The AC15 was tested using our Version 8 Wireless test process with V15.03.1.10_EN firmware loaded. The image below shows the AC15 inside the wireless test chamber. The router was laid down for testing because its normal upright position would have put its antennas above our chamber antennas. Previous experience has shown this negatively affects results.
Tenda AC15 in the Small Net Builder wireless test chamber
The Benchmark Summary below shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations. Here we see the same performance results for storage and routing performance that were presented in comparative tables and images above. We'll drill down on the wireless performance in the Throughput vs. Attenuation charts below.
Tenda AC15 Benchmark Summary
Our throughput vs. attenuation plots were generated comparing the Tenda with the same three other AC1900 class routers used throughout this review: the Linksys EA6900; NETGEAR R7000 and TP-LINK Archer C9.
For the 2.4 GHz downlink test, the AC15 started out with a fairly large advantage and held it until about 27dB of attenuation. At about 33 dB, it dropped slightly below the plots of the three, but still held its connection out through 60 dB of attenuation. Only the NETGEAR R7000 still had a connection at 63dB.
For 2.4 GHz Uplink, the AC15 started lower than the other three routers and stayed that through most of the tested range. The NETGEAR held a clear advantage over the other three routers from about 30 dB of attenuation out through the end of the test at 60 dB. For both 2.4 GHz tests, the slopes of the plots was very similar.
2.4 GHz Uplink and Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation
For the 5 GHz downlink tests, with the exception of the Archer C9, all of the other routers started out the test above 500 Mbps. The AC15 dropped below the other three at 12dB and stayed below the other routers for the balance of the test.
For 5 GHz uplink, the AC15 started essentially tied with the Linksys EA6900 but then tracked lower than the other three products, but with the same slope. Along with the NETGEAR R7000 and the Linksys EA6900, the AC15 dropped the connection at 42 dB of attenuation - one test before the end of the range. As with the downlink tests, only the TP-LINK C9 remained connected at 42 dB of attenuation.
5 GHz Uplink and Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation
The Router Ranker calculated a total rank of #8 for the Tenda AC15. However, if you sort the ranker by price (right), the Tenda AC15 is the cheapest AC1900 classs router we've tested.
AC1900 class routers using Revision 8 testing sorted by Total NAS Rank and price
The performance summary below shows a category performance comparison of the AC15 and the top-ranked NETGEAR R7000.
Performance Summary Comparison
As you would expect from the benchmark summary above, the Tenda AC15 had decent category scores for routing performance and Max simultaneous connections. But the category scores for wireless performance trailed the NETGEAR R7000 for all categories except for 2.4 GHz Max. Throughput.
So, sure, the AC15 isn't as good as some top-ranked routers. On the other hand, it's not as bad as some of its more expensive competitors either. Comparing the AC15 to the TP-LINK / Google OnHub and ASUS RT-AC68P shows it holds its own with the ASUS and outperforms the OnHub in three out of four benchmarks.
Wireless profile comparison
Our key reservation in recommending the AC15 is that Tenda is relatively unknown in the U.S. But they have a California office and even U.S. phone support with a number prominently displayed on a card that comes in the product box and is listed on Tenda's website.
So, all things considered, the Tenda AC15 is a pretty good value in an AC1900 class router. It may not have all the features on your "must have" checklist and it's not going to eliminate all your Wi-Fi dead spots (what router will?). But it has enough features to satisfy folks who just want to install a router and never log into its admin interface again and a cheap way to move up to the benefits an AC router can bring to most any WLAN. It's can also be a cost effective way to add an AP to your network. In fact, I may replace my old "N" AP with it.