Test Setup

rtpic Asus RT AC66U 802.11ac Dual Band Wireless Router Review

Figure 1.1

The router was flashed to the latest firmware, SPI firewall disabled and the machine on the LAN side is placed in the DMZ.

For the testing of the router's routing throughput, we used two machines, one connected to the WAN port of the router and the other to the LAN port as shown in Figure 1.1. For both WAN to LAN and LAN to WAN tests, we ran two benchmark software, PassMark Performance Test and IPerf. Each test was repeated three times and the average is taken as the final result. Figure 1.2 shows the following parameters used on the IPerf.

Server
>iperf -s -w 128k
Client
>ipert -c [server address] -w 128k -P 5

Figure 1.2
 

Matrix21 Max Session Tool was used to test for the maximum number of sessions. Since the maximum connection the machine could generate is 41,000 sessions, which is far less than Asus claims the RT-AC66U is able to handle. With reference from Figure 1.3, we devised a method to run a number of  server-client pairs simultaneously. This is accomplished through the use of virtualization. So, 41,000 per pair multiply by the total number of pairs would give the total number of simultaneous sessions.

maxconn Asus RT AC66U 802.11ac Dual Band Wireless Router Review

Figure 1.3

 

For testing of VPN throughput, we came up a scenario where the VPN client is on a different subnet from the router WAN. We accomplished this by creating a virtualized environment. RT_A, RT_B and GW are running Vyatta. Figure 1.4 shows the network topology for this setup.

vpnsetup(1) Asus RT AC66U 802.11ac Dual Band Wireless Router Review

Figure 1.4

 

For wireless throughput tests, one machine is connected to the LAN port and the other by wireless. A 200MB file is then transfered from the LAN machine over to the wireless machine and vice versa. This is to test the upstream and downstream quality of the wireless link. The wireless connection is encrypted with WPA2-AES. The test is performed on both the 40MHz channel and the 80MHz channel (5 GHz only). The wireless client is then moved to different rooms (Figure 1.5) and the tests are repeated again. This is to compare the transfer quality when the signal line of sight is being obstructed.

homesetup Asus RT AC66U 802.11ac Dual Band Wireless Router Review

Figure 1.5

 

These are the hardware specs of the machines used in this testing.

PC A

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Sp1 64-bit
CPU: I7 920 @ 3.4GHz
RAM: 8GB DDR3
NIC: Intel Pro/1000 ET Dual

PC B

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Sp1 64-bit
CPU: AMD Turion X2 RM-74 2.2GHz
RAM: 3GB DDR2
NIC: Realtek 8111B
WiFi: Asus RT-AC66U in Bridge mode

 

Test Results

 

Firmware Version 3.0.0.4.246

 

Routing Throughput
Direct Connection 945 Mbps
Wan to Lan 938 Mbps
Lan to Wan 932 Mbps
Max. Sessions 182636

The advertised specs was up to 300,000 simultaneous connections but we maxed out the connection on the 4 pairs which was a total of 182,636 connections, which admittingly is still more than enough or needed for the usual p2p applications.

 

USB Storage Throughput
  Read Write
SAMBA 160.8 Mbps 108 Mbps
FTP 176 Mbps 104 Mbps

For this test we attached a 2.5" portable hard drive to the USB port. The drive was formatted to NTFS. We then transfered a 200MB data payload to the drive. From the results, it looks like writing data to the drive using FTP yield slightly higher speeds as compared to SAMBA. However, reading data using SAMBA gives higher speeds as compared to FTP.

 

VPN Throughput
128bit MPPE Encryption
Vpn to Lan 74 Mbps
Lan to Vpn 45 Mbps

The VPN server doesn't work when DMZ is enabled, which is an issue that we've highlighted during the review of the RT-N66U.

 

2.4 GHz Wireless Throughput
Location A B C D E
2.4 GHz 40Mhz Downstream 67.5 Mbps 62.3 Mbps 33.6 Mbps 64.4 Mbps 65.0Mbps
2.4 GHz 40Mhz Upstream 73.7 Mbps 70.0 Mbps 41.8 Mbps 69.1 Mbps 68.3 Mbps

Not much improvement on the 2.4GHz band as compared to the RT-N66U.

 

5 GHz Wireless Throughput
Location A B C D E
5 GHz 80Mhz Downstream 165.6 Mbps 160.4 Mbps 78.2 Mbps 161.6 Mbps 157.1 Mbps
5 GHz 80Mhz Upstream 210.1 Mbps 198.9 Mbps 91.5 Mbps 200.4 Mbps 171.9 Mbps
5 GHz 40Mhz Downstream 120.8 Mbps 108.3 Mbps 56.0 Mbps 108.6 Mbps 111.7 Mbps
5 GHz 40Mhz Upstream 175.2 Mbps 169.6 Mbps 62.7 Mbps 165.9 Mbps 167.2 Mbps

On the 5GHz band there is a slight performance improvement on the 40MHz as compared to the RT-N66U. It seems like there is an overall 20% improvement on the 80MHz. At location C which has the poorest coverage with the 2.4GHz band, does have a better throughput performance with the 802.11ac.