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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

The SBR-AC1900P was tested with our new Revision 9 wireless test process with 1.0.4-G00 version firmware. Channel 6 and 20 MHz B/W mode was set for 2.4 GHz and Channel 40 and 80 MHz B/W mode was set for 5 GHz. The router was positioned in the test chamber as shown in the photo below.

SBR-AC1900P in test chamber

SBR-AC1900P in test chamber

We now have three other AC1900 routers tested with the new process, the D-Link DIR-879 and retests of the NETGEAR R7000 and ASUS RT-AC68U. The Arris doesn't do too badly for 2.4 GHz throughput with all measured points averaged, coming in right after the ASUS RT-AC68U with 76 Mbps downlink and 60 Mbps up.

2.4 GHz average throughput comparison

2.4 GHz average throughput comparison

5 GHz averages show the Arris in the same position for downlink averaging 218 Mbps, but dropping down a position for uplink at 141 Mbps. Averages can be deceiving, however. So we'll look at the throughput vs. attenuation plots to dig deeper.

5 GHz average throughput comparison

5 GHz average throughput comparison

The 2.4 GHz downlink throughput vs. attenuation comparison plot provides a better look at performance specifics. Note the SBR-AC1900P disconnects at 39 dB of attenuation, far before the others. So its average throughput is misleading because it is averaging fewer points, especially the lower values the other three products' averages include. The NETGEAR and ASUS routers are better performers because they both start with higher throughput, maintain it longer and stay connected longer.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 2.4 GHz uplink plot again shows the Arris disconnecting first and tracking very closely with the D-Link DIR-879, which stays connected longer.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 5 GHz downlink profile shows the Arris again disconnecting first, although not extremely so. Throughput tracks fairly closely with the NETGEAR R7000 through most of the tested points.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

For 5 GHz uplink, the SBR-AC1900P again disconnects first and tracks the D-Link DIR-879 very closely.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

Maximum Wireless Throughput

Since throughput vs. attenuation plots are now done with a 2x2 STA, we now use the Ixia Veriwave that can emulate up to 4x4 ac devices. The results posted are an average of 10 one minute test runs.

2.4 GHz results show all four products in a fairly tight range. Note maximum theoretical throughput reported by the Veriwave for these tests (both up and downlink) is 355 Mbps.

2.4 GHz Maximum Wireless Throughput comparison

2.4 GHz Maximum Wireless Throughput comparison

Throughput spread is greater for 5 GHz, more notably on uplink. The Arris basically ties the ASUS on downlink and ranks second for uplink.

5 GHz Maximum Wireless Throughput comparison

5 GHz Maximum Wireless Throughput comparison

In all, the SBR-AC1900P's weak spot appears to be 2.4 GHz range. The odd antenna placement noted earlier could be a contributing factor.

Why No Router Ranking?

With the major changes to our router test methodology, the ranking criteria also must change. Unfortunately, the current version of the Ranker supports only one set of ranking criteria per product class. We're hard at work on a completely revamped Charts system that will support multiple sets of ranking criteria and test data that will make everything right again. Please bear with us in the meantime.

Closing Thoughts

At $200, the SBR-AC1900P has to have something unique to compete in a mature wireless router category (AC1900) with plenty of good options costing $50 or more less. Arris is banking that something is the built-in G.hn powerline technology, which we haven't covered in this review. So final judgement will have to wait until we look at its companion wired and wireless extenders.

In the meantime, if you're looking for a top-performing AC1900 router and don't care about G.hn, the SBR-AC1900P isn't it. The NETGEAR R7000 or ASUS RT-AC68U are still the ones to beat and will leave more money in your pocket, too.

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