Linksys WRT1200AC Router & RE6700 Extender Review
Performance Testing USB 3.0
While USB has indeed be a mainstay of routers for as long as we can remember, high performance routers now also provide USB 3.0 and not just USB 2.0 ports. As most consumers know USB 3.0 brings numerous enhancements to the table including higher bandwidth potential and increase power over USB capabilities. As we have seen many times in the past reality sometimes can wildly differ than theory and there are numerous ‘USB 3.0’ devices which actually perform at the same levels as their previous USB 2 counterparts.
To see exactly how much capabilities USB 3.0 adds to the router we devised a very simple test. Using an empty Seagate GoFlex Slim 320GB device we connected it to the USB 3 a port of the router. We then configured it as a network drive and using MS RichCopy measured the performance via wired, 2.4HGz wireless and 5GHz wireless.
The only reason the WRT1200AC does not score higher in the charts than it did was because it is a 2×2 capable device in a chart filled with 3×3 routers and it simply lacks some of the bandwidth of more expensive models. This does put this model at a distinct disadvantage but as you can see the differences aren’t massive and it provides more than adequate throughput numbers.
Signal Strength tests
A good strong signal is a prerequisite of high performance wireless networking. If a device can barely send or receive a signal, the speeds will be very low as both devices will opt for a slower connection speed to compensate. To test signal strength we use inSSIDer, a program which can graph signal strength of all wireless signals being received by the computer’s wireless NIC.
All things considered the WRT1200AC posts some very decent numbers, but its budget-friendly design does hold things back in some instances. The RE6700 meanwhile also posted some rather impressive throughput figures considering its small size and 2×2 handicap. If anything, it is the more impressive solution here since it can seriously boost performance in areas where a typical 1-point router setup will suffer.