802.11n 300 Mbps and 802.11ac 867 Mbps Wireless Routers in Real-World Report


Because QNAP Virtualization Station and other services needs more and more bandwidth, I bought a Asus RT-AC1200G+ to replace RT-AC51u and netis WF2190 to upgrade to 802.11ac 867Mbps. Expecting to replace my wired  Gigabit Ethernet.

Things doesn’t go well. I experience random reboots with Asus RT-AC1200G+ but learn the complexity of wireless implement. While working on it, an Edimax engineer give me a hand and send me an Edimax BR-6478AC V2. Dolly from Asus also provides me an unpublic firmware to test. And all the commends on post. Without their help, I couldn’t get my wireless working properly.

Therefore, I decide to write this post to share my real-world experience. It will be update continuously.

Let’s begin from knowing my devices, network map, and placement:

QNAP TS-251A

QNAP TS-251A runs QTS is an embedded Linux developed by QNAP. It contains:

  1. Intel Celeron Processor N3060 which is a dual core 64-bit processor with 2MB L2 cache.
  2. 4GB RAM and is upgradable.
  3. Apple HTS545050A7E362 500GB  on tray 1.
  4. Kingston SSDNow V+100 64GB on tray 2.
  5. QTS is 4.3.3.0210.

Mac Mini Late 2012

I have upgrade my Mac mini Late 2012 to 16GB RAM and SanDisk Extreme Pro 480GB SSD. Now running OSX 10.12 aka macOS Sierra.

According to Mac Mini Late 2012 Teardown on iFixIt, it contains:

  1. Broadcom BCM4331 supports 802.11n, and 802.11a @ 5GHz.
  2. Broadcom BCM4331 supports 802.11n802.11g, and 802.11b @ 2.4GHz.
  3. Max speed for 802.11n is 450Mbps @ 5GHz with 3T3R.
  4. Max speed for 802.11n is 150Mbps @ 2.4GHz with 1T1R.
  5. Broadcom BCM57765 as Gigabit Ethernet.

Asus RT-AC1200G+

According to ASUS RT-AC1200GP on WikiDevi, it contains:

  1. Broadcom BCM47189 supports 802.11ac802.11n, and 802.11a@ 5GHz.
  2. Broadcom BCM43217 supports 802.11n802.11g, and 802.11b @ 2.4GHz.
  3. Max speed for 802.11ac is 867Mbps with 2T2R.
  4. Max speed for 802.11n is 300Mbps with 2T2R.
  5. Broadcom BCM53125 as Gigabit Ethernet.
  6. Firmware is 9.0.0.4.382_10680.

Edimax BR-6478AC v2

According to Edimax BR-6478AC v2 on WikiDevi, it contains:

  1. MediaTek MT7612E supports 802.11ac802.11n, and 802.11a@ 5GHz.
  2. MediaTek MT7620A supports 802.11n802.11g, and 802.11b @ 2.4GHz.
  3. Max speed for 802.11ac is 867Mbps with 2T2R.
  4. Max speed for 802.11n is 300Mbps with 2T2R.
  5. RealTek: RTL8367RB as Gigabit Ethernet
  6. Firmware is 1.09.

netis WF2190

According to Netis WF2190 on WikiDevi, it contains:

  1. Realtel RTL8812AU supports draft 802.11ac which is not 802.11ac.
  2. Max speed for 802.11ac is 867Mbps with 2T2R.
  3. Max speed for 802.11n is 300Mbps with 2T2R.
  4. USB 3.0 interface.
  5. OSX driver is RTLWlanU_MacOS10.6_MacOS10.11_Driver_1830.2.b19_1827.4.b22_DropDownMenu_5.0.2.b9.

Network Diagram and Placement

I put wireless routers and TS-251A on intermediated floor. netis WF2190 on the stairs. And Mac mini on my desk. Horizontal width within 1 meter.

