The new Multiband benchmark is the first SNB benchmark that simultaneously loads all radios in a router and that also measures latency under load. It's a good way to see whether (or how much) a router's Ethernet port speed limits what you can get out of a router. Keep in mind, however, that you'd be hard-pressed to push a router to the limits tested by this benchmark.
Selecting the Multiband Throughput - Downlink benchmark and setting the selector next to it to Total, yields the total throughput of all radios in each product. Channel bandwidths used for the Multiband benchmarks are 40 MHz @ 2.4 GHz @, 80 MHz @ 5 GHz and 160 MHz @ 6 GHz.
Although the RAXE500 is at the top of the chart, it's tied with the ASUS GT-AXE11000 with 2.353 Gbps of total throughput. Both products have 2.5 GbE ports, so the results are likely limited by it, as you'll see shortly.
Multiband total throughput
By ticking the checkboxes for each product and clicking the Plot button, we see the contribution each radio makes to the total. The NETGEAR and ASUS results are very similar for each band.
Multiband - Throughput per radio
Because the multiband benchmark is the first SNB benchmark to simultaneously load all the radios in a router, the test can also provide insight into performance limits other than Ethernet port speed. The table below compares the maximum throughput for 5 and 6 GHz from the throughput vs. attenuation test, which runs one radio at a time, and multiband test that loads all three radios simultaneously.
|NETGEAR RAXE500E||ASUS GT-AXE11000|
|Max||Multiband||% diff||Max||Multiband||% diff|
Table 2: Multiband vs. maximum throughput
It's obvious 6 GHz throughput is taking a significant hit from being limited by the 2.5 GbE port when all three radios are running full tilt.
Last but not least, let's look at latency. This test measures ping (round-trip) latency from the STA, through the router engine, to a WAN-side server while simultaneously running unlimited bandwidth downlink TCP/IP traffic from WAN, through the router, to the Wi-Fi STA.
The 90% percentile latency scores are shown for each band, since they represent more of a worst case. The NETGEAR is the best of the three, with latencies (converted back from scores) of 52 ms, 30 ms and 7 ms for 2.4, 5 and 6 GHz, respectively.
Multiband - Latency per radio
It's clear the Linksys is the worst of the bunch, with significantly higher latency on all three bands, particularly 2.4 GHz. This is even clearer when looking at the CDF plot shown below, which compares 2.4 GHz latency for all three routers. This kind of plot is good for getting a feel for the spread of a measured value. Unfortunately, you can't get this plot from the Charts; I generated it using octoScope's Expert Analysis tool.
The 2.4 GHz latency CDF plot below compares the NETGEAR, ASUS and Linksys 6E routers. The RAXE500 is clearly superior here, both for latency and variation. (The more vertical and compact the plot is, the smaller the variation in value. The NETGEAR's plot crosses the 90% line right around 50 ms; close enough to the calculated 52 ms value cited above.
Multiband Latency CDF plot - 2.4 GHz comparison
The 5 GHz Latency CDF shows the NETGEAR still the best, but followed closely by the ASUS. The Linksys trails far behind.
Multiband Latency CDF plot - 5 GHz comparison
The three routers retain their relative positions in the 6 GHz CDF plot. Both the RAXE500 and GT-AXE11000's lines are almost vertical lines, indicating very low latency variation (aka jitter).
Multiband Latency CDF plot - 6 GHz comparison
Finally, the multiband time plots of throughput, latency and loss show remarkably stable throughput for all three radios. Latency variation / jitter is worst for 2.4 GHz, lower for 5 GHz and really low for 6 GHz. Ping loss is negligible.
Multiband throughput, latency, loss vs. time
While the NETGEAR did very well on many tests, it ended up ranking #2 behind the ASUS GT-AXE11000. The ranking score breakdown is shown below.
NETGEAR RAXE500 Ranking Score Breakdown
Keep in mind that all benchmarks are not weighed equally in the total score. Highest ranking weight is applied to range; lowest to routing throughput and latency. As has been done in the past, range is a throughput value taken from the throughput vs. attenuation test for each band and direction. For Revision 11, the range values are 57 dB for 2.4 GHz, 45 dB for 5 GHz and 54 dB for 6 GHz. These values are intended to be pretty far out on the RvR curve, but still represent usable throughput. They do not represent the point of disconnection.
That said, the RAXE500 is a much better 6E router than the Linksys Hydra Pro 6E and a very close performer to ASUS' GT-AXE11000. But since the NETGEAR currently costs $600 and ASUS has gradually reduced the AXE11000's price to now $525, the RAXE500 is not worth the premium.
However, if you hold a Costco card, I'd say picking up the RAXE450 for $450 is currently the cheapest path to a 6E router that will provide decent performance in all three bands.