review of INTEL® WIRELESS-AC 9260/9560?

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messerchmidt

Occasional Visitor
hello,

thinking of upgrading the less than spectacular intel 3168 dual band wifi in my laptop. i noticed the new generation of intel cards are out.

https://www.intel.com/content/www/u...less-products/dual-band-wireless-ac-9560.html

and

https://www.intel.ca/content/www/ca...less-products/dual-band-wireless-ac-9260.html

they seem identical expect for the oem/retail availability and form factor. do you guys want to do a review? perhaps compare it to other laptop wifi devices from killer, atheros, broadcom, older intel wifi, etc?
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Review of laptop cards might not be very useful, because it will be highly dependent on the antennas used by the specific laptop using that card.
 

messerchmidt

Occasional Visitor
true, would be interesting through - same laptop - swap from intel 3168 to a 9260, any real benefit?

maybe try different antennas?
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
maybe try different antennas?
Antennas aren't really replaceable. They're generally long wires that run around the edge of the screen. That's why just modifying the orientation of your screen can affect throughput (I accidentally noticed it during a quick test of my own, where leaning forward with the laptop on me would have a significant impact on my benchmark results).

Also, switching cards isn't always possible. A lot of laptop manufacturers implement whitelists in the BIOS to only allow very specific cards, unfortunately.

One way I could see Tim being able to run some sort of test would be to use a PCI-Express adaptor, and try different cards with the same antennas to compare results. That might be a way to compare performance of different card models, however the information would be of limited use to potential buyers, as their laptop's own antenna would have a great impact on their own results.
 
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avtella

Very Senior Member
As RMerlin said laptops vary in antenna arrangement/placement which can make comparisons between different peoples setups hard. Some laptops have the wires run upHaving said that, initial testing in comparison to the 8265 shows a rooughly 30-50 Mbps improvement on Up and Downlink on my Inspiron 7577. With HT160 enabled, about 15ft from the router behind 2 walls at a 1.3Gbs link rate I get about 880 Mbps in real world down link speeds and an actual decline in uplink speeds to around 320Mbps. With HT80 and a 866Mbps link rate at same location I get 560-600 Mbps downink and around 400-440 Mbps uplink.

Testing was done using a 2.8GB file transfer between my ReadyNAS 524X and my Dell Inspiron 7577.

The 9560 is essentially the same as a 9260 overall, however layout wise, part of the chip's functionality is on board the motherboard and it uses a different form factor for the WiFi add on card. Performance wise they should be identical. So basically you want the 9260 to replace your 3168 not the two part solution which is the 9560.

The 3168 is 433 Mbps part and the 9260 is a 866 Mbps part with 1733 Mbps link rate at HT160. In real world transfers you'd see a huge difference between the two units. Expect at best 60-75% real world speeds vs what link rate is shown.

As for Killer cards, the 1535 is just a rebrand of the Quacomm QCA6174A and the 1550 is literally an Intel 9260ac (even mentioned as such on Intel's own site). Even the drivers are standard Intel and Qualcomm ones respectively. Only difference is you get the Killer suite which I have seen many people complain is more a hassle than a benefit. In addition the 1535/QCA6174A had driver issues which led to intermittent disconnects and so some people began replacing them with Intel 8265 cards.

Dell/Asus in my experince have no white lists, as Dell even allows you to have warranty after replacing WiFi cards, drives and ram.

HP/Lenovo I have heard implement whitelists.
 
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System Error Message

Part of the Furniture
i would not worry much about laptop card performance, only drivers because my laptop comes with killer wifi and i sometimes am not able to connect to a specific AP until i reinstall the card and restart which is a pain.

Intel cards also have a similar driver issue where it will not connect to wifi after sleep/hibernate.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
The one thing I like about Intel adapters for WiFi, is that most of them have decent linux client support, might be the reason why many Chromebooks use Intel WiFi client adapters..

QCA does as well, for some of their chipsets at least...
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
QCA does as well, for some of their chipsets at least...
They better do, since their biggest market is probably the smartphone business :)
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
They better do, since their biggest market is probably the smartphone business :)
Not so sure - Broadcom still has a huge amount of that business - or should I say had - since they sold off a good chunk of that business over to Cypress... The QCA WiFi/BT solutions are not integrated yet into QCOM's SnapDragon chips, so it's an add-in, and a bit spendy (as it Marvell)

On Android - the BRCM solutions are still very common - lot of times, with teardowns, etc, they're integrated as SOP's... system on package, so...

I was speaking more towards Linux on the desktop, and there, Intel's chips aren't so bad...
 

avtella

Very Senior Member
Other than initial issues with the 7260ac, Intel ac cards are pretty stable. Can's say the same with Killer 1535 and Broadcom BCM4350 (Dell1820A), this one has the added feature of failing to connect to Bluetooth headsets for like more than a second. Solved my issues by replacing the latter (in an XPS 9350) with the 8265.
 

