Like every other website on the planet, SmallNetBuilder uses cookies. Our cookies track login status, but we only allow admins to log in anyway, so those don't apply to you. Any other cookies you pick up during your visit come from advertisers, which we don't control.
If you continue to use the site, you agree to tolerate our use of cookies. Thank you!

Wi-Fi Router Charts

Click for Wi-Fi Router Charts

Mesh System Charts

Click for Wi-Fi Mesh System Charts

Wireless Performance - 3 Stream, 5 GHz

The 4th Generation AirPort Extreme didn't officially support three-stream N and I wasn't set up to test three-stream either. So let's compare the Gen 5 to other current three-stream capable routers like, say, the Cisco Linksys E4200 and NETGEAR WNDR4000, both of which use also use the Broadcom BCM4331.

I haven't been that impressed by three-stream N to date. My tests using an Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 client show minor throughput gains only with in-the-same-room signal levels. Once you get down to even medium signal levels, it seems that three-stream performance gains basically disappear. Check out Three Stream N Performance: A First Look and Three Stream N Performance: Two More for the details.

Since both the competitors support three-stream N on their 5 GHz radios only, I'll compare 5 GHz 40 MHz bandwidth mode, since that's the way people with three-stream capable clients will tend to run anyway. The new radar plot in Figure 12 shows the Gen 5 evenly matched in Locations A and C, but significantly slower in weaker signal location D.

Radar plot comparison, 5 GHz, 3 stream, 40 MHz mode, downstream
Figure 12: Radar plot comparison, 5 GHz, 3 stream, 40 MHz mode, downstream

For uplink, Figure 13 shows the Gen 5 again turning in the weakest performance, this time with single-digit Location D throughput.

Radar plot comparison, 5 GHz, 3 stream, 40 MHz mode, upstream
Figure 13: Radar plot comparison, 5 GHz, 3 stream, 40 MHz mode, upstream

Figure 14 provides a peek at the IxChariot plot for three-stream 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode downlink.

Apple AirPort Extreme 5th Gen IxChariot summary - 5 GHz, 40 MHz mode, downlink
Figure 14: Apple AirPort Extreme 5th Gen IxChariot summary - 5 GHz, 20 MHz mode. downlink

Here are links to the other three-stream 5 GHz plots for your reference.

Support Us!

If you like what we do and want to thank us, just buy something on Amazon. We'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!

Don't Miss These

  • 1
  • 2