Usual Placement of Asus RT-AC1200G+

Asus RT-AC1200G+ Usual Placement and Network Diagram
Asus RT-AC1200G+ Usual Placement and Network Diagram

Test Placement of Asus RT-AC1200G+

Asus RT-AC1200G+ Test Placement and Network Diagram
Asus RT-AC1200G+ Test Placement and Network Diagram

Test Placement of Edimax BR-6478AC V2

Edimax BR-6478AC V2 Test Placement and Network Diagram
Edimax BR-6478AC V2 Test Placement and Network Diagram

Connection Speed and RSSI

Mac mini using Build-in Network Card Connects to Asus RT-AC1200G+ at Original Placement

SSID: "MyHome_24G"
RSSI: 0 dBm	SNR: 0 dB	noise: -92 dBm	Channel: 9u
BSSID: 60:45:CB:8E:3C:88	Capability: ESS ShortSlot 
Supported Rates: [ 1(b) 2(b) 5.5(b) 6 9 11(b) 12 18 24 36 48 54 ]
HT Capable:
	Chanspec: 2.4GHz channel 7 40MHz (0x1907)
	Primary channel: 9
	HT Capabilities: 
	Supported MCS : [ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ]

Mode	: AP Only

Stations List                           
----------------------------------------
idx MAC               Associated Authorized    RSSI PSM SGI STBC Tx rate Rx rate Connect Time

SSID: "MyHome_5G"
RSSI: 0 dBm	SNR: 0 dB	noise: -92 dBm	Channel: 149/80
BSSID: 60:45:CB:8E:3C:8C	Capability: ESS 
Supported Rates: [ 6(b) 9 12(b) 18 24(b) 36 48 54 ]
VHT Capable:
	Chanspec: 5GHz channel 155 80MHz (0xe09b)
	Primary channel: 149
	HT Capabilities: 
	Supported MCS : [ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ]
	VHT Capabilities: 
	Supported VHT (tx) Rates:
		NSS: 1 MCS: 0-9
		NSS: 2 MCS: 0-9
	Supported VHT (rx) Rates:
		NSS: 1 MCS: 0-9
		NSS: 2 MCS: 0-9

Mode	: AP Only

Stations List                           
----------------------------------------
idx MAC               Associated Authorized    RSSI PSM SGI STBC Tx rate Rx rate Connect Time
    A8:8E:24:A4:57:DD Yes        Yes         -57dBm No  Yes Yes     300M    300M 00:40:01

Mac mini using netis WF2190 Connects to Asus RT-AC1200G+ at Original Placement

SSID: "MyHome_24G"
RSSI: 0 dBm	SNR: 0 dB	noise: -92 dBm	Channel: 9u
BSSID: 60:45:CB:8E:3C:88	Capability: ESS ShortSlot 
Supported Rates: [ 1(b) 2(b) 5.5(b) 6 9 11(b) 12 18 24 36 48 54 ]
HT Capable:
	Chanspec: 2.4GHz channel 7 40MHz (0x1907)
	Primary channel: 9
	HT Capabilities: 
	Supported MCS : [ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ]

Mode	: AP Only

Stations List                           
----------------------------------------
idx MAC               Associated Authorized    RSSI PSM SGI STBC Tx rate Rx rate Connect Time

SSID: "MyHome_5G"
RSSI: 0 dBm	SNR: 0 dB	noise: -92 dBm	Channel: 149/80
BSSID: 60:45:CB:8E:3C:8C	Capability: ESS 
Supported Rates: [ 6(b) 9 12(b) 18 24(b) 36 48 54 ]
VHT Capable:
	Chanspec: 5GHz channel 155 80MHz (0xe09b)
	Primary channel: 149
	HT Capabilities: 
	Supported MCS : [ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ]
	VHT Capabilities: 
	Supported VHT (tx) Rates:
		NSS: 1 MCS: 0-9
		NSS: 2 MCS: 0-9
	Supported VHT (rx) Rates:
		NSS: 1 MCS: 0-9
		NSS: 2 MCS: 0-9

Mode	: AP Only

Stations List                           
----------------------------------------
idx MAC               Associated Authorized    RSSI PSM SGI STBC Tx rate Rx rate Connect Time
    04:8D:39:53:DB:72 Yes        Yes         -54dBm No  Yes Yes     585M  866.7M 00:00:44