Toddimus

Occasional Visitor
I just got the Killer Wireless AC-1550 and installed it into my Lenovo P70 Thinkpad. No WiFi card whitelist issue with this card/laptop combo. WHEW!
Speeds didn't really change much from the stock Intel 8260 but bufferbloat scores on dslreports.com/speedtest improved dramatically! Went from D or F bufferbloat with the old card to A or A+ with the new card. I'm all Asus for my routers (see my sig below) so I don't have any HT160 bandwidth 5GHz radios to test that part. I'm contemplating getting a Netgear X4S router and using it as an access point for my usual laptop usage area. Or maybe a Ubiquit AP??
 

avtella

Very Senior Member
Nah don't get a router just for HT160, it was cool to test and see high transfer rates but range and reliability will be better on HT80. Unless doing large transfers between a laptop and NAS you should be fine with your 86U. You're 9260ac also has better Downlink/uplink performance than the 8260ac. At least coming from an 8265ac I noticed around 50-80Mbps increase Down and around 40-50 Up.
 

Toddimus

Occasional Visitor
That's just it, I do an Acronis backup every night from my laptop to my Synology NAS, so transfer rate matters. My laptop would be the only thing that can use the HT160 bandwidth. I'll wait a bit to see what others have success with. :)
 

avtella

Very Senior Member
In addition to the gains at HT80 with the 9260ac, On HT160 at 1.3 Gbps Link rate (15ft with 2 walls in between) I got 105-110 MB/s Down and 45-50 MB/s Up between my Dell Inspiron 7577 and my NAS. With Gigabit Ethernet being the main bottle neck I highly doubt even at 1.7 Gbps link rate I’d get much higher than that. One side effect on HT160 however was occasional disconnects.
 
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coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
Other than initial issues with the 7260ac, Intel ac cards are pretty stable. Can's say the same with Killer 1535 and Broadcom BCM4350 (Dell1820A), this one has the added feature of failing to connect to Bluetooth headsets for like more than a second. Solved my issues by replacing the latter (in an XPS 9350) with the 8265.
I have a 7260ac in my laptop. What are the issues? I am getting ready to install a Cisco WAP371.
 

Toddimus

Occasional Visitor
Just did a test with a 700MB file transfer between my Thinkpad P70 and the NAS using TeraCopy. At the 866 link rate, I'm getting 51-54 MB/s in both directions which translates to about 410-430Mbps, which roughly matches what I get when doing web-based speed tests. Doubling that would be awesome! :)
So the theoretical max with the gigabit ethernet connection to the NAS would be 1000Mbps or 125MBps. Looks like you are nearly saturating the gigabit ethernet link. Having the full 1733 link with port aggregation between the NAS and router would be even better! Might run into transfer rate limitations with read/write to the disk array in the NAS at those rates. That would be a good problem to have! :)
 

avtella

Very Senior Member
I have a 7260ac in my laptop. What are the issues? I am getting ready to install a Cisco WAP371.
Issues have been fixed a while back:
There were issues with U-APSD (now disabled by default) and connectivity issues/low speeds.


Toddimus, on HT80 with 15 ft, 2 walls, I get around 72-75 MB/s Down and 40-45 MB/s Up. Same speeds one floor below the R7800. You will notice my previous HT160 Uplink speeds are almost the same as HT80 it didn’t improve much in contrast to downlink. So it won’t help you too much with backups.

As for the NAS yeah the 7,200 RPM drives and Ethernet speeds are the huge bottleneck, even with aggregation the drives would limit the throughput. Ironically the R8500 which is a weaker router has link aggregation but with a 2x2 client even if I had SSDs the WiFi is limited to HT80.
 
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Toddimus

Occasional Visitor
...

Toddimus, on HT80 with 15 ft, 2 walls, I get around 72-75 MB/s Down and 40-45 MB/s Up. Same speeds one floor below the R7800. You will notice my previous HT160 Uplink speeds are almost the same as HT80 it didn’t improve much in contrast to downlink. So it won’t help you too much with backups.
That makes sense. Upload speed is the one that will matter for me. I will definitely keep an eye on things here though. There might be a "killer" setup that someone finds.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
@avtella - my testing...

the intel 8265 pretty much is the same as any other 2x stream client adapter. And there, it's pretty good - Win and Linux there.

Moving away from the "wave 2" stuff, along with the propriety things and what not... really is case dependent.
 

avtella

Very Senior Member
So I think the main reason at least on the R7800 why the 9260ac only works at HT160 at the lower channels is that the card doesn't support 80+80 non-contiguous bonding, someone correct me if I'm mistaken. It's working consistently now with lower channels.

Did a fresh test one floor directly below the router. It connects at a 1.7Gbs Link rate and I get 114-112 MB/s Down and 69-70 MB/s Up , makes sense since the router is on the ground which is 1 floor vs 2 walls when it comes to me room even though on the same floor hence lower speeds there.
 
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