We tested storage performance using our standard router storage test process. Of the two routers in this review, only the Totolink A2004NS had a USB 2.0 port. The Netis WF2780 didn't have a USB port, so the tests couldn't be run.
For comparison, I included test results of the #2 ranked NETGEAR R6220 from Part 1 of the AC1200 Class router roundup. In reviewing the benchmark charts, I discovered that the Totolink had the worst storage performance of any of the AC1200 class routers in either Part 1 or Part 2 of our roundup.
|Netis WF2780||Totolink A2004NS||NETGEAR R6220|
|FAT32 Write (MBytes/s)||N/A||7.7||28.3|
|FAT32 Read (MBytes/s)||N/A||3.6||11.4|
|NTFS Write (MBytes/s)||N/A||5.7||30.1|
|NTFS Read (MBytes/s)||N/A||2.0||21.9|
USB 2.0 File copy throughput (MBytes/sec)
Updated 2/25/16 - Router performance retest due to measurement process error
We tested routing performance using our current Router test process. Each product was tested using the firmware indicated in the table below. All three routers have similar performance in the unidirectional tests. But the NETGEAR distinguishes itself with higher simultaneous throughput. At 4096 Simultaneous sessions, the Netis has the fewest number of supported sessions of any product tested with our current test process. Any of the AC1200 class routers reviewed in Part 1 or 2 have more than sufficient routing capacity for the majority of ISPs.
|Netis WF2780||Totolink A2004NS||NETGEAR R6220|
|WAN - LAN (Mbps)||730||731||743|
|Total Simultaneous (Mbps)||899||903||1411|
|Maximum Simultaneous Connections||4096||45672||8192|
Comparative routing performance
Each router in this roundup was tested using our Version 8 Wireless test process using the firmware version shown in the table above. The router was first reset to factory defaults and Channel 6 was set for 2.4 GHz and Channel 153 for 5 GHz. 20 MHz B/W mode was set for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz was set in 80 MHz bandwidth mode.
The Benchmark Summary below shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations. The Netis held a slight edge over the Totolink for the 2.4 GHz Up/Down through (99.5 vs. 95.7 Mbps) but the Totolink had about a 10% advantage over the Netis for the 5 GHz Up/Down tests. The NETGEAR R6220, included from Part 1 of the AC1200 roundup for comparison, outperformed both routers in this review on every average wireless benchmark in the chart below.
Benchmark Summary for Netis WF2780, Totolink A2004NS and NETGEAR R6220
2.4 GHz Throughput vs. Attenuation
The composite image below shows the Throughput vs. Attenuation plots for 2.4 GHz uplink and 2.4 GHz downlink profiles.
Looking first at the uplink profile, the NETGEAR R6220 starts out ahead of both routers in this review and stays "above and to the right" (better) throughout the entire test. The plot for the Totolink A2004NS stayed neatly tucked in between the top performing NETGEAR and the poorer performing Netis. Both the Totolink and the Netis dropped their connections with 3dB less attenuation than the NETGEAR. The Netis also dropped off significantly at 45 dB of attenuation to 3 Mbps. At that attenuation, the NETGEAR and Totolink had 34 and 29 Mbps throughput respectively.
For the 2.4 GHz downlink profile, again, the story is pretty much the same. However, the Totolink and the Netis router tracked each other much more closely than on the Uplink tests. Both routers dropped their connections with 3dB less attenuation than the NETGEAR.
2.4 GHz Uplink and Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation
Throughput vs. Attenuation - 5 GHz
The composite image below shows the Throughput vs. Attenuation plots for 5 GHz uplink and 5 GHz downlink profiles.
For the 5 GHz uplink profile, the NETGEAR R6220 held a clear advantage over both other routers - especially with low attenuation / strong signal. With 0 dB of attenuation the R6220 achieved 366 Mbps. The Totolink A2004NS had 260 Mbps of throughput and the Netis WF2780 had 221 Mbps. However, for this test, both the NETGEAR and the Netis lost connection before the Totolink.
The story is the same for the 5 GHz downlink profile. The NETGEAR starts out with a clear advantage at 0 dB of attenuation and holds that advantage throughout the range. The Totolink and Netis had almost identical results with their plots on top of each other for the bulk of the tests. However, the Totolink was able to hold on to its connection for an additional 6 dB of attenuation, though its throughput was 4 Mbps at 33 dB and 3 Mbps at 36 dB of attenuation.
Note: Even though the NETGEAR's 5 GHz performance looks good compared to the performance of the Totolink and Netis routers, in Part 1 of the AC1200 roundup, I concluded that the NETGEAR was the worst performing of the three we tested. I included the NETGEAR R6220 for comparison in this roundup because it is priced similarly to the other two, and like the Totolink, has a USB 2.0 port.
I decided not to include the Linksys EA6350 because it was significantly more expensive and has a USB 3.0 port. I didn't include the top performing TP-LINK Archer C5 because in reality, it's an AC1750 (3X3) router that is rate limited in the 5 GHz band.
5 GHz Uplink (L) and Downlink (R) Throughput vs. Attenuation
Using the Router Ranker, I filtered for test method Revision 8 and AC1200 class routers. The list currently contains all five AC1200 class routers including the three reviewed in Part 1. Having read through the benchmark summaries and performance vs. attenuation charts, it should come as no surprise that the Totolink and Netis routers are ranked lower than the products included in Part 1.
Product Rank for AC1200 class routers using Revision 8 testing
The composite image below shows the individual category rankings for both routers in this review as well as the NETGEAR R6220. Here the #3 ranked Netis WF2780 edged out the Totolink primarily because of its routing performance. (Note: There was a tie at #2 for Total Router ranking).
Performance Ranking for Netis WF2780 (L), Totolink A2004NS (C) and NETGEAR R6220 (R)
Both the Totolink and the Netis routers are Realtek-based and use mostly the same components, so it's not too surprising that they performed similarly. The Netis router's antennas had slightly more gain (5 dBi vs. 4 dBi), but it didn't really make much difference as seen in the performance vs. attenuation charts. While both routers could have had the same feature set, Netis chose to keep it simple and Totolink chose to expose additional features and threw in a USB 2.0 port for sharing storage. But as we saw in the storage performance results, the Totolink's attached storage results were the worst of any USB-equipped AC1200 class router in either Part 1 or 2.
There's a lot of competition in the AC1200 class of routers and that has helped drive down prices and give consumers a lot of "bang for the buck". The two routers in this review were with $1.00 of each other as the review was written (Netis - $70, Totolink - $69), but prices change rapidly.
In the end, while cheap, these two routers are the lowest-ranked AC1200 routers, so really aren't a bargain. For $20 more, why wouldn't you buy the top-ranked TP-LINK Archer C5?