Maximum PC compares seven 802.11n routers

Raise your hand if you have a wireless router at home. Yeah, I thought so. As a follow-up to a comparison of budget 802.11n routers published earlier this year, Maximum PC has rounded up seven high-end routers from an assortment of manufacturers. Each router’s wireless performance was tested in six different household locations, including an enclosed patio and outdoors at a distance of 85 feet.

The differences in throughput between the routers are quite striking, particularly in the outdoor test, in which two of the routers failed to connect at all. Of the seven models in the spotlight, Netgear’s RangeMax V1 scored the highest on the strength of its excellent performance and reasonable price. In somewhat of a surprise, Asus’ RT-N16 came in second place. Meanwhile, Linksys’ E3000 was deemed the worst of the bunch. Given that router’s relatively low throughput, it’s easy to see why.

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    • _Sigma
    • 9 years ago

    Glad I got the Netgear 🙂

    I just wish that DDWRT wasn’t so damn buggy on it :/

    • ronch
    • 9 years ago

    In our part of the world internet connections range from 768kbps to around 2.5 – 3.0mbps, and it’s relatively expensive. Given that even today’s low end 802.11b devices can put out 11mbps I wonder what benefit 801.11g/n can give us here except for broader and more reliable coverage. How I wish faster and cheaper internet connection plans are here.

      • swaaye
      • 9 years ago

      Wireless networks have a ton of overhead so the ratings don’t mean a lot for the practical speed. 802.11b does around 5mbps best case and 802.11g is good for around 33mbps typically. Even with N you will only see about 1/2 to 2/3 of the speed rating realized.

      For pure Internet connectivity, G is a good spot to be at. N is a bit overkill for that at this point, unless you have a lot of wireless clients or you have an awesome internet link. Also realize that wireless performance drops quickly with a lot of active clients so having some extra performance isn’t without benefit.

      Not everyone uses wireless for only Internet access though. Transferring files between computers happens too and that’s when N’s ~100mbps speed is pretty nice. I’d rather run a wire and be on gigabit myself though.

        • UberGerbil
        • 9 years ago

        While there’s definitely overhead, the reason you see no more than 5Mbps on b is because the oft-quoted “11Mbps” is for /[

          • willmore
          • 9 years ago

          q[

    • swaaye
    • 9 years ago

    I bought myself one of those Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH routers months ago. I put OpenWRT on it after trying the stock and DDWRT options for a bit. OpenWRT is a pain to set up but it works quite well when you get it figured out. You get so many software and configuration options with OpenWRT. It’s really nuts. And since this router has 64MB of RAM and 32MB flash you can install a ton of stuff and it all runs quite well.

    • Jeff72
    • 9 years ago

    Asus RT-N16 + Tomato (Teddy Bear USB mod) = Win

    §[< http://www.linksysinfo.org/forums/showthread.php?t=63587<]§

    • Krogoth
    • 9 years ago

    TL DR;

    WLANs = a trade-off for convenience at the cost of security/performance.

      • Corrado
      • 9 years ago

      You don’t like anything, do you?

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    never had as many network issues with any other brand as I have had with linksys.

    I’m suprised they didn’t have coninous drops and even the monthly lockup from that brand. I even had one outright die! For whatever reason that brand is everywhere and yet they stink.

      • kvndoom
      • 9 years ago

      That is what happens when marketing overtakes quality and innovation.

        • UberGerbil
        • 9 years ago

        Well, in LinkSys’ case I think it’s more like this is what happens when a larger competitor buys you out and makes sure you don’t produce anything that encroaches on their turf. Since they are now Cisco’s “consumer” brand, their corporate masters don’t want them to be anything but cheap and ubiquitous; they certainly don’t want them to offer anything that would cause a customer to buy one instead of a solid “business” or “enterprise” class box with Cisco’s name on it (and that includes allowing things like installable firmware that would enable end-users to acquire some of those higher-end features).

          • willmore
          • 9 years ago

          Shhh, don’t tell them about dd-wrt nor the ‘WRT160N to e1000’ nor ‘WRT320N to e2000’ mods. 🙂

    • UberGerbil
    • 9 years ago

    I haven’t had a chance to read the article, but I’m not surprised Netgear came out on top. I’ve been increasingly impressed with their products over the past couple of years.

