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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.

Now that we have storage performance benchmarks in the Router Charts, generating comparative tables is a snap. The summary below shows all AC3200 routers we've tested with our standard procedure with USB 3.0 connections and both drive formats. I'm concentrating on USB 3.0 because these routers should be capable of storage throughput in excess of what USB 2.0 can support.

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0

ASUS seems to have overcome its problems with getting good USB 3.0 storage performance, to take the lead spot with 56 MB/s NTFS writes and 87 MB/s reads with USB 3.0. Note I had to disable the Reducing USB 3.0 interference setting in the 2.4 GHz wireless "Professional" settings that is enabled by default to get these results. It looks like ASUS reaps the benefit of some Broadcom storage driver tweaking to beat NETGEAR's R8000, which had held the lead. I still don't know why Linksys' EA9200 results are so low; they never got back to me with an explanation.

Routing Performance

Routing throughput was measured using our standard router test process with the router loaded with 3.0.0.4.378_4120 firmware. Table 2 summarizes the results and includes the NETGEAR R8000 for comparison. Maximum simultaneous connections hit our test process limit, which lately seems to have moved higher. For ranking purposes, we consider anything over 30,000 connections to be equal.

Test Description ASUS RT-AC3200 NETGEAR R8000
WAN - LAN 725.9 Mbps 806.4 Mbps
LAN - WAN 790.3 Mbps 782.1 Mbps
Total Simultaneous 1417.6 Mbps 1391.8 Mbps
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 45,672 34, 083
Firmware Version 3.0.0.4.378_4120 1.0.0.90
Table 2: Routing throughput

The IxChariot unidirectional composite plot for the RT-AC3200 shows typical cyclical variation between mid 700s Mbps and peak speeds near 950 Mbps for both directions. The higher uplink throughput is consistent from product to product and likely a test method artifact.

Linksys RT-AC3200 routing throughput unidirectional summary

ASUS RT-AC3200 routing throughput unidirectional summary

The RT-AC3200 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.

ASUS RT-AC3200 routing throughput bidirectional summary

ASUS RT-AC3200 routing throughput bidirectional summary

I also measured routing throughput with the LAN > Switch Control > NAT Acceleration setting disabled. Its default has changed from enabled to Auto, so that users don't have to manually disable NAT Acceleration when they enable Adaptive QoS.

Linksys RT-AC3200 routing throughput unidirectional summary  - NAT acceleration disabled

ASUS RT-AC3200 routing throughput unidirectional summary - NAT acceleration disabled

Uni and bi directional throughput drops below 600 Mbps with NAT Acceleration disabled, which still should be plenty for most users.

ASUS RT-AC3200 routing throughput bidirectional summary - NAT acceleration disabled

ASUS RT-AC3200 routing throughput bidirectional summary - NAT acceleration disabled

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