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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Features

You get a decent set of wireless controls including transmit power adjustment of 100, 75, 50 and 25%, radio disables and 802.11 mode, bandwidth and channel selection. The main network supports WPA and WPA2 Home and Enterprise (RADIUS) wireless security and also WEP if you need it. WPS via PIN and pushbutton is also supported.

SBR-AC1900P 2.4 GHz defaults

SBR-AC1900P 2.4 GHz defaults

There are three guest networks per radio, with a surprisingly complete set of controls for each, including separate DHCP server and subnet. The Wireless > Media menu is easy to miss, but contains band steering and Airtime fairness enables that can come in handy for tuning wireless performance.

The Scan Wireless APs button does just that, coming up with a survey of other networks it finds. You'll have to take action yourself on the results; nothing else is done with the scan as far as I can tell.

SBR-AC1900P AP scan

SBR-AC1900P AP scan

Other wireless settings screens referred to above are tucked into the gallery.

Storage Performance

The SBR-AC1900P's storage performance testing did not go smoothly for USB 3.0. I could not get the usual three test runs to complete with either FAT32 or NTFS formatted shares. Many of the files would be copied, but then the share would disappear during a large file copy. Disconnecting and reconnecting the USB drive would bring back the share. This problem was unique to USB 3.0; 2.0 tests ran fine. So I suspect something is wrong with the CPU's storage handling priority.

Table 2 compares USB 2.0 performance vs. the Linksys WRT1900ACS, which remains the top storage performer for AC1900 class routers. Reads are comparable, but writes are not.

  Arris SBR-AC1900P Linksys WRT1900ACS
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 13 33
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 31 30
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 23 33
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 32 31
Table 2: USB 2.0 File copy throughput (MBytes/sec)

Table 3 compares USB 3.0 performance. As mentioned above, the Arris' results represent one test run vs. the averaged three for the Linksys. Writes are again the weak spot.

  Arris SBR-AC1900P Linksys WRT1900ACS
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 20 85
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 55 95
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 41 106
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 71 96
Table 3: USB 3.0 File copy throughput (MBytes/sec)

Routing Performance

The SBR-AC1900P was tested with our new V4 router test process, loaded with 1.0.4-G00 firmware. You can download an Excel test summary that contains all functional and performance test results.

Table 4 summarizes the performance test results. So we have something to compare, I retested two top AC1900 class routers, NETGEAR's R7000 Nighthawk and ASUS' RT-AC68U.

Both TCP/IP and UDP unidirectional performance for all products are near the limit of the CDRouter testbed. This QA Cafe article further explains CDRouter's theoretical maximum application level throughput. The values include protocol overhead, which is why they're lower than 1000 Mbps.

The Arris turns in the best total simultaneous throughput results for TCP/IP and is essentially tied with the NETGEAR for UDP. The ASUS is the laggard, falling to near unidirectional rates for TCP/IP and 700 Mbps or so behind on UDP.

Test Description Arris SBR-AC1900P NETGEAR R7000 ASUS RT-AC68U
WAN - LAN TCP (Mbps) 941 940 934
LAN - WAN TCP (Mbps) 941 940 936
Total Simultaneous TCP (Mbps) 1752 1548 851
TCP Connection Pass Pass Pass
WAN - LAN UDP (Mbps) 950 949 947
LAN - WAN UDP (Mbps) 950 949 948
Total Simultaneous UDP (Mbps) 1864 1886 1130
UDP Connection Fail Pass Fail
Table 4: Routing performance comparison

The V4 router test process does away with the Maximum Simultaneous connection test. Instead, we test whether the router can open 3,000 TCP/IP connections and then 3,000 UDP connections. Each connection is verified as it is established and verified again after all 3,000 connections have been opened. This test is tougher to pass than the Maximum Simultaneous connection, because connections must remain open longer.

The SBR-AC1900P passed the TCP connection test, but failed the UDP test. All 3,000 UDP ports were opened, but failed the second "still open" check at the end of the 2.5 minute long test. The NETGEAR was the only router in the group to pass both connection tests.

The Functional Score of 88.6% equates to 28 failed functional tests. Key takeaways from the failed tests are:

  • Deprecated HTTPs SSL protocols were not blocked
  • Hairpin NAT translation for TCP/IP and UDP are not supported
  • Triggered port forwarding tests failed (see below)
  • Forwarded ports were not working

I'm finding most products, including the Arris, can't pass the CDRouter triggered port test, which I've set up to require a single port and port range to be opened. The port scan test failures indicated that the ports that were forwarded, TCP 21 and UDP 988, were not forwarding traffic.

The SBR-AC1900P had mixed results on the DNS tests. Failed tests indicating weaknesses in handling hostnames, but WAN renumbering tests passed, indicating the router should stay connected when its ISP-assigned IP address changes.

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Over In The Forums

Dear FriendsI am happy owner of ASUS RT-AC86U and I have installed Asuswrt-Merlin firmware 384.9. I would like to ask you some questions:1. I use DDNS...
I use an Asus RT-AC86U and have a VPN configured with kill switch enabled. A few weeks ago, the VPN server the router was connected to had connectivit...
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HiI have currently a RT-AC87U and a RT-AC66U, where the latter is a accesspoint connected through wire to the main router. I use PIA VPN and want more...
Hi, I am new to Merlin firmware. Used to have RT-N16 on Asus firmware which was working pretty well for almost 10 years. Now, with new AC88U flashed w...

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