Passmark Test Results
The first thing to note is that these benchmark results show ‘Real-World’ throughput. Nobody using Wi-Fi is actually getting the throughput performance that’s highlighted on the front of the manufacturer’s box. Those are theoretical numbers, and they refer to the raw data bitrate that’s possible with the hardware in question. In this particular test, with the router and adapter in the same room, we are still limited by the card in our client to 867 mbps, which was reached at peak points during our testing. But, between the data encryption that I was running and the error handling overhead of the various communication protocols, the average effective data rate is always going to be much lower.
For this test we will only be using TCP as our Transfer Protocol as we were getting some major discrepancies over UDP. Our time was set to 200 seconds, as the access point does not reach a steady state signal until around 40 seconds after starting the test. EnGenius did not provide any indications as to how to conduct a test of the access point, so we left everything in the router settings as default, with the exception of enabling encryption. PassMark results are only shown as upload speeds from the client side, in this case we are uploading from WLAN to LAN.
This first test was conducted right below the access point which is our model for having the access point on the roof of your living room or classroom. The results are strong, managing an average 388.9 download speeds with peaks close to 800 Mbps occurring randomly through our 802.11ac performance tests. Our 2.4 Ghz were also impressive, so much that I almost confused them with accessing the 802.11n network over a 5 Ghz band on one of the older routers in the office. Nowadays 100 Mbps over wireless is still plenty to spare, almost half as much bandwidth when compared to a similar test conducted with the N300 located in the office.
Distance is not the only deteriorating factor to the signal provided by the access point. Obstacles such as walls, waves emitted by appliances, and even things like clothes and insulation can brake the overall data signal. Of course, the stronger the signal provided by the access point, the higher chance of having a stable signal even after setting various obstacles between the access point and the client. At 15 meters with three wooden walls acting as obstacles our 802.11ac signal dropped by more than half the throughput when compared to 3 meters with no obstacles. Surprisingly, the 802.11n signal throughput only dropped by a couple Mbps. This is caused because the lower 2.4 Ghz frequency has better penetration through obstacles.
In the last of our locations, the client never seemed to to finish the test at 5 Ghz due to a lost connection with the server, although at 2.4 Ghz it still managed to get some packages over without losing complete connection.Trying to browse using just 360 Kbs brings me back to ten years ago, were you had to constantly wait for media to load. It is still possible to “browse”, although to most people standards it is completely useless.