Skip to main content

Gigabit Wireless? Five 802.11ac Routers, Benchmarked

Results: IxChariot, Across-House, 2.4 GHz

We’ll move quickly through the 2.4 GHz cross-house tests as these results largely repeat what we’ve observed previously.

Again, AirLive and Asus prove their strength in TCP testing through their minimum throughput times. AirLive in particular shows a narrow delta between minimum and maximum results, which is good. Of all the routers here, Asus emerges as the easy victor on this test, with Linksys coming in a distant second.

With UDP traffic, the story repeats. Asus is the only router we’d trust with a high-def stream, although we’d settle for the Buffalo in a pinch.

Asus 11n, hi perfTCP, Throughput, Location 3

Asus 11n, UDP, Throughput, Location 3

The difference in data patterns between our two traffic types can be striking. With 1,000 records passed using UDP, compared to 100 for TCP, one gets a better sense of where the “normal” bandwidth of UDP rests. In contrast, TCP seems much more meandering and variable.

One cool feature within IxChariot is its automatic report of how many bytes of data are lost in a given UDP communication. This is something you generally don’t see reflected in speed results. Does it matter if you see 200 Mb/s performance if only half of your data shows up? Maybe, depending on the application. This is why we took some of our long-distance data and broke out the bytes lost into separate charts.

Belkin scores 100% loss because it wouldn’t connect at this range. While not technically accurate since there was no actual data transmission, we felt it important to visually represent a worst-case.

The difference between 5.0 and 2.4 GHz is remarkable. Now we see AirLive’s adherence to prior-gen 11a, even with the assistance of beamforming, start to become a serious obstacle. Buffalo and Linksys have zero loss under 11ac, which is phenomenal.

Our situation reverses with 2.4 GHz. Buffalo and Netgear drop over half of their packets, and AirLive isn’t far behind. Only Asus manages nearly flawless reliability. This should be of particular note to users who anticipate using clients on both radio bands.