rates much lower than I usually see with very unstable throughput. When I fed these results back to NETGEAR they ran experiments and suggested that the antennas be angled. This was to compensate for the low path loss (high signal level) of the chamber test. Note that the suggested antenna position is straight up for the mid to high path loss (mid to low signal level) conditions experienced in normal use.

The Benchmark Summary below shows the average of all wireless throughput measurements made over the tested attenuation range. Since the 2.4 GHz radio is the same found in AC1900 routers, it's fair to compare its results against products in that class. Comparison with AC1900 (and AC1750) routers in 5 GHz is fair too, since the AC1900 client limits maximum link rates to 1300 Mbps.

NETGEAR R7500 Benchmark Summary

NETGEAR R7500 Benchmark Summary

That said, I pulled all the retested AC1900 routers, plus the ASUS RT-AC87U/R and NETGEAR R8000 into one chart of 2.4 GHz average throughput below. The R7500 sits at the bottom of the downlink chart, but next to top for uplink.

2.4 GHz average throughput comparison

2.4 GHz average throughput comparison

The 5 GHz average throughput comparison finds the R7500 closer to the bottom than top for downlink and again at the very bottom for uplink. Not impressive performance at all.

5 GHz average throughput comparison

5 GHz average throughput comparison

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