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Wireless Performance - more

Referring back to the comparative benchmark summary table above, you can see that the story is going to change for the 5 GHz downlink test. In this chart, you can see that the Edimax suffered a 63 Mbps drop in throughput at 3 dB of attenuation. It recovered at 6 db and then tracked the DIR-850L throughout the rest of the testing range. Visually, the line that's highest and the farthest to the right is the winner. Clearly, above 12 db of attenuation, the TRENDnet held an advantage over all of the other devices except at 24 dB where it was tied with the DIR-860L.

5 GHz Downlink Performance vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Downlink Performance vs. Attenuation

The story changes back to the Edimax's favor in the 5 GHz uplink test. In this test, at 0 dB of attenuation, the Edimax and the DIR-860L are virtually tied at 228 Mbps and 225 Mbps respectively. The Edimax dips slightly below the DIR-860L at 3 dB, but then outpaces all of the other devices out to 42 dB. At 45 dB, the end of the 5GHz test range, the TRENDnet holds a 37 Mbps to 23 Mbps edge over the Edimax. But at 45 dB, both of the D-Link routers had lost their connections.

5 GHz Uplink Performance vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Uplink Performance vs. Attenuation

Closing Thoughts

Of course, you can generate your own performance charts to compare different devices. I found the performance comparison between the BR-6478AC (black triangle) with the D-Link DIR-850L (blue triangle) to be very interesting. Both use the same RealTek chipsets, so why does the Edimax consistently outperform the D-Link? Perhaps D-Link will have a firmware upgrade that will bring the 850L up to the performance levels of the Edimax.

If you look at the Router Ranking chart (below), you'll note that the router rankings have changed quite a bit from about a week ago. Back then, the D-Link DIR-860L topped the charts as the #1 Total Router and #1 for Routing Throughput. Oh, what a difference a week can make. The latest Router Ranking chart paints a completely different picture because since then, the performance numbers for the yet-to-be reviewed ASUS RT-AC56U and the BR-4678AC covered in this review have been factored in. In fact, if you look at the Router Ranker Performance Summary for the ASUS, you'll see that it now ranks as #1 in all categories. (Your enthusiasm for the ASUS might be dampened when you learn it is priced at a very premium $160!)

Ranker Performance Summary for the Edimax BR-6478AC

Ranker Performance Summary for the Edimax BR-6478AC

Here's the category breakdown:

  • Total Router - The BR-6478AC ranks as #2, trailing the Asus.
  • Routing Throughput - The Edimax ranks #3 trailing the Asus and the D-Link DIR-860L
  • Wireless Throughput - it ranks #4 trailing the Asus, the yet-to-be reviewed Engenius ESR1200 and the D-Link DIR-850L
  • Wireless Range - it ranks #3 trailing the Asus and the NETGEAR N6100

As noted in the introduction, the BR-6478AC is a fairly basic router. Compared to some of the other routers in its class, it lacks a USB port for file sharing. Depending on your environment, router-based storage may or may not be a feature that interests you. Bucking the minimalist trend, the Edimax router has quite a few LED indicators - a plus for many.

The real surprise for me came with the BR-6478AC performance. In the comparative benchmark summary above, it outperformed the other three routers in four out of six performance tests. In the four Performance vs. Attenuation charts above, the Edimax router stayed connected throughout the entire attenuation range on all four tests. The only real competition at maximum attenuation came from the TRENDnet router, which outperformed the Edimax in the 5 GHz tests.

Best of all, the BR-6478AC has a street price that's currently around $70. If you're in the market for a basic AC 1200 class router, the Edimax BR-6478AC offers great value and performance that won't disappoint.

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