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 difficult 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 the speed and the range.
We test throughput in a dual-node network environment consisting of a custom PC with a GIGABYTE Z77UP5 TH, Intel Core i5 3570K Processor operating at 3.3GHz 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, and range is tested with a late 2013 MacBook Pro.
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 one is the closest, and it's within line of sight, while location four is the furthest away with many walls in between. Location five tests the router's ability to generate enough signal strength to penetrate the second floor of a home.
2.4Ghz range for the Nighthawk X4 was right on par with other high-end solutions on the market. Through our first three locations, the X4 stayed within the -30 to -40 dbm range, and moving to location four netted just over -50 dbm.
Within our 5GHz testing, we found the range of the Nighthawk X4 to fit in between the R7000 and R8000. Locations one through three produced results between -40 dbm and -55 dbm, with location four dipping all the way to -70 dbm.
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