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Wi-Fi Router Charts

Click for Wi-Fi Router Charts

Mesh System Charts

Click for Wi-Fi Mesh System Charts

Features

The WRT3200ACM features Linksys' standard Smart Wi-Fi OS including OpenVPN support. Part 1 of the EA6500 review provides a good summary of Smart Wi-Fi's features. The WRT1900ACs review describes OpenVPN.

Smart Wi-Fi dashboard

Smart Wi-Fi dashboard

Wireless controls are fairly basic. The defaults are shown below and include unique network name (SSID) and passwords for each router. MAC address filtering can be set to allow or deny.

Wireless settings

Wireless settings

The Wireless Scheduler is pretty flexible; you just click on the grid to set desired on/off periods.

Wireless scheduler

Wireless scheduler

The Channel and Channel width selectors hold the keys to the WRT3200ACM's uniqueness. I had to do some cut-and-paste to show all available 5 GHz channels. Brackets [ ] in the Channel Width dropdown indicate restricted options. Selecting either 80 or 160 MHz bandwidth pops up an alert informing you those options aren't supported when Network Mode is Mixed. Changing the mode to 802.11ac only enables the 80 and 160 MHz channel widths.

Channel and Channel width settings

Channel and Channel width settings

Accessing Advanced Wireless Settings requires changing the admin URL end from home.html to advanced-wireless.html. Mess with these settings at your own risk. The Marvell tab holds only Transmit Beam Forming (TXBF) and TXBF 3x3 Streams Only enables; the former is default enabled, the latter is not.

Advanced wireless settings

Advanced wireless settings

Note there are no controls for 160 MHz bandwidth mode, DFS or MU-MIMO, all of which the WRT3200ACM supports. More on those later. Guest access is also supported with separate SSIDs for each band. You can limit the number of guests from 5 to 50 in 5 guest increments.

Wireless guest access

Wireless guest access

Storage Performance

The WRT3200ACM continues Linksys' tradition of topping the router storage performance benchmark charts. The summary below shows most USB 3.0 benchmarks are close to basically maxing out the capability of a Gigabit Ethernet connection.

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0 / NTFS

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0 / NTFS

Here's how the WRT3200ACM stacks up against other recently-tested products.

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0 / NTFS - Test Method 9

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0 / NTFS - Test Method 9

Our router storage test process actually didn't change from the Revision 8 test method. There's where you'll find the other WRTs topping the charts.

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0 / NTFS - Test Method 8

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0 / NTFS - Test Method 8

Routing Performance

The WRT3200ACM was loaded with 1.0.5.175944 firmware and tested with our V4 router test process. You can download an Excel test summary that contains all functional and performance test results. Table 2 summarizes the performance test results.

Test Description  
WAN - LAN TCP (Mbps) 539
LAN - WAN TCP (Mbps) 543
Total Simultaneous TCP (Mbps) 1082
TCP Connection Pass
WAN - LAN UDP (Mbps) 358
LAN - WAN UDP (Mbps) 460
Total Simultaneous UDP (Mbps) 847
UDP Connection Fail
Functional Score (%) 96.3
Table 2: Routing performance comparison

I've been using Total Simultaneous TCP/IP and UDP throughput as performance differentiators in the V4 process. The comparison charts of AC1900 class routers show the WRT3200ACM suprisingly low in the ranking. Table 2 above shows unidirectional throughput isn't particularly high either. I suspect this is due to the relatively high number of retries for the TCP/IP tests and packet loss for the UDP benchmarks.

The top-ranked D-Link DIR-879 had 23 total TCP/IP retries in the bi-directional test vs. 18,013 for the WRT3200ACM. Packet loss for the bi-directional UDP test was 50% down and 61% up for the Linksys vs. 0.01% for both directions for the D-Link. Don't go looking for these numbers in the Charts. Although they are produced by the CDRouter tests, I haven't added them to the Charts as benchmarks.

Total Simultaneous throughput comparison

Total Simultaneous throughput comparison

Most products fail the new maximum UDP connection test and pass the TCP connection test and that's what happened for the WRT3200ACM.

The Functional Score of 96.3% is very good, the best, in fact, for all routers tested so far with the new router test process. This amounts to only 9 failed tests out of 245 in the benchmark suite. The router had none of the obscure DNS test failures we typically see and it failed only one UPnP test. So while the WRT3200ACM's routing throughput may not be best in class, its routing feature set is very solid.

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