I put the ASUS RT-N66U through a battery of benchmarking tests. My primary comparison was with a Buffalo WZR-HP-AG300H, a similar unit in the same class * as the RT-N66U. Most of my testing was conducted between a mid-2012 13″ MacBook Air and a late-2009 13″ MacBook Pro.
I have a 150 Mbps / 65 Mbps Verizon FiOS connection, and I get the advertised speeds. I have maxed it out on several occasions, most recently when building a new rig and reinstalling stuff. For all tests involving Internet speed tests, I used Speedtest.net with a server on Comcast in Baltimore. This server is known to me to be one of the few near me that can actually max out my connection.
First, I used Speedtest.net to conduct a simple bandwidth throughput test. This is the most normal test a new user would run, so it’s important to run!
The ASUS’s 5 GHz network was the top, and actually almost maxed out my connection. The Buffalo held its own, but it’s also an older unit (despite having a faster processor). The ASUS RT-N66U is built for the next generation of high-speed, broadband Internet connections.
ASUS RT-N66U (2.4GHz)
Buffalo WZR-HP-AG300H (2.4GHz)
ASUS RT-N66U (5GHz)
Buffalo WZR-HP-AG300H (5GHz)
Next, I executed a barrage of throughput and latency tests using
iperf and a GUI for it,
jperf. I conducted tests with my MacBook Air as the client and the MacBook Pro as the server.
|Test||ASUS RT-N66U||Buffalo WZR-HP-AG300H||Comments|
|Wired to wired, TCP throughput||936 Mbps||938 Mbps||Negligible difference. Both are gigabit-class.|
|Wireless 5 GHz to wired, TCP throughput||178 Mbps||178 Mbps||Equivalent performance.|
|Wireless 2.4 GHz to wired, TCP throughput||92.3 Mbps||71.6 Mbps||Buffalo may have had some unexpected load|
|Wireless 5 GHz to wired, UDP 1 Mbps average latency||0.384 ms||0.384 ms||Equivalent performance|
|Wireless 2.4 GHz to wired, UDP 1 Mbps average latency||0.869 ms||0.460 ms||Even though its load was higher, the Buffalo kept latency lean|
|Wireless 5 GHz to wired, UDP 300 Mbps throughput with average latency||181 Mbps / 0.284 ms||180 Mbps / 0.060 ms||Again, the latency.|
|Wireless 2.4 GHz to wired, UDP 300 Mbps throughput with average latency||96.5 Mbps / 0.185 ms||72.6 Mbps / 0.673 ms||ASUS is the latency king here.|
|Roaming Wireless 5 GHz to wired, TCP throughput, Location 1 (same room, 5 ft away)||182 Mbps||152 Mbps||Asus keeps true throughout the location testing|
|Roaming Wireless 5 GHz to wired, TCP throughput, Location 2 (next room, 15 ft away)||180 Mbps||161 Mbps|
|Roaming Wireless 5 GHz to wired, TCP throughput, Location 3 (living room, 15 ft vertical away)||180 Mbps||120 Mbps|
|Roaming Wireless 5 GHz to wired, TCP throughput, Location 4 (kitchen, 25 ft diagonal away)||90.8 Mbps||46.3 Mbps||This is a tough location because of all of the electrical work, walls, appliances, and other devices in the way. The ASUS pulls through with nearly double the throughput.|
|Roaming Wireless 5 GHz to wired, TCP throughput, Location 5 (basement den, 30 ft vertical away)||121 Mbps||87.6 Mbps||Similar to the kitchen in opportunities for interference and signal degredation, my basement den is where my gaming rig and systems live.|
One note: there were other devices using the Buffalo’s 2.4 GHz network at the time of the review. I tried to turn off unnecessary devices, but some are required to be online at all times. This may have impacted performance for that test.
See this gist for the raw test results in text format.
I’m very pleased the the ASUS’s performance in all of these tests. Its affect on latency is within reason, but at least compared to the Buffalo, I’d expect a little better. I think we may be able to point to clock speed on this one.
* OK, if you want to nitpick, the RT-N66U and the WZR-HP-AG300H are a little more different. The Buffalo is a little older and features only 300 Mbps WiFi, but it’s still simultaneous dual-band with gigabit wired Ethernet. Its processor is actually faster, but it’s an Atheros chipset. It has less RAM: 128 MB to the RT-N66U’s 256 MB. Buffalo’s 450 Mbps router isn’t SDB, and they’re not making one because they’re skipping right to 802.11ac. Both run DD-WRT just fine!
Colin Dean has been a writer for ThinkComputers since 2006.