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Wireless Reviews

Storage Performance

Broadcom's XStream architecture is supposed to have superior storage sharing throughput. With wireless duties handed off to dedicated processors (and RAM) in each wireless radio, all the main BCM4709 processor has to do for wireless is shuttle Ethernet packets to and from the radios. This should leave it plenty of processing power for storage and internet sharing.

Our standard Startech USB 3.0 eSATA to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station [SATDOCKU3SEF] with a WD Velociraptor WD3000HLFS 300 GB drive was used to test file copy performance. The drive was formatted with FAT32 and NTFS and both USB 2.0 and 3.0 performance tested. The results were disappointing.

Table 2 summarizes USB 2.0 performance along with NETGEAR's R8000. Both products have essentially the same performance.

Product Linksys EA9200 NETGEAR R8000
Processor Broadcom BCM4709A Broadcom BCM4709A
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 15.4 18.5
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 27.6 28.9
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 27.0 27.2
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 30.0 29.0
Table 2: File copy throughput - USB 2.0 (MBytes/sec)

The EA9200's USB 3.0 results are basically the same as USB 2.0, so something is wrong. I've flagged the problem to Linksys and will retest and update when I hear back. The R8000 had no problem with the same drive, as the results in Table 3 show.

Product Linksys EA9200 NETGEAR R8000
Processor Broadcom BCM4709A Broadcom BCM4709A
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 15.5 31.9
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 28.3 73.9
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 26.4 39.3
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 28.2 73.5
Table 3: File copy throughput - USB 3.0 (MBytes/sec)

Routing Performance

Routing throughput was measured using our standard router test process with the router loaded with 1.1.5.163672 firmware. Table 4 summarizes the results and once again includes the NETGEAR R8000 for comparison. Maximum simultaneous connections did not hit our test process limit.

Test Description Linksys EA9200 NETGEAR R8000
WAN - LAN 761.6 Mbps 806.4 Mbps
LAN - WAN 776.4 Mbps 782.1 Mbps
Total Simultaneous 1381.6 Mbps 1391.8 Mbps
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 15,851 34, 083
Firmware Version 1.1.5.163672 1.0.0.90
Table 4: Routing throughput

The IxChariot unidirectional composite plot for the EA9200 shows a cyclical variation between mid 700s Mbps and peak speeds near 950 Mbps for downlink. Uplink also peaked up to the same 950 Mbps region, but only with brief spikes.

Linksys EA9200 routing throughput unidirectional summary

Linksys EA9200 routing throughput unidirectional summary

The EA9200 simultaneous up/downlink benchmark plot shows the usual battling at the beginning, due to IxChariot's Nagle's algorithm implementation. Once that settles down, the throughput battle continues with higher uplink vs. downlink throughput.

Linksys EA9200 routing throughput bidirectional summary

Linksys EA9200 routing throughput bidirectional summary

Wireless Performance

Wireless performance has been retested. New results are here.

The EA9200 is not Wi-Fi Certified. It was tested using the Revision 8 Wireless test process with 1.1.5.163672 firmware loaded. The router comes with WPS enabled on both bands. Win 7 and Win 8 client connections prompted to start WPS Pushbutton sessions, which quickly successfully completed.

Both radios come up with unique SSIDs, auto channel and auto bandwidth modes and the two 5 GHz radios configured in band steering mode. For throughput testing, the router was first reset to factory defaults, then set to channel 6 and 20 MHz only bandwidth mode for 2.4 GHz. 5 GHz band steering was turned off and the 5 GHz - 1 radio disabled.

The 5 GHz - 2 radio was set to 80 MHz channel width to enable 802.11ac link rates. Throughput tests were run on the 5 GHz -2 radio since it is the only one that supports our standard Channel 153 test channel. The NETGEAR R7000 bridge mode standard test client was connected using WPA2/AES encryption.

Our standard practice 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. Since the EA9200 normally has a backward tilt, it was propped up so the antennas were straight up and perpendicular to the turntable. The photo below shows the EA9200 in the test chamber.

EA9200 in test chamber

EA9200 in test chamber

The Benchmark Summary below shows the average of all wireless throughput measurements made over the tested attenuation range.

Linksys E9200 Benchmark Summary

Linksys E9200 Benchmark Summary

We'll put these results in perspective when we look at throughput vs. attenuation profiles next.

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