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Wireless Reviews

Storage Performance

The original RT-AC68U had relatively poor storage performance thanks to its lack of USB 3.0 connector shielding. ASUS discovered USB 3.0 activity could negatively affect 2.4 GHz radio performance, so added a Reducing USB 3.0 interference setting, which didn't seem to help.

The RT-AC1900P has shielding for both USB 2.0 and 3.0 connectors and a more powerful processor than its predecessor. Both could be factors in its much improved throughput for USB 3.0 tests. I also retested the original RT-AC68U (V1 hardware) with just-released 3.0.0.4.380-4164 firmware to see if that made a difference.

Table 1 summarizes USB 2.0 performance for the RT-AC1900P, retested RT-AC68U, original RT-AC68U and NETGEAR R7000. Aside from doubling FAT32 write throughput, the RT-AC68U's performance was unchanged. The RT-AC1900P has a slight edge in these tests. But for practical purposes, all three products are about the same.

  ASUS RT-AC1900P ASUS RT-AC68U - Retest ASUS RT-AC68U - Original NETGEAR R7000
Processor Broadcom BCM4709C0 Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4709A
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 29.2 23.2 11.8 24.8
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 31.7 27.9 24.0 27.8
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 29.5 26.9 23.7 27.9
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 31.7 28.7 24.2 27.9
Table 1: File copy throughput - USB 2.0 (MBytes/sec)

Switching to USB 3.0 results, note that the Reducing USB 3.0 interference setting was disabled for all ASUS tests. Curiously, this setting defaulted to enable in the 3.0.0.4.380_4118 firmware used for testing. This should not have been necessary due to the effectiveness of the RT-AC1900P's USB connector shielding and it unnecessarily and significantly reduces performance. I found this out during my initial USB 3.0 test runs, which produced results comparable to USB 2.0.

Table 2 shows the RT-AC1900P as the clear winner, with almost 2x the write performance of the NETGEAR. The RT-AC68U's performance doesn't seem to benefit from the newest firmware except, again, for FAT32 write.

  ASUS RT-AC1900P ASUS RT-AC68U - Retest ASUS RT-AC68U - Original NETGEAR R7000
Processor Broadcom BCM4709C0 Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4709A
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 64.8 26.4 11.7 33.4
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 74.0 28.6 21.6 57.4
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 62.6 26.8 23.6 36.8
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 74.2 27.6 24.3 57.7
Table 2: File copy throughput - USB 3.0 (MBytes/sec)

Routing Performance

The Version 4 router performance tests were run on the RT-AC1900P with 3.0.0.4.380_4118 firmware installed. Table 2 summarizes routing test results; this Excel test summary contains all functional and performance test results. Since the NETGEAR R7000 and ASUS RT-AC68U had previously been retested with the V9 wireless and V4 router test suites, I've also included their results in Table 3.

Test Description ASUS RT-AC1900P ASUS RT-AC68U NETGEAR R7000
WAN - LAN TCP (Mbps) 941 934 940
LAN - WAN TCP (Mbps) 941 936 940
Total Simultaneous TCP (Mbps) 1601 851 1548
TCP Connection Pass Pass Pass
WAN - LAN UDP (Mbps) 405 947 949
LAN - WAN UDP (Mbps) 325 948 949
Total Simultaneous UDP (Mbps) 857 1130 1886
UDP Connection Fail Fail Pass
Functional Score 92.2% 91% 89%
Table 3: Routing performance comparison

I focus on the simultaneous TCP and UDP results to compare router performance. The AC1900P outperforms the AC68U for TCP traffic, but not for UDP. UDP unidirectional traffic is no great shakes for the AC1900P, either. The gist of the results is that the AC1900P's routing performance is more like the NETGEAR R7000 than the RT-AC68U for TCP performance, but not as good as either for UDP.

The AC1900P's functional score of 92.2% ranks it toward the top of this benchmark's chart, representing 19 failing tests out of 245. It passed the triggered port forwarding tests that most routers fail. But it failed to block HTTPS connections with deprecated SSL protocols and ciphers. On the other hand, it failed fewer UPnP related tests than the R7000.

Wireless Performance

The RT-AC1900P was tested with the V9 wireless test proces with 3.0.0.4.380_4118 firmware loaded. 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. This unusual position was required because the router's normal upright position would have positioned its antennas too high for proper reception by the chamber antennas.I'll be comparing the RT-AC1900P's performance to the NETGEAR R7000 and ASUS RT-AC68U .

ASUS RT-AC1900P in test chamber

ASUS RT-AC1900P in test chamber

The Benchmark Summary below shows key wireless benchmarks for the RT-AC1900P and RT-AC68U. The "Profile" benchmarks represent the average of all test values for that benchmark to provide an overall view of comparative performance. The Maximum benchmarks were tested using the Veriwave system, which represents an idealized client. So those benchmarks tend to run higher than you may experience in real-life use.

The takeaway here is there isn't significant difference in most benchmarks. The AC1900P's largest improvement is in the 5 GHz Maximum uplink test.

Benchmark Summary - ASUS RT-AC1900P & RT-AC68U

Benchmark Summary - ASUS RT-AC1900P & RT-AC68U

Here is the Summary for the NETGEAR R7000. The average 5 GHz profile results are lower than both ASUS'.

Benchmark Summary - ASUS RT-AC1900P & RT-AC68U

Benchmark Summary - NETGEAR R7000

The 2.4 GHz downlink profile shows similar performance for all three products with the RT-AC68U having a slight advantage at lower attenuation (higher signal) levels, but turning to a disadvantage from 42 dB on. The AC1900P also disconnected earliest.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 2.4 GHz uplink plot again shows an early disconnection for the AC1900P, but higher throughput than the AC68U from the 30 dB test onward. Both ASUS' perform better than the NETGEAR through most of the test range.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

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