Mac mini Build-in Network Card Connects to Asus RT-AC1200G+ at Test Placement

SSID: "MyHome_24G"
RSSI: 0 dBm	SNR: 0 dB	noise: -92 dBm	Channel: 9u
BSSID: 60:45:CB:8E:3C:88	Capability: ESS ShortSlot 
Supported Rates: [ 1(b) 2(b) 5.5(b) 6 9 11(b) 12 18 24 36 48 54 ]
HT Capable:
	Chanspec: 2.4GHz channel 7 40MHz (0x1907)
	Primary channel: 9
	HT Capabilities: 
	Supported MCS : [ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ]

Mode	: AP Only

Stations List                           
----------------------------------------
idx MAC               Associated Authorized    RSSI PSM SGI STBC Tx rate Rx rate Connect Time

SSID: "MyHome_5G"
RSSI: 0 dBm	SNR: 0 dB	noise: -92 dBm	Channel: 149/80
BSSID: 60:45:CB:8E:3C:8C	Capability: ESS 
Supported Rates: [ 6(b) 9 12(b) 18 24(b) 36 48 54 ]
VHT Capable:
	Chanspec: 5GHz channel 155 80MHz (0xe09b)
	Primary channel: 149
	HT Capabilities: 
	Supported MCS : [ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ]
	VHT Capabilities: 
	Supported VHT (tx) Rates:
		NSS: 1 MCS: 0-9
		NSS: 2 MCS: 0-9
	Supported VHT (rx) Rates:
		NSS: 1 MCS: 0-9
		NSS: 2 MCS: 0-9

Mode	: AP Only

Stations List                           
----------------------------------------
idx MAC               Associated Authorized    RSSI PSM SGI STBC Tx rate Rx rate Connect Time
    A8:8E:24:A4:57:DD Yes        Yes         -61dBm No  Yes Yes     300M    300M 00:00:34

Mac mini using netis WF2190 Connects to Asus RT-AC1200G+ at Original Placement

SSID: "MyHome_24G"
RSSI: 0 dBm	SNR: 0 dB	noise: -92 dBm	Channel: 9u
BSSID: 60:45:CB:8E:3C:88	Capability: ESS ShortSlot 
Supported Rates: [ 1(b) 2(b) 5.5(b) 6 9 11(b) 12 18 24 36 48 54 ]
HT Capable:
	Chanspec: 2.4GHz channel 7 40MHz (0x1907)
	Primary channel: 9
	HT Capabilities: 
	Supported MCS : [ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ]

Mode	: AP Only

Stations List                           
----------------------------------------
idx MAC               Associated Authorized    RSSI PSM SGI STBC Tx rate Rx rate Connect Time

SSID: "MyHome_5G"
RSSI: 0 dBm	SNR: 0 dB	noise: -92 dBm	Channel: 149/80
BSSID: 60:45:CB:8E:3C:8C	Capability: ESS 
Supported Rates: [ 6(b) 9 12(b) 18 24(b) 36 48 54 ]
VHT Capable:
	Chanspec: 5GHz channel 155 80MHz (0xe09b)
	Primary channel: 149
	HT Capabilities: 
	Supported MCS : [ 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 ]
	VHT Capabilities: 
	Supported VHT (tx) Rates:
		NSS: 1 MCS: 0-9
		NSS: 2 MCS: 0-9
	Supported VHT (rx) Rates:
		NSS: 1 MCS: 0-9
		NSS: 2 MCS: 0-9

Mode	: AP Only

Stations List                           
----------------------------------------
idx MAC               Associated Authorized    RSSI PSM SGI STBC Tx rate Rx rate Connect Time
    04:8D:39:53:DB:72 Yes        Yes         -47dBm No  Yes Yes     702M  866.7M 01:06:47

Edimax Edimax BR-6478AC V2 Has Neither Concious Connection Speed Nor RSSI

There is no explicity connection speed and received signal strength indication (RSSI) on Edimax BR-6478AC V2. It provides following information:

Edimax BR-6478AC v2 Connection Infomation
Edimax BR-6478AC v2 Connection Infomation

Data Rate with 802.11n at MCS15 means 300Mbps while with 802.11ac is 867Mbps. Broadcom BCM4331‘s Power Saving is switching ON and OFF all the time.

