If you checked out our review of the Synology RT-2600ac, you'll see that we're testing in the same environment:
I live in a small apartment building with anywhere from 20 to 28 wireless networks of various types in range at any given moment. In short, this isn't the sort of environment where we'll be pushing the router to its upper limits of top speeds. Instead, we'll find out how it does in a realistic environment with high interference.
Test point A, my office, has a few walls and corners between it and the router, and is about 25' away from the router in a straight line. Test point B, my bedroom, has one wall between it and the router and is just under 20' away. Test point C, my living room, is about 5' away from the router with only a thin sheet of particle board obstructing the connection.
To put each router to the task, I ran a few tests from each location above. First, I ran internet speed tests through Speedtest.net and ran iPerf with the default settings. After that, I performed two different file transfer tests. A group of ZIP files totalling 9.53GB made up the large file transfer test. For smaller files, I pulled together a 4.63 GB folder comprising 998 JPG images.
The machine for the wired networking tests is my personal desktop, a Core i5-4590S-powered system with a Samsung 840 EVO SSD. That PC sits behind a Netgear ProSafe GS105 switch connected to one of the Asus' gigabit ports. The laptop on hand is my Lenovo X1 Yoga notebook with a 128 GB SSD. Transfers were done from the desktop to the wireless device in each case.
As we discovered when we reviewed the Synology RT-2600ac, tinkering with wireless channels didn't result in any significant difference in wireless throughput. Here's what we found after running each speed test and iPerf test twice, and each file transfer once.
When running some basic tests with iPerf, I saw some variable results. When testing 802.11ac on 5 GHz, I was surprised to see a pretty negligible amount of variation. The Synology unit performed a bit better at closer ranges, while the Asus router won out slightly from my office. On the 802.11n tests on the 2.4 GHz band, however, the Synology router handily outperformed Asus' RT-AC1900P both at close range and at further distances.
I proceeded to run some internet speed tests with the two routers. There's a little wiggle room here, as I can't account for inconsistency in the servers at the other end. Nevertheless, the Asus router won out by a slim margin more often than not. On the 5 GHz 802.11ac tests, the Asus router outperforms the Synology unit by a little bit—though similarly to what happened with the iPerf rounds, Synology's router seems to offer consistenly better mid-range throughput. As for the 2.4 GHz band, the Asus router did a solid job at long distance, while shorter-distance tests painted both units in a similar light.
Let's take a look at file transfer tests now, a task that more closely replicates a user's real-world usage scenario. Coincidentally, this is also the point where we start seeing significant differences between both routers on hand.
In every head-to-head comparison, the Asus AC1900P outperformed the RT-2600ac, in some cases contradicting the behavior observed on previous tests. Despite the fact that the Synology box pulled much better iPerf results on the long-range 802.11n tests, actual file transfers went faster on the Asus side. In both the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz tests, the Synology showed some mysteriously long transfer times in a couple cases, while the Asus router kept showing improved times as the distances were reduced. The tests seem to reveal that variations in obstacles between the test laptop and the router affected the Synology unit more than the Asus one, as well.
Overall, the AC1900P hangs right with the Synology RT-2600ac in our synthetic tests, and its real-world performance often proved noticeably swifter than the Synology's. The Asus' slightly better to moderately better performance than the Synology at long ranges is worthy of note, as well. Both of these routers are fine performers, but the Asus takes the edge.
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