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First Peek At Wi-Fi 6: ASUS RT-AX88U & NETGEAR RAX80

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
But try as I might, I could not get the Lenovo to recognize the card, even with it upgraded to Windows 10 and with the latest Intel drivers.
Quite likely that Lenovo is using a whitelist card list in the BIOS, so only pre-approved cards will be supported by the laptop. A few manufacturers do that unfortunately.
 

Peter_M

Occasional Visitor
Good job even for a first look :) and I lol when you mentioned that there is a fan in the Netgear. I'm the one with whom you had a conversation about the problematic existence of a fan in the R9000. I appreciate that you talk about it.

I have another request :D. I saw an information on a German website about the consumption of each router and it might be that they are quite different. Since they have nearly the same hardware, I find that odd. Would you mind to check that information? and in general it would be great to have that information. It's up to you to decide.
 

avtella

Very Senior Member
Great article, just one correction @thiggins ; RAX 80 has 1GB RAM just like the AX88U.



I get a bit better HT160 results on the RAX80 vs the R7800, guess our different test environments account for that. As for the 5Ghz 80Mhz and 2.4 20 Mhz uplink I’m getting significantly higher than that flat line, was similar to the R7800 if not higher. My test client was a 9260ac though.

On HT160 it can hit (1,120 Mbps) 140 MB/s downlink from the Samsung T5 SSD I connected to the router, the 88U could probably do the same as they both use the same chipset.
 
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RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I have another request :D. I saw an information on a German website about the consumption of each router and it might be that they are quite different. Since they have nearly the same hardware, I find that odd.
Broadcom supports CPU throttling/frequency scaling on the BCM4908. This could make a difference depending on whether or not this is enabled by either manufacturer. Personally I would prefer it to not do any scaling, since networking can be very latency-sensitive. On the RT-AX88U:

Code:
[email protected]:/sys# cat devices/system/cpu/bcm_arm_cpuidle/
admin_max_freq         enable_auto_clkdiv     oper_max_freq          percent_inside_clkdiv  time_inside_clkdiv     time_outside_clkdiv    valid_freq_list
[email protected]:/sys# cat devices/system/cpu/bcm_arm_cpuidle/enable_auto_clkdiv 
0
[email protected]:/sys# cat devices/system/cpu/bcm_arm_cpuidle/valid_freq_list 
1800
900
450
225
I doubt it would save a lot of power, since these CPUs are already pretty low-power.
 

heidarren

Occasional Visitor
I noticed "For reference, I also retested NETGEAR's R7800 with v1.0.2.60 firmware" which known as buggy firmware especially Wi-Fi part and ppl talks about this in whole forum, why still using it for the test?
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
@avtella I’ll correct the RAM, thanks.

I doubt you’d see the uplink bug. It requires running downlink traffic all the way down to a very low signal level (MCS 1 or so), then running uplink traffic.

Interesting idea to use transfer from attached SSD to bypass single Gigabit port throughput limitation.
 

Cosmin Cazan

New Around Here
Great article, just one correction @thiggins ; RAX 80 has 1GB RAM just like the AX88U.



I get a bit better HT160 results on the RAX80 vs the R7800, guess our different test environments account for that. As for the 5Ghz 80Mhz and 2.4 20 Mhz uplink I’m getting significantly higher than that flat line, was similar to the R7800 if not higher. My test client was a 9260ac though.

On HT160 it can hit (1,120 Mbps) 140 MB/s downlink from the Samsung T5 SSD I connected to the router, the 88U could probably do the same as they both use the same chipset.
This is very interesting - so the SSD is attached to a USB port and you are seeing 1120Mbps ? Very cool.
I have tried USB ports on older generation routers (even the R7800), and in most cases speeds were less than expected, and less than the Wi-Fi rate. This would be a big improvement (and quite a bit more efficient than a NAS in certain ways).
 

avtella

Very Senior Member
Yeah the R7800 in terms of storage performance wasn’t that great, the RAX80 is a pretty strong performer in comparison and USB 3.0 is also a good way to truly test HT160 performance as you can bypass the Ethernet limit. The Broadcom chipset supports 2.5Gb Ethernet but unfortunately the device only has 1 Gb Ethernet ports.

Using my NAS I get around 114 MB/s down and 70-100 MB/s up, downlink being limited by ethernet.

The R7800 possibly could hit similar WiFi speeds but its storage performance isn’t that great and so you would not be able to utilize its HT160 ability to the fullest due to that bottleneck.
 
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idesign

Occasional Visitor
Great article, just one correction @thiggins ; RAX 80 has 1GB RAM just like the AX88U.



I get a bit better HT160 results on the RAX80 vs the R7800, guess our different test environments account for that. As for the 5Ghz 80Mhz and 2.4 20 Mhz uplink I’m getting significantly higher than that flat line, was similar to the R7800 if not higher. My test client was a 9260ac though.

On HT160 it can hit (1,120 Mbps) 140 MB/s downlink from the Samsung T5 SSD I connected to the router, the 88U could probably do the same as they both use the same chipset.
Is the increased storage performance in the RAX80 at all attributed to the 1GB of ram vs the 512MB in the R7800?
 

avtella

Very Senior Member
Probably not because the Linksys WRT3200AC which has weaker CPU and 512MB RAM also outperforms it storage wise.
 

Razor512

Senior Member
Quite likely that Lenovo is using a whitelist card list in the BIOS, so only pre-approved cards will be supported by the laptop. A few manufacturers do that unfortunately.
I wonder, it seems like no modding groups are working on modified bios anymore. For older Lenovo laptops, it used to be possible to just flash a modded version that disables the whitelist, some even unlocked the full range of settings (which made overclocking possible where allowed by the CPU). Did something change to make it now impossible for the user to modify the bios?
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Did something change to make it now impossible for the user to modify the bios?
Probably a number of potential reasons:

- Too many different models
- UEFI instead of BIOS now, might make it more difficult
- UEFI is possibly signed/crypted to prevent tampering against viruses that would otherwise insert themselves in the UEFI
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Interesting data - but I think the best part is the conclusion...

Meanwhile, device makers, router makers, the IEEE ax Working Group and myself have much more work to do. But if I were considering parting with the $400 it takes to bring one of these home right now, I'd come away unconvinced by anything I've shown in this report.
11ax isn't final yet, and this is first gen silicon and firmware... it's really early here, and with the lack of client support, it's a good time to wait and see...
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Probably not because the Linksys WRT3200AC which has weaker CPU and 512MB RAM also outperforms it storage wise.
The Marvell-based WRT's have always been strong on storage performance - that's a given... keep in mind that prior to the Belkin sale, WRT was supposed to be a base for something more, including a NAS like chassis plugged into the eSATA port on the WRT.

The only SoC's that were competitive against the Armada 38x have been either Annapurna Labs AL series, or Intel on x86... and that goes for NAS boxes as well.
 

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