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Storage Performance

We used our standard router storage test procedure to measure file copy throughput for FAT32 and NTFS volumes connected via USB 2.0 and 3.0. I'll compare NTFS with USB 3.0 performance since that's what most people will want to use for maximum performance.

The EA9500's write performance isn't anything special for either drive format, at just below 30 MB/s for write and 34 MB/s for read. But the other AC5300 routers aren't establishing new performance heights, either. None come close to the Marvell-powered Linksys AC1900 class WRT1900ACS that runs the same benchmarks at 106 MB/s write NTFS.

USB 3.0 storage write performance - USB 3.0

USB 3.0 storage write performance - USB 3.0

Read performance shows more difference among the products, with the EA9500 smack in the middle for both formats. Best performer for NTFS read is again the WRT1900ACS at 96 MB/s.

USB 3.0 storage read performance - USB 3.0

USB 3.0 storage read performance - USB 3.0

Routing Performance

The EA9500 was tested with our new V4 router test process, loaded with 1.1.5.172212 firmware. You can download an Excel test summary that contains all functional and performance test results.

Table 2 summarizes the performance test results. So we have something to compare, I retested two AC5300 class routers, NETGEAR's R8500 Nighthawk X6 and ASUS' RT-AC5300.

TCP/IP unidirectional benchmark results are all within striking distance of each other, with the EA9500 the lowest in each case by around 20 Mbps. Simultaneous TCP/IP performance drops somewhat, but is still a respectable 1524 Mbps.

The EA9500's UDP performance is slightly better than its TCP/IP. But the other two routers' performance falls by about 50%. If you download the test summaries for the R8500 and RT-AC5300, you'll see UDP losses between 40 and 60%. Worst case UDP packet loss for the EA9500 ran slightly above 9%.

Test Description Linksys EA9500 NETGEAR R8500 ASUS RT-AC5300
WAN - LAN TCP (Mbps) 918 930 931
LAN - WAN TCP (Mbps) 917 935 938
Total Simultaneous TCP (Mbps) 1524 1593 1641
TCP Connection Pass Pass Pass
WAN - LAN UDP (Mbps) 950 450 420
LAN - WAN UDP (Mbps) 947 361 350
Total Simultaneous UDP (Mbps) 1721 1090 880
UDP Connection Fail Pass Fail
Functional Score (%) 95.1 89.0 90.6
Table 2: Routing performance comparison

The V4 router test process does away with the Maximum Simultaneous connection test. Instead, we test whether the router can open 3,000 TCP/IP connections and then 3,000 UDP connections. Each connection is verified as it is established and verified again after all 3,000 connections have been opened. This test is tougher to pass than the Maximum Simultaneous connection, because connections must remain open longer.

The EA9500 passed the TCP connection test, but failed the UDP test, a result that seems the norm for all but NETGEAR routers. Once again, the NETGEAR was the only router in the group to pass the UDP connection test.

The Functional Score of 95.1% equates to 12 failed functional tests; the best we've seen any router do so far.

Key takeaways from the failed tests are:

  • Deprecated HTTPs SSL protocols were not blocked
  • Hairpin NAT translation for TCP/IP and UDP are not supported
  • Triggered port forwarding tests failed (see below)
  • A few minor failures in IPv4 packet forwarding

I've yet to find a router that can pass the CDRouter triggered port test, which requires a single port and port range to be opened by a single trigger. The EA9500 allows only a single rule using the same trigger port and opens only a single port range, so failed the test.

The EA9500 did an excellent job on the DNS tests, failing not a single one.

Two port forwarding tests (cdrouter_vservice_30 and cdrouter_vservice_40 if you're checking the test summary) expect the source IP of the forwarded port to be the router's WAN IP address. I'm finding not all routers do this and use the LAN IP address instead. The two tests check the TCP and UDP forwarded ports and either both pass or fail. For the EA9500, the UDP test passed, but the TCP test failed, which I thought was odd.

Wireless Performance

The EA9500 was tested with our new Revision 9 wireless test process with 1.1.5.172212 version firmware. Remember the new test process uses an AC1200 class Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 card, vs. an AC1900 class NETGEAR R7000 router configured as a wireless bridge. Channel 6 and 20 MHz B/W mode was set for 2.4 GHz and Channel 40 and 80 MHz B/W mode was set for 5 GHz. The router was positioned in the test chamber as shown in the photo below.

EA9500 in test chamber

EA9500 in test chamber

As noted earlier, I retested two AC5300 class routers for comparison, NETGEAR's R8500 and ASUS' RT-AC5300. Average 2.4 GHz performance is in a relatively narrow range, with the EA9500 smack in the middle of the ASUS on top and NETGEAR on the bottom.

2.4 GHz average throughput comparison

2.4 GHz average throughput comparison

5 GHz averages have a 25 - 30 Mbps difference from best to worst in this three-way comparison. The EA9500 lands in the middle again for downlink, but moves to the bottom for uplink.

5 GHz average throughput comparison

5 GHz average throughput comparison

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