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Wireless Reviews

Storage Performance

The summary below shows all AC3200 routers we've tested with our standard procedure with USB 3.0 connection and NTFS format—the combination that should produce the highest throughput. You can get all the other benchmarks in the Router Charts.

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0

The Archer C3200 looks like it is limited to sub 30 MB/s USB 2.0 performance levels, even when using the USB 3.0 port. The D-Link DIR-890L/R and Linksys EA9200 have similar limitations.

Routing Performance

Updated 2/25/16 - Router performance retest due to measurement process error

Routing throughput was measured using our standard router test process with the router loaded with,1 v004b.0 Build 150831 Rel 48329n firmware. Table 2 summarizes the results and includes two other AC3200 class routers for comparison.

The maximum simultaneous connections did not hit our test process limit. For ranking purposes, we consider anything over 30,000 connections as equal, so the C3200 will rank lower than the D-Link and NETGEAR on that benchmark.

Test Description TP-LINK Archer C3200 D-Link DIR-890L/R NETGEAR R8000
WAN - LAN (Mbps) 821 784 806
LAN - WAN (Mbps) 797 797 782
Total Simultaneous (Mbps) 1434 1428 1392
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 26,611 33,828 34, 083
Firmware Version,1 v004b.0 Build 150831 Rel 48329n 1.03
Table 2: Routing throughput

The IxChariot unidirectional composite plot for shows typical cyclical variation between mid-to-high 700 Mbps range and peak speeds near 950 Mbps for both directions. Average WAN - LAN throughput is about 25 Mbps higher than LAN - WAN.

Archer C3200 routing throughput unidirectional summary

Archer C3200 routing throughput unidirectional summary

The simultaneous up/downlink benchmark plot shows the some battling at the beginning, due to IxChariot's Nagle's algorithm implementation. Once that settles down, the throughput is fairly stable with higher uplink vs. downlink throughput, again another artifact of our test method.

Archer C3200 routing throughput bidirectional summary

Archer C3200 routing throughput bidirectional summary

Wireless Performance

The Archer C3200 is not Wi-Fi Certified. It was tested using the Revision 8 Wireless test process with,1 v004b.0 Build 150831 Rel 48329n firmware loaded. The router comes with WPS enabled.

A Windows 8.1 notebook connected to the router's SSID prompted for WPS PIN with a pushbutton alternative. A pushbutton session quickly resulted in a WPA2/AES connection to either radio (identified by the link rate reported in the Windows connection properties). WPS can be disabled via a hidden-away control on Advanced > System Tools > System Parameters.

For performance testing, the router was first reset to factory defaults, Smart Connect disabled and unique SSIDs assigned to each radio. The 2.4 GHz radio was set to Channel 6 and 20 MHz only bandwidth mode. The "Primary" 5 GHz (low-band) radio was disabled and the "5 GHz-2" (high band) 5 GHz radio was set to Auto 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. This method is intended to keep maximum distance between the router under test and chamber antennas as the router rotates during test. Since the C3200's antennas are symmetrically arranged, the router body was centered on the chamber turntable.

The Benchmark Summary below shows a summary of the tested benchmarks. Note the wireless benchmarks represent the average of all wireless throughput measurements made over the tested attenuation range.

D-Link Archer C3200 Benchmark Summary

Archer C3200 Benchmark Summary

We'll put these results in perspective when we look at throughput vs. attenuation profiles next. Note the near-equal USB 2.0 and 3.0 storage performance results noted earlier.

The Archer C3200 is the sixth AC3200 class router reviewed to date. I chose the top-ranked D-Link DIR-890L/R and bottom-ranked Linksys EA9200 to compare throughput vs. attenuation performance. This provides a better view of best-to-worst performance and where the C3200 fits between the two.

2.4 GHz downlink performance is very similar at the start, with a slight edge for the C3200. It then falls off more quickly than the others, but stays connected out to the full 63 dB test limit.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz uplink plot shows the Archer C3200 throughput again starting its decline earlier than the other two routers. But again, it stays connected for the complete test. The upshot of all this is that it's unlikely you would see a real difference among the routers in actual use.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

Performance spreads out in the 5 GHz downlink profile. The clear loser here is the Linksys with throughput below the D-Link and TP-LINK over the entire tested range. The C3200 runs neck-and-neck with the DIR-890L/R over the tested range and disconnects last, after the 39 dB test.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

On 5 GHz uplink, the Linksys EA9200 once again turns in the lowest performance of the three. The C3200 tracks solidly between it and the D-Link and again disconnects last.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The Router Ranker placed the Archer C3200 in the #4 slot, above the TRENDnet TEW-828DRU and Linksys EA9200. The D-Link DIR-890L/R remains unchallenged in the #1 slot.

Archer C3200 Ranker Performance Summary

Archer C3200 Ranker Performance Summary

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