Test Setup

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 most of the current routers are 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.

Figure 1.3

 

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 the 40MHz channel and the 80MHz channel (5GHz 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.

Figure 1.4

 

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: Netgear A6200 AC Adapter

 

Test Results

 

Firmware Version     1.08    

 

Routing Throughput
Direct Connection 952 Mbps
Wan to Lan 474 Mbps
Lan to Wan 431 Mbps
Max. Sessions 136980

The BR-6478AC did not manage to achieve near-wire speeds for both WAN to LAN and LAN to WAN but 450 Mbps is still reasonable for an entry level router and also higher than the maximum speeds of most home broadband connections. It is also capable of managing a total of 137,000 simultaneous sessions.

 

2.4 GHz Wireless Throughput
Location A B C D E
2.4 GHz 40Mhz Downstream 95.5 Mbps 92.8 Mbps 30.1 Mbps 82.7 Mbps 70.1 Mbps
2.4 GHz 40Mhz Upstream 89.0Mbps 83.3 Mbps 25.7 Mbps 78.2 Mbps 64.6 Mbps

At location A and B yields the highest results as compared to the other locations. Wireless throughput seems to be the poorest at location C which has the most obstructed line-of-sight.

 

5 GHz Wireless Throughput
Location A B C D E
5 GHz 40Mhz Downstream 116 Mbps 97.7 Mbps 40.8 Mbps 95.3 Mbps 81.1 Mbps
5 GHz 40Mhz Upstream 91.9 Mbps 91.4 Mbps 40.9 Mbps 89.7 Mbps 72.3 Mbps

The similar consistant results can be said with the 5GHz band.

 

5 GHz AC Wireless Throughput
Location A B C D E
5 GHz 80Mhz Downstream 176 Mbps 171 Mbps 57.1 Mbps 154 Mbps 116 Mbps
5 GHz 80Mhz Upstream 131 Mbps 129 Mbps 43.2 Mbps 127 Mbps 88.7 Mbps

With the 5GHz on ac mode, performance gain is about 45% as compared to 5GHz at 40MHz channel.

 

Conclusion

The Edimax BR-6478AC is definitely not the fastest router that we have encountered in our labs so far (about half that of its more expensive 802.11ac competitors), but it does provide decent enough performance and features set for most households. Priced at SGD$229 (with the USB 3.0 adapter), it is a significantly cheaper deal than the 802.11ac offerings from the rest and a good choice for buyers looking for a vanilla, no-frills networking solution.