Wireless Networking: Nine 802.11n Routers Rounded Up

Benchmark Results: 1GB Transfer, Many Files

Not so long ago, we viewed the 10-foot location 1 test as more theoretical than practical. After all, why would anyone run a wireless device 10 feet from a wired router? Well, with sustained 11n speeds now outstripping 10/100 Ethernet and an explosion in the number and type of Wi-Fi-enabled devices throughout our lives, the practicality and importance of near-range scores only seems to be increasing. So whereas we used to dismiss location 1 results, we now consider all three result sets to be equally important. Wireless devices get used everywhere in the home.

We’ll warn you now: get ready to see a lot of the Linksys router in our discussion here. The ideal thing we want to see are three closely grouped bars at high throughput levels. The norm is to see best results at close range and a steep fall-off as distance and obstacles increase. Check out the D-Link “from router” results for a perfect example of this. Obviously, we want great results at every location. In our 2.4 GHz file transfer tests, both to and from the router, Linksys emerges as the force to beat, never dropping under a 50 Mb/s average in either direction.

ZyXEL and Asus’ N16 put in very respectable showings, both managing to sustain well, save for the N16's drop at location 2. The perplexing thing is how an under-performer like the Belkin N150 takes a big performance leap at location 2 in the “to router” test while disappointing in locations 1 and 3. Go figure.

On the 5 GHz side, Linksys and Ruckus seize the first and second spots. Apparently, the “from router” tests were tougher on three of these four units, Ruckus being the constant exception that makes pretty much every test look easy.

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  • Dandalf
    I'd buy the Linksys if it didn't have a bloody spoiler on it. Chavviest router I ever saw.
  • madskillz12_1
    £20 cashback on the Linksys until 30/4/10 as well. You'd be mad not to.
  • daglesj
    Belkin routers are a joke. I bought a low end one as a spare. It couldnt get a speed of higher than 2Mbps. Any other router would get 6Mbps+. After several attempts of getting a sane response from Belkin India, one of their techs finally admitted that model has an issue with the Firewall. Switch it off and speed goes back up. He said a firmware update would sort it. Nearly a year later...yup no firmware. A couple of my customers have the new Belkin N spec routers. Really bad.
  • chronicbint
    Surprising, I am on my second Belkin N router and they have all worked perfectly well.
  • hairystuff
    I've realised with Belkin routers they sometimes have multiple revisions of the same product code/model number, some of the revision work really well and others are pure trash, I've noticed this with D-Link aswell but generally the differences are marginally acceptable.
  • gagaga
    I'm not normally a fan of Apple gear, but I can get 14MB/s (equal to 112Mb/s) from my airport extreme (the older 2 aerial one) on big files.

    Guessing the laptop (Vaio TZ) has a big influence - that has three separate aerials and the top-end Intel card, and the fact mine is the only 5GHz network in the area...
  • Accurim
    What did you use with the WRT610N? I'd be interested in getting it based on the benchmarks but I'd have to get the same client adaptor also.

    I believe you did your testing with a laptop also, if I were to get a desktop adaptor would this be fine: