Test System Setup and Wireless Range
As wireless networking has proliferated in homes and offices around the world, and network vendors keep releasing new devices on a regular basis, you now have so many options that it's hard to make a choice. The truth of the matter is, regardless of how many features a wireless router or access point has, the two most important things about it are its speed and its range.
We test throughput in a dual-node network environment consisting of a Custom PC with a GIGABYTE Z97 UD7 TH, Intel Core i7 4770 Processor operating at 3.4GHz with 16GB of DDR3 featuring the Startech.com ST1000SPEX42 quad port gigabit network adapter. The second system features a GIGABYTE x58 OC Mainboard with an Intel Xeon L5639 Six Core CPU, 48GB of DDR3 from ADATA and the StarTech.com ST1000SPEX42 NIC.
Wireless throughput is tested using the ASUS PCE-AC68 PCI Express Network Adapter. Range is tested with a Late 2013 MacBook Pro with integrated 802.11AC from Broadcom.
We perform all tests in a real-world environment. You may get better range and throughput results in a spacious facility with few internal walls or outdoors. Our tests provide a benchmark for estimating the range and throughput of wireless networking devices in an indoor setting, with some obstacles.
For wireless range, we need to refer to the Network Infrastructure chart above. Each chart herein is based on the locations on the table. To make it simple, Location 1 is the closest and within Line of Sight, while Location 4 is the furthest away with many walls in between. Location 5 tests the router's ability to generate enough signal strength to penetrate to the second floor of a home.
In our 2.4GHz testing, the RT-AC87U did quite well showing range as good as the Netgear R7000, the best in our charts.
5GHz range for the 87U was quite good as well. Here we have the ASUS doing the best at location 5, while matching the best of the other router in the chart in the rest of the locations.
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