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802.11ac Wi-Fi Router Testing: Interference And Workloads

How We Tested

Test Hardware: Client #1
ProcessorsAMD FX-8150 (Zambezi) 3.6GHz (18 * 200MHz), Socket AM3+, 8MB Shared L3, Turbo Core enabled, Power-savings enabled
MotherboardAsus Crosshair V Formula (Socket AM3+) AMD 990FX/SB950 Chipset, BIOS 1703
MemoryG.Skill 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600, F3-12800CL9Q2-32GBZL @ DDR3-1600 at 1.5V
StoragePatriot Wildfire 256GB, SATA 6Gb/s
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB
Power SupplyPC Power & Cooling Turbo-Cool 850W
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Professional 64-bit
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst Release 12.10
Test Hardware: Client #2 (Asus N56V Notebook)
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-3720QM (Ivy Bridge) 2.6GHz (26 * 100MHz), LGA 2011, 12MB Shared L3, Hyper-Threading enabled, Turbo Boost enabled, Power-savings enabled
MemoryHyundai 8GB (2 x 4GB) PC3-12800, HMT351S6CFR8C-PB @ 1.5V
StorageSeagate ST9750420AS 750GB, SATA 3Gb/s
GraphicsNvidia GeForce GT 630M
Power SupplyAsus ADP-120ZB
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Professional 64-bit
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriverNvidia Driver 290.47
Test Hardware: Server (Unmodeled AMD Prototype Sample)
ProcessorsAMD A10-4600M (Trinity) 2.3GHz (23 * 100MHz), Socket FS1r2, 2 x 2MB Shared L2, Turbo Core enabled, Power-savings enabled
MotherboardTBD
MemoryMicron 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333, 8KTF25664HZ-1G4M1 @ 1.35V
StorageSamsung 830 128GB SSD
GraphicsAMD Radeon HD 7660G
Power SupplyTBD
System Software And Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
DirectXDirectX 11
Graphics DriverAMD Catalyst Release 12.10

We conducted three basic tests. First, we created a 2GB folder containing hundreds of MP3, EXE and stray work document files. This was used to test transfer throughput speeds in both directions. Next, we turned to the networking test module in PassMark’s PerformanceTest 8 suite. Our primary performance focus, as usual, rested on Ixia’s IxChariot. Specifically, we ran two of IxChariot’s built-in scripts. Unless otherwise noted, we transferred 100 records with the High-Performance TCP Throughput script and 1000 records with the UDP Throughput script.

We will further explain the tests as we go in the following pages, but first a word about selecting a “winner” for each benchmark. In many cases, we did not pick the fastest time as the automatic victor. When it comes to network traffic, especially the wireless traffic so often used for media streaming, you actually care more about the slowest time than the fastest. It doesn’t matter how fast your data is coming in when all you’re trying to do is maintain 30 frames per second. But if your stream throughput drops to the point that you begin to drop frames or pause to buffer, then you’ve got a real problem. Our bias was to weight results toward average sustained throughput. In cases where two average scores were very close, though, we generally let the slowest recorded speed influence our decision.