Wi-Fi 6 Performance Roundup: Five Routers Tested

  • ATTENTION! As of November 1, 2020, you are not able to reply to threads 6 months after the thread is opened if there are more than 500 posts in the thread.
    Threads will not be locked, so posts may still be edited by their authors.
    Just start a new thread on the topic to post if you get an error message when trying to reply to a thread.

sanke1

Senior Member
The whole thing is starting to smell so much like marketing non-sense to me... "You MAY find SOME benefit IF you have this many clients, they all use OFDMA, the moon is aligned with Mars, and the outside temperature is between 18C and 22C. Expected benefit is around 1-2%. Now go buy new Wifi 6 devices!"

It's starting to look even less worthwhile than MU-MIMO (which, again, looked great on paper, but did next to nothing in real life scenarios).
So OFDMA is another marketing mumbo jumbo invented by Router companies overcharge for their products just like MU-MIMO never worked as promised?

I am just grateful that AI Mesh is at least working properly here.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
OFDMA isn't marketing fluff. But it is another technology that theoretically provides improvements that are hard to actually produce in the real world.

I'm not ready to lump it in with MU-MIMO, mainly because there are no products that have OFDMA enabled in both uplink and downlink on both 2.4 and 5 GHz. But in the testing I've done with the half-baked forms of OFDMA that are available, I'm having a very difficult time producing consistent measurable improvement in total throughput.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Some routers are configured that they won't try to use OFDMA (HE-MU frames) until four AX devices are present. Others will do it with two AX STAs.

That makes sense... typically one would not see any benefit with a single client obviously, and I would say that even with two in general use, it might not make much of a difference, except in certain tests/benchmarks.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Something more deterministic and with less latency than the current contention-based protocol(s).
AFAIK, AX doesn't have queue management like AQL or other bufferbloat mitigation mechanisms. OFDMA brings a second multi-user technology into the mix, which, like MU-MIMO could end up not adding practical benefit for more users, at the expense of really complicating AP design.
 

CrystalLattice

Senior Member
RAX40 cons: is incompatible with several 2.4ghz clients, causes Roku remote controls to degrade batteries quickly by frequent voltage checks. Intel AX200 wifi card in new HP laptops require 3 network resets to install and work properly. May require resets in future as windows 10 "loses" driver on major upgrades. RAX40, RAX35, and AX200 not ready for typical consumer use. OK for IT user who enjoys solving minor difficulties. RAX40 is $50 on ebay, Ax200 is $8 on amazon.
 

Jaybonaut

New Around Here
Well, if this is the case, what would you all recommend for a home router that isn't a crazy price?
 

Sachb

Regular Contributor
Well, if this is the case, what would you all recommend for a home router that isn't a crazy price?

For now, stick to AC wave 2, in particularly Netgear, as that seems to be the best all rounder atm. Netgear R7800.

Asus, is good too but it depends on your luck, whether you'll get the defective version with the broken radios or a solid working unit. If you're going for the Asus ensure it's manufacturing year is 2019 or up.
 

jsz

Regular Contributor
For now, stick to AC wave 2, in particularly Netgear, as that seems to be the best all rounder atm. Netgear R7800.

Asus, is good too but it depends on your luck, whether you'll get the defective version with the broken radios or a solid working unit. If you're going for the Asus ensure it's manufacturing year is 2019 or up.

Agree with this. QCA9984 seems to be the most stable 5g radio from personal testing, though I want to retest the GT-AC2900 again (AC86U rebrand) to make sure there wasn't something I missed.

The AX stuff I've messed with worked ok, but I feel like there was compromises unless I paid a min $350 USD for an AX88U or higher end 12 stream Qualcomm design (400+ on sale). Just doesn't seem logical to me.

The Netgear XR450 (R7800 rebrand with the QAM limited to standard levels) is the only router that has matched and exceeded the AX products I've tried in terms of range vs speed.


Edit: Retested GT-AC2900. Getting much better performance than the last one I had which was likely defective. Both the R7800 and AC86U + rebrands are likely the best options as of 2020 for solid (budget) router performance at range. QCA radios seem more responsive overall (both 80 and 160mhz), but the range vs performance is a little worse than this new GT-AC2900 on 80mhz 4x4 MIMO. As mentioned, ASUS might be hit or miss depending on batch. The first one I had returned had really poor performance.

Using an AX200 and Iphone X for testing.
 
Last edited:

Jaybonaut

New Around Here
Well, I have been using a R7800 but it's getting a bit long in the tooth and was hoping there was some improvements from a company somewhere - sister was looking for a recommendation
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
I think we are on hold for right now but of course if you don't have anything kind of hard to wait.
 

CrystalLattice

Senior Member
RAX 35/40 V1.0.3.80 causes drops and basic router failure, rollback to V1.0.3.62_1.0.1 for reliability. RAX35/40 still the best price/performance wifi 6 solution. No surprise that Mu-mimo and OFDM are unworkable.
 

jsz

Regular Contributor
RAX 35/40 V1.0.3.80 causes drops and basic router failure, rollback to V1.0.3.62_1.0.1 for reliability. RAX35/40 still the best price/performance wifi 6 solution. No surprise that Mu-mimo and OFDM are unworkable.


Every wifi6 solution I've tried under $200 has way too many trade offs IMO. Range to wifi performance is a big one for me and all these 2x2 solutions just suck in my home.

I'd skip wifi 6 until 4x4 AX is cheaper/refined. Maybe 2nd gen like AC wave 2.

Id argue that the cheaper 2x2 solutions are fine in the sub $100 USD price bracket, but its really subjective to environment and needs.
 

mjc775

Occasional Visitor
@thiggins I was just re-reading the articles and may have missed whether or not MU-MIMO and/or Implicit Beamforming was enabled on the test routers. The RvR drop-off then stabilization with increased attenuation on the 5 Ghz band with the Broadcom devices is puzzling, and I'm wondering if the MU-MIMO/Beamforming settings had anything to do with it? I'm also curious if current firmware as of late 2020 has corrected the curve based on the original settings.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Unless otherwise indicated, I test with default settings. I didn't make note of those particular settings.
Since I have not retested the products, I can't comment on whether the behavior found in the review has changed.
 

Frankflash

Senior Member
AFAIK, AX doesn't have queue management like AQL or other bufferbloat mitigation mechanisms. OFDMA brings a second multi-user technology into the mix, which, like MU-MIMO could end up not adding practical benefit for more users, at the expense of really complicating AP design.




Its a shame thats theirs no Queue Management or bufferbloat mitigation mechanisms add in
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Its a shame thats theirs no Queue Management or bufferbloat mitigation mechanisms add in

FWIW - it's incredibly hard to do scheduling across 802.11g/a/n/ac and now ax...

Best I can hope for at the moment is to get rid of the legacy 802.11b items - which impacts airtime...
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
thiggins Review ASUS Mesh Roundup: Two Zens and a TriBand Wireless Article Discussions 9

Similar threads

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!

Members online

Top