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Wireless Reviews

Performance - more

Group 2 contains the four lowest-ranked products. The Edimax disconnected so early (yes, I retested it multiple times), the data points from 21 to 39 dB had to be zero-filled. Otherwise, the ranker would have skipped the 2.4 GHz range ranking, which uses the 39 dB measurement point for 2.4 GHz. (5 GHz range ranking uses the 30 dB value.) This would have incorrectly ranked the product higher. I also had to zero-fill the last point for the NETGEAR WAC505 so it would be included for range ranking. It also tracked below the D-Link and Edimax on this benchmark.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 2

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 2

For 2.4 GHz uplink, the Edimax again starts out strong, but hits a wall early when it disconnects. The NETGEAR once again tracks below the other products, except for Edimax, throughout most of the test run. I had to zero-fill two points for the NETGEAR in this benchmark, too.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 2

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 2

The Edimax looks like a totally different product in the 5 GHz downlink benchmark, running along with the D-Link throughout the plot. The Open Mesh and NETGEAR never achieve the throughput the others show, even with strong signals.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 2

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 2

The Open Mesh A40 gets even worse for 5 GHz uplink, but the NETGEAR does not. I explained the reason for the A40's behavior in the Open Mesh review; lower link rates. The Edimax CAP1200 does quite well in this benchmark.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 2

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation - Group 2

Peak Wireless Throughput

For our peak wireless performance tests, the octoScope Pals are configured as 4x4 AC devices and left to negotiate their best connection, with 10 dB of attenuation applied on 2.4 GHz. The latter is necessary so the 2.4 GHz Pal isn't overloaded. These tests are weighted to account for only 10% of the ranking score, 5% each for 2.4 and 5 GHz. All tested APs are shown in these charts.

2.4 GHz Peak Wireless Throughput comparison

2.4 GHz Peak Wireless Throughput comparison

The interesting thing in these charts is that both 3x3 APs (Open Mesh A60 / Ubiquiti UAP-AC-PRO) aren't always at the top of each chart. The NETGEAR WAC505's results are surprising, given its poor showing with a two-stream client.

5 GHz Peak Wireless Throughput comparison

5 GHz Peak Wireless Throughput comparison

I don't pay much attention to these benchmarks, since you're unlikely to encounter these bandwidths in everyday use. But the numbers show what a 2x2 AC connection is capable of with a good client and high signal level.

Closing Thoughts

I suppose it shouldn't be a complete surprise that TP-Link's EAP225 turned out to be the top performer, since the company has a history of producing routers with good wireless performance that are priced well below the competition. If you're looking to add an Ethernet-connected AP to beef up your wireless LAN, the EAP225 is worth a try. It's both cheaper than the Ubiquiti UAP-AC-Lite and you can set it up and manage it via web browser.

If you're looking to set up a larger WLAN with more than a few APs, other APs might be a better choice. Jim Salter's upcoming review will provide better insight into making that choice.

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