MCS15 is not found on Wiki. But I found it in How to interpret 802.11ac datarates on Cisco Support Community, it means 64QAM 5/6 modulation.

Test Method

For security concern, I enable both WPA2 Personal and MAC filtering.

Test files are the same as my NAS test in Prepare Your NAS File Transfer Performance Test with Mac OSX Client:

My typical working files contains small document, photo, and big disk imagefiles. Therefore, I create my sample data set with one 3,3GB VDI file, 851 jpeg photos for 2.9GB, and 6 AVI video for 911.2MB.

Connect from OS X to NAS is explained in the same article except for using AFP (Apple Filing Protocol) instead of Samba and NFS here.

I use FreeFileSync to copy and measure transfer speed. After each test, run purge to clear cache. This will force to read files from NAS. Use Activity Monitor to check if Cached Files usage has been shrank.

Chens-Mac-mini:~ amigo$ sudo purge
Password:
Chens-Mac-mini:~ amigo$

Performance

Asus RT-AC1200G+ and Edimax BR-6478AC V2 at the Same Test Placement

Asus RT-AC1200G+ and Edimax BR-6478AC V2 at the Same Test Placement
Asus RT-AC1200G+ and Edimax BR-6478AC V2 at the Same Test Placement

Asus RT-AC1200G+ at Usual and Test Placement

Asus RT-AC1200G+ at Usual and Test Placement
Asus RT-AC1200G+ at Usual and Test Placement

Analyze

For easier reading, I use Broadcom BCM4331 to replace the build-in wireless network card in Mac mini.

Wireless Routers has Different Transferring Speed

In Asus RT-AC1200G+ and Edimax BR-6478AC V2 with the Same Test PlacementBroadcom BCM4331 is 56% faster through BR-6478AC V2 than RT-AC1200G+ while uploading to TS-251A. Using WF2190 is 148%.

Others are within 5% difference which means similar performance to me.

Pick a Matched Wireless Router When Upgrade Client Network Cards

In Asus RT-AC1200G+ and Edimax BR-6478AC V2 with the Same Test Placement, upgrading from Broadcom BCM4331 to WF2190 brings 75% faster through BR-6478AC V2 but drops to 9% RT-AC1200G+ while uploading to TS-251A.

Same upgrading brings 19% faster through BR-6478AC V2 and 27% through RT-AC1200G+ while downloading from TS-251A.

Wired GbE is Still Much Faster Than 802.11ac 867Mbps

On GbE tests, BR-6478AC V2 is similar to RT-AC1200G+ and both are much faster than 802.11ac 867Mbps and  802.11n 300Mbps.

Placement Makes Difference

In Asus RT-AC1200G+ at Usual and Test Placement, Broadcom BCM4331 is identical but WF2190 brings 80% faster while downloading but drops 56% uploading to TS-251A.

Stability

It seems difficult to buy a stable wireless router now. You may find many with reboot or drop line issues. In my earlier post, I have to use DD-WRT to replace original firmware on TP-Link TL-WR842ND or it freeze every few days.

Therefore, I decide to put test devices at work. Turn on in the morning and off before sleep. If there is any issue, I shall notice.

Asus RT-AC1200G+ Log

Asus RT-AC1200G+ is unstable until upgrading to RT-AC1200G+_9.0.0.4_382_10680-gc72d1c8.trx. There is no reboot for more than two weeks since 2017/6/1. Read the full story in Asus RT-AC1200G+ Random Reboots Automatically.

Edimax BR-6478AC V2 Log

Edimax BR-6478AC V2 has two issue during test period from 2017/6/17 to 2017/7/2. There is no reboot or drop line.

2017/6/19
  • 2.4GHz SSID is available but 5GHz is disappear.
  • Reset power doesn’t bring up 5GHz SSID.
  • Get a wire to connect and login to administration page successfully. 5GHz SSID is available again.
  • I have no clue for what happen and cannot reproduce this.
2017/6/21
  • Power on but no connection for about 2.5-hour.
  • 2.4GHz SSID is available but 5GHz is disappear.
  • Reset power doesn’t bring up 5GHz SSID.
  • Connect to 2.4GHz SSID and login to administration page successfully. 5GHz SSID is available again.
  • Wondering if this is related to MediaTek MT7612E. Looks like a power saving issue.

