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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Features

There are no surprises, or omissions, in the Wireless-General screens. WPS is supported and enabled on 2.4 GHz by default. You can disable it, but you can't enable it on 5 GHz. You can join the BC in a WDS-based bridge on either band, but only if you want to also allow STAs to also connect to the far end of the bridge; the AP Mode selector offers only "Hybrid" mode. Note that Router, AP and Media Bridge modes are also available via the Administration > Operation Mode screen.

Wireless
ClassAC2600
BandBoth
# of 2.4 GHz streams4
# of 5 GHz streams4
# of Radios2
Radio 12.4 GHz: Intel PSB83514M + unidentified 2.4 GHz PA/FE (x4)
Radio 25 GHz: Intel PSB83524M + unidentified 5 GHz PA/FE (x4)
FCC IDMSQ-RTHK00
Antennainternal dual-band dipole (x4)
Antenna Upgradeable
N
ConnectorN/A
WPS
Y
RADIUS
Y
MU-MIMO
N
Mesh
N
Wireless Bridge
Y
Schedule
Y
SSID #2
DFS
N
NotesAiMesh not supported

Wi-Fi general features

Wi-Fi general features

The "Professional" tabs offer most of the controls you're accustomed to seeing on ASUS routers, including Airtime Fairness and Roaming Assistant (both default disabled). I enabled Roaming Assistant in the 2.4 GHz screenshot to expose the single RSSI level control. There is no MU-MIMO disable for 5 GHz because, unlike Phicomm's K3C, the Blue Cave doesn't support MU-MIMO. I'm surprised, however, to not see the beamforming disables usually provided.

Wi-Fi professional features

Wi-Fi professional features

The other obvious omission is the option to set a single SSID and enable band steering. And for those AiMesh fans out there, Blue Cave don't play that.

Storage Performance

Our standard router storage test procedure was used to measure file copy throughput for FAT32 and NTFS volumes connected via USB 3.0 only; there is no USB 2.0 connector. Media serving was first disabled and Reducing USB 3.0 interference was disabled to ensure USB 3.0 operation.

The Blue Cave placed dead last for write and next-to-last for read. Results were about the same for FAT32.

USB 3.0/NTFS storage performance comparison

USB 3.0/NTFS storage performance comparison

Routing Performance

The BC was loaded with 3.0.1.4.383_19145-g19dd15f firmware and tested with our Revision 10 router test process. The results are shown aside the RT-AC86U for comparison.

Updated 4/11/18 - Routing throughput retested

These are retested results. Initial results posted turned out to be with NAT acceleration accidentally disabled due to a UI bug. I found that you must reboot the router after changing the NAT Acceleration (LAN > Switch Control) control. If you don't reboot, the control will appear to not have changed, but the mode, in fact, will have changed.

Anyway, these new results are with NAT Acceleration set to its default Auto setting.

Test Description ASUS Blue Cave ASUS RT-AC86U
WAN - LAN Throughput (Mbps) 941 938
LAN - WAN Throughput (Mbps) 941 941
HTTP Score - WAN to LAN (%) 34.5 57.1
HTTP Score - LAN to WAN (%) 34 57.3
Bufferbloat Score- Down Avg. 29 575
Bufferbloat Score- Down Max. 0 446
Bufferbloat Score- Up Avg. 416 529
Bufferbloat Score- Up Max. 312 388
CTF Score (%) 22.5 99.1
Firmware Version 3.0.1.4.383_19145-g19dd15f 3.0.0.4.382_18219-g76de09e
Table 2: Routing throughput

iperf3 results are right at the max, as you'd expect with any current generation router. HTTP throughput scores with largest filesize are fine. But both the Phicomm K3C and Blue Cave seem to struggle handling smaller filesizes.

HTTP Score comparison

HTTP Score comparison
Plot key file size: [A] 2 KB, [B] 10 KB, [C] 108 KB and [D] 759 KB file

Bufferbloat performance isn't as bad as the relatively low scores would indicate. The downlink average score equates to 35 ms, which is thrown off by one 2001 ms maximum measurement that yields the rounded down 0 score. Most downlink latencies measured around 2 ms. Average uplink bufferbloat was right around 2 ms.

With NAT Acceleration properly engaged, individually enabling all AiProtection features, DoS protection or Parental Control category filtering didn't reduce throughput at all. However, disabling NAT acceleration dropped throughput to the 231/212 Mbps previously seen, which resulted in a 23% score.

So routing performance, now properly measured, seems in line with other current generation routers.

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