We recently changed wireless testing methodology to a new V8 Process, with the differences produced by the new process described in AC1900 Router Retest Redux. Since some buyers are still interested in AC1750 routers too, we retested a few of the more popular models, i.e.:
The NETGEAR R6300 isn't in this retest because it's been replaced by a V2 version. We'll have a separate review of it up shortly.
Rather than compare the new and old AC1750 test results, I thought it would be more interesting to look at how AC1750 class routers compare to AC1900 class routers - both tested with the new testing methodology. I apologize in advance - you'll have a few more charts to look at than we normally present, but I think that some of the data will reveal a few interesting insights.
2.4 GHz Avg. & Max.
The V8 test process uses an AC1900 class NETGEAR R7000 configured as a wireless bridge. So our 2.4 GHz results now can show the results of the higher potential link rate in that band. We still test in 20 MHz bandwidth mode, so the maximum link rate possible in our test procss, as indicated by the 11ac MCS table, is 288.9 Mbps vs. 600 Mbps possible with 40 MHz bandwidth. Still, this is a 33% potential throughput increase over the three stream 20 MHz bandwidth 802.11n link rate of 216.7 Mbps. (40 MHz bandwidth also produces the same percentage increase from 450 to 600 Mbps.)
This first chart looks at 2.4 GHz average downlink and uplink throughput. It's interesting to note that for downlink, the results are tightly grouped with a range from 84 Mbps to 96 Mbps—only a 14% range. More interesting is that the top performing router was an AC1750 router (Linksys EA6500) and that an AC1900 router (D-Link DIR-868L) ranked near the bottom of the charts.
For uplink, all of the AC1900 class routers outperformed the AC1750 class routers. The fastest AC1750 router, at 73 Mbps, was about 13% slower than the fastest AC1900 router, about the same range as downlink.
AC1750 & AC1900 retested routers - 2.4 GHz Average Throughput
I also looked at Maximum throughput. It was really interesting to see all three of the AC1750 class routers outperform the AC1900 routers on downlink.
For 2.4 GHz uplink, the ASUS RT-AC66U placed second with 132 Mbps, compared to the top performing Linksys WRT-1900AC at 148 Mbps. The rest of the AC1900 routers outpaced the balance of the AC1750 routers. This might indicate that if your primary use of the router is on the 2.4 GHz band, you might be able to save a few dollars by buying an AC1750 router without sacrificing too much performance.
AC1750 & AC1900 retested routers - 2.4 GHz Maximum Throughput
5 GHz Avg. & Max.For 5 GHz average downlink, it's a completely different story. With a range from 277 Mbps to 294 Mbps, all AC1900 routers significantly outperformed the AC1750 routers that ranged from 217 Mbps to 258 Mbps. Again, the fastest AC1900 router was about 14% faster than the fastest AC1750 router (294 vs. 258 Mbps).
For 5 GHz average uplink, I was really surprised to see the Linksys EA6500, a 1750 class router, at the top of the charts at 249 Mbps. The balance of the chart is pretty much as expected. The AC1900 routers outperformed the AC1750 routers. The exception was the DIR-868L at the bottom of the charts at 193 Mbps, the maximum uplink for the balance of the AC1750/AC1900 routers were relatively tightly grouped in a range from 229 Mbps to 242 Mbps.
AC1750 & AC1900 retested routers - 5 GHz Average Throughput
For both the 5 GHz downlink and uplink maximum throughput tests, there were no surprises. All of the AC1900 class routers outperformed all the AC1750 class routers. For the downlink test, the AC1900 routers ranged from 512 Mbps (Linksys EA6900) to 481 Mbps (Linksys WRT 1900AC) The AC1750 routers ranged from 468 Mbps (D-Link DIR 868L) down to 453 Mbps (Linksys EA6500).
For 5 GHz uplink, there was a different leader at the top of the charts - the Linksys WRT1900AC at 462 Mbps. The slowest AC1900 router, the ASUS RT-AC68U, turned in 415 Mbps of maximum throughput. The top two AC1750 routers tied for fastest honors at 402 Mbps with the Linksys EA6500 bringing up the bottom of the charts at 392 Mbps.