    • Klopsik206
    • 9 years ago

    This is review I miss on TR!

    Why don’t you capitalize on your experience of indepth reviewing GPU/CPU/Mobos and move on to phperipherals a like networking, monitors, input devices, NAS storage, etc.

    There’s really not too much such (quality) reviews on the net, and you’ll be able to attract quite an audience I think.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Probably because the manufacturers don’t give them those things. :p

    • mongoosesRawesome
    • 9 years ago

    This was in the comments section of that article (by Pokey):

    l[

      • willmore
      • 9 years ago

      Wait, what? Are they saying that some router is not passing IPv6 traffic between the switch ports to the wireless side? That’s bizarre. Are you sure they didn’t have some kind of ‘wireless isolation’ feature on? My Linksys routers have an option to not let the wireless nodes contact each other. Could that be the cause of this?

    • Sahrin
    • 9 years ago

    Throughput is less important than concurrent connections and latency. Any one of these routers double the throughput of all but the most aggressive common home broadband connections. What sucks is when your router chokes on a torrent (of…Linux ISO’s…) because it can’t support more than a dozen simultaneous connections.

    The best router I’ve found for such a task have been D-link’s gamerlounge series, but again the pricing is, in the words of Chris Farley, /[

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      It might be less important for you. Torrents aren’t the top priority for everybody.

        • Sahrin
        • 9 years ago

        …since when are Torrents the only mutli-session application?

        Man, you guys really need to broaden your usage definitions. Not everyone needs to go 100mph in a car either, but that doesn’t stop almost every one from having a speedo that goes all the way. As I noted, throughput (what MaxPC was testing) is largely irrelevant for routers because they can all pump out more bandwidth than even the fastest home IP connection.

          • mmp121
          • 9 years ago

          I know MOST homes do not have fiber to the house, but my 50/50 fiber connection WILL saturate my wireless G. Not that I use torrent over wireless.

          However, whenever I run speedtests, I know my G wireless will not show my full download/upload speed.

          When I do upload pictures from my laptop to Picasa or video to Youtube, the wireless limit is noticeable.

            • Sahrin
            • 9 years ago

            That’s unfortunate for you, but because we’re talking about N routers, it’s not relevant to my comment.

            In addition, you’ll notice I was careful to say ” all but the most aggressive common home broadband connections.” I believe an N router could probably handle the throughput of a 50/50 anyways, but I wanted to leave the possibility open that it would not (in the case of the Linksys router, for instance).

        • potatochobit
        • 9 years ago

        torrents and DDL are in fact the top priority for everybody who is looking to upgrade a new router

        oh yeah, and gaming

      • Thrashdog
      • 9 years ago

      I’ve been through a whole herd of wireless routers and I’m *this* far away from just giving up and building a x86 box for OpenWRT. It seems like there’s not a single good router available for less than a Benjamin, and for that kind of money I’d rather do it myself.

      • Vaughn
      • 9 years ago

      Have to agree with you on this.

      I own a DGL 4500 and aslong as you stay on the 1.15 firmware its rock solid with torrents running. Read a review few years back before I bought it and this was able to handle just over 200+ connections. No dropped connections for wireless and can easily get 50+ days uptime before I go in and change something in the router and have to reboot it.

      Its will do G and N at 2.4 but not at 5Ghz which is the only downside I can see.

      I’ve heard so many good things about that netgear router, I may have to take alook at their next model when or if I decide to upgrade which doesn’t look to likely anytime soon.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    Thanks for the link. I think this is an increasingly important part of computers and electronics in general that is largely overlooked. So many people buy the cheapest router they can find and then wonder why their wi-fi blows.

    • kvndoom
    • 9 years ago

    /[

    • indeego
    • 9 years ago

    Been through 4 routers, eventually I just unplugged them and craigslisted them. Don’t know what the deal is, but I can’t find a combination that works “perfectly” with three wired PC’s, a 802.11n laptop, a Droid, and an iPhone 3Gs. On every single router I’d eventually have to reset it, sometimes as often as weeklyg{<.<}g Have been meaning to build my own but lazyness crept ing{<.<}g Why not will give the netgear a shot...

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