User Interface

Asus RT-AC1200G+ is More Friendly for 1-st Time Setup

Once turned on, I may connect to RT-AC1200G+ and change SSIDWPA2 passphrase, and administrator’s login password with Google Chrome.

With BR-6478AC V2, you need to explicitly specify http:// when using Chrome to browse 1st-time administration URL http://edimax.setup or it will be interpreted as https://edimax.setup as default. Apple Safari and FireFox doesn’t have this problem. IQ Setup wizard doesn’t change administrator’s login password.

Edimax BR-6478AC V2 is Powerful and Technical

To setup MAC filtering, RT-AC1200G+ provides [Wireless MAC Filter] tab in [Advanced Settings] → [Wireless]. You also get a small, replaceable icon to represent every device. In [General] → [Network Map], it’s very easy to identify.

With BR-6478AC V2, you need to setup in [Firewall] → [Access Control]. It may manage wired and wireless. On  user experience design, it’s another story. For example, to deny a connected device, first select from the middle Computer Name. Then click on the [<<] button before it to auto fill-in Client PC MAC Address on the left. It works in a different way.

Dynamic Traffic Monitor Graphic is Better than Refresh Yourself

RT-AC1200G+ displays current and history bandwidth in MB/s as a dynamic graphic. Easy to read and compare with history data.

BR-6478AC V2 summarize total packets in a table. There is no history data nor auto-refresh.

Reference

  1. Apple macOS Sierra
  2. Apple OS X
  3. Apple Safari
  4. Apple: Mac mini (Late 2012) – Technical Specifications
  5. Apple: Use Activity Monitor on your Mac
  6. Asus
  7. Asus RT-AC1200G+
  8. Asus RT-AC1200G+ Random Reboots Automatically
  9. Asus RT-AC51u
  10. Broadcom BCM53125
  11. Cisco Support Community: How to interpret 802.11ac datarates
  12. Datasheet: BCM57765
  13. DD-WRT
  14. DD-WRT for my TP-Link TL-WR842ND
  15. Edimax
  16. Edimax BR-6478AC V2
  17. FreeFileSync
  18. Google Chrome
  19. Intel Celeron Processor N3060
  20. iFixIt: Mac Mini Late 2012 Teardown
  21. Kingston SSDNow V+100 Datasheet
  22. Mozilla FireFox
  23. netis WF2190
  24. OSXDaily: Using the Purge Command in OS X Yosemite & OS X Mavericks
  25. Prepare Your NAS File Transfer Performance Test with Mac OSX Client
  26. QNAP TS-251A
  27. QNAP Virtualization Station
  28. QNAP QTS
  29. RealTek RTL8367RB
  30. Samba
  31. SANDISK EXTREME PRO SSD
  32. TP-Link TL-WR842ND
  33. Wiki: Apple Filing Protocol
  34. Wiki: Cache (computing)
  35. Wiki: Fast Ethernet
  36. Wiki: Gigabit Ethernet
  37. Wiki: IEEE 802.11a-1999
  38. Wiki: IEEE 802.11ac
  39. Wiki: IEEE 802.11b-1999
  40. Wiki: IEEE 802.11g-2003
  41. Wiki: IEEE 802.11n-2009
  42. Wiki: MAC address
  43. Wiki: MAC filtering
  44. Wiki: Network File System
  45. Wiki: Received signal strength indication
  46. Wiki: Service set (802.11 network)
  47. Wiki: URL
  48. Wiki: USB 3.0
  49. Wiki: User experience design
  50. Wiki: Wi-Fi Protected Access
  51. WikiDevi: ASUS RT-AC1200GP
  52. WikiDevi: Broadcom
  53. WikiDevi: Edimax BR-6478AC v2
  54. WikiDevi: MediaTek
  55. WikiDevi: Netis WF2190
  56. WikiDevi: Realtek
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