Linksys WRT3200ACM Review (Page 4 of 5)

Page 4 - Performance Tests

For the tests, the wireless router was placed in the middle of the main floor of my house. An ASUSTOR AS3202T network attached storage equipped with a single Seagate NAS HDD ST4000VN000 4TB was connected to the router via a CAT5e cable on a Gigabit Ethernet connection. On the client side, a 2015 13" Apple MacBook Pro running Totusoft's LAN Speed Test application was used to transfer 500MB test files to evaluate real-world throughput. In our results, "upload" is defined as data transfer from the client to the server via the wireless router; conversely, "download" is defined as data transfer from the server to the client via the wireless router.

A brief description of the test locations is as follows:

- Location 1: Line of sight to router, approximately 2m distance
- Location 2: Non-line of sight to router, bedroom, one floor up
- Location 3: Non-line of sight to router, driveway in front of attached garage, same level
- Location 4: Non-line of sight to router, near end of backyard, one floor down
- Location 5: Non-line of sight to router, open area, one floor down

Compared Hardware:
- Linksys WRT3200ACM (AC3200)
- TP-Link Archer C3150 (AC3150)

Since wireless channels are generally characterized by path loss, large scale fading, and small scale fading, the router was tested in five different locations described above to comprehensively measure its true throughput performance. This includes a combination of line of sight and non-light of sight spots, different distance and positions relative to the router, as well as shadowing caused by objects between the laptop and the router. In order to overcome inconsistencies due to small scale fading, a relatively large 500MB test file was used. Furthermore, movement of people and objects within the vicinity of the devices during testing was eliminated whenever possible.

In Location 1, both the Linksys WRT3200ACM and TP-Link Archer C3150 delivered very similar performance, with a slight edge given to the Linksys router, as expected. However, in Location 2, the TP-Link Archer C3150 had a considerably higher download speed, even though the Linksys WRT3200ACM retained a marginally higher upload speed. Location 2 and Location 5 are almost just above or below the router, respectively, showing the Archer C3150's antenna array strength when the MacBook Pro is not just adjacent to the device, but also on top. The Linksys WRT3200ACM seemed to do very well when the laptop is below it, however -- beating the Archer C3150 by almost 150Mbps in Location 5. In Location 3, TP-Link's AC3150 outperformed the WRT3200ACM in both download and upload by a small margin, possibly due to lower power attenuation, especially since the signal needs to go through a thick garage wall. Generally speaking, lower frequency wavelengths can pass through walls easier and propagate longer distances compared to higher frequency wavelengths. Therefore, the Archer's 1000Mbps 2.4GHz/2167Mbps 5GHz band configuration probably has lower RF attenuation over distance and through walls compared to the WRT3200ACM's 600Mbps 2.4GHz/2600Mbps 5GHz band configuration. Location 4 is a tricky scenario, where the distance is not only the longest compared to all the other locations, but the laptop is also located a level below the router. That said, a few glass windows in between help with the signal, as well as the WRT3200ACM antennas' strong downwards power previously shown in Location 5. In this case, the TP-Link Archer C3150 held a slight lead in download speed, but the Linksys WRT3200ACM once again wins in the upload department.

All in all, the Linksys WRT3200ACM is a solid router that delivers great wireless throughput; hitting 524.165Mbps peak and never dipping below 300Mbps download even in our toughest test location. It seems to me the antennas lacked a bit of power when the laptop is located just above the base station, but all in all, this is an impressive product that performed very well as demonstrated in our charts.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Configuration and User Interface
4. Performance Tests
5. Conclusion