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 Z97X UD7 TH, Intel Core i7 4770 processor operating at 3.3GHz with 16GB of DDR3 featuring the HotLava Vesuvius Six Port Gigabit NIC. The second system features a GIGABYTE x58 OC with an Intel Xeon L5639 Six Core CPU, 48GB of DDR3 from ADATA and the HotLava Vesuvius Six Port Gigabit NIC.
Wireless throughput is tested using the ASUS PCE-AC68 PCI Express Network Adapter. Range is tested with a MacBook Pro Retina (Late 2013).
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.
The idea of the charts above is to give you a better idea on how well the routers perform in a typical home environment. In reality, what you are looking for is the router that carries the best signal through all bands, or closest to 0dbm as possible. Looking at the chart above, the 880L was on par with both the TRENDnet 818 and the WRT1900 from Linksys.
Moving to the 5GHz band, the 880L was one of the best routers in this test, next to the Buffalo 1750DHP.
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