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Wireless Reviews

Routing Performance

Routing performance for the WZR-D1800H using our standard test method is summarized in Table 3. Ver.1.86 firmware was used for the test.

Test Description WZR-D1800H
WAN - LAN 566 Mbps
LAN - WAN 590 Mbps
Total Simultaneous 590 Mbps
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 34,925
Firmware Version Ver.1.86
Table 3: Routing throughput

Figure 7 shows the composite IxChariot plot for the three routing performance benchmarks, where relatively high variation makes it tough to see each test individually. The main thing is that there are no big dropouts that would indicate routing hiccups. The simultaneous sessions test maxed out at our 34,925 session test limit.

Routing throughput

Figure 7: Routing throughput

I'm sure there will be whiners that the D1800H doesn't have Gigabit routing throughput to go along with its Gigabit wireless speed claims. But as we'll see shortly, those high link rates are just bait to attract suckers that don't know any better. As I keep saying, 500 Mbps of routing juice is plenty to handle most users' needs. Buying higher throughput than your ISP provides doesn't provide any tangible benefit.

Storage Performance

I ran quick Windows filecopy tests using the standard NAS testbed to the D1800H with our standard Iomega UltraMax Pro drive configured in RAID 0 and formatted in FAT32 and XFS using the router's built-in format feature.. I pulled results from a few other high-end routers into Table 4.

  WZR-D1800H RT-N66U WNDR4500 E4200V2 EA4500
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 7.3 10 9.2 9.8
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 11.8 12 11.6 21.6
XFS Write (MBytes/s) 8.4 - - -
XFS Read (MBytes/s) 8.7 - - -
Table 4: File copy throughput

Since the D1800H is the only router supporting XFS, I don't have figures for the other routers. But the results show there isn't a performance advantage to be had from using XFS.

Best throughput was with FAT32 reads of almost 12 MB/s, which is in line with all the other routers listed except for Cisco's Linksys E4200v2 / EA4500. FAT32 writes lag a bit behind the competitors, but the difference is such that you probably wouldn't notice in real-world use.

Wireless Performance - Draft 802.11ac

This product has been retested with the Rev 7 wireless test process. See this article for the results.

So far, I've only been able to test same-room (Location A) performance with the D1800H and WLI-H4-D1300 bridge linked as a pair using WPA2/AES encryption. Router and bridge were in the same room about 10 feet apart with no other wireless networks operating.

The bridge and router ship configured to automatically establish a 5 GHz band connection between them using the draft 11ac 80 MHz bandwidth mode when you use the AOSS buttons on the front, so that's what I did. I logged in afterward to confirm that things were linked as expected. Note that the bridge ships with a default IP of 1.1.1.1, so you'll need to set a client to that IP range to log in and change it so that you can access its settings.

Since I really wanted to check on what was happening, I fired up a wi-spy DBx with Chanalyzer Pro that the folks at MetaGeek were kind enough to provide when I stopped by to see them at Interop last week. I then started an IxChariot throughput script blasting away and took the screenshot in Figure 8.

Draft 802.11ac devouring 5 GHz spectrum

Figure 8: Draft 802.11ac devouring 5 GHz spectrum

The "waterfall" views to the left and below the spectral plot clearly show channels 36, 40, 44 and 48 in use. Since Buffalo only enables access to nine channels out of the possible 24 in the 5 GHz band (36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165), this means that only two draft 11ac networks can share the same airspace and not compete for bandwidth.

Which brings us to the real question, how fast does draft 11ac go? I started up IxChariot with a single stream and got 125 Mbps down and 117 Mbps up. To put these numbers in context, however, I turned to the Router Charts database. The fastest approved-standard Wi-Fi gear is three-stream N. So I generated charts in 5 GHz, 40 MHz bandwidth mode for everything we've tested so far, selecting the Maximum value filter.

Figure 9 shows downlink results, with the Cisco Linksys EA3500 coming up on top at 105 Mbps—20 Mbps lower than the D1800H.

Three stream N product downlink throughput - 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode

Figure 9: Three stream N product downlink throughput - 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode

Figure 10 shows the uplink comparison, with the ASUS RT-N66U "Dark Knight" topping the chart at 136 Mbps, almost 20 Mbps faster than the Buffalo! The EA3500 at 121 Mbps also beats the Buffalo, but by not as wide a margin.

Three stream N product uplink throughput - 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode

Figure 10: Three stream N product downlink throughput - 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode

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