With the hardware resources it has, the BR-6574n cannot be expected to deliver high performance. We know that from our tests of the Trendnet TEW-672GR router that had almost the same components. We will compare these two routers in today’s test session. However, we will use a different model for the WLAN bandwidth test because the TEW-672GR has a dual-band RF module. Therefore we will use a Linksys WRT-350n instead – it showed high performance in our earlier tests. Moreover, we’ve got network cards from the same manufacturers and based on the same chipsets as are employed in the routers.
Here is the list of equipment and software we used for the tests:
- Two Category 5e Ethernet cables
- Linksys WRT350N wireless router
- Trendnet TEW-672GR wireless router
- Edimax BR-6574n wireless router
- Linksys WPC300N v2 PC Card
- Intel Centrino notebook
- PC based on a mainboard with an integrated Gigabit Ethernet controller
- IxChariot’s High_Performance_Throughput and Throughput scenarios
First we measured the router’s maximum bandwidth which is achieved when transferring data between two of its LAN ports.
The speed is impressive but there are occasional slumps that spoil the overall picture somewhat.
Next we measured the bandwidth of the router’s WAN-LAN segment. We tested a direct connection as well as a VPN tunnel. As you know, a VPN connection is almost always accompanied with a considerable reduction in the data-transfer rate. We tested the direct connection by specifying the WAN port address manually and exchanging data between the two endpoints in both directions. When testing a VPN connection, we chose the PPPoE protocol. We established a PPPoE server on the Linux machine (see the list of test equipment above) and created an endpoint. Then we connected the tested rooter to that server and attached a notebook with IxChariot to the router’s LAN.
First we had wanted to publish the results for two connection variants: with the firewall and QoS on and off. However, the results were almost identical in both cases, so we will only publish the numbers we had with these services turned on.
As you can see, the Edimax router has rather modest performance for a Gigabit Ethernet router, yet it is far faster than the TEW-672GR, probably because the latter is inferior in terms of firmware. Both routers have a low data-transfer rate when working via the VPN tunnel, which indicates the full utilization of the scanty resources of the SoC controller. This supposition is confirmed by the fact that both routers deliver the same results then.
Next we tested the router’s ability to support multiple simultaneous connections, which is important for peer-to-peer networks. To perform this test we created a pair in IxChariot using the Throughput scenario in which we changed the file_size parameter from 100,000 to 1,000,000. Then we began to increase the number of pairs by replicating them until there were errors during the test. We stopped at 160 connections with the BR-6574n and at 700 connections with the TEW-672GR (that was in fact the maximum number of simultaneous connections in IxChariot). Well, even though Trendnet’s router is unrivalled in this test, the BR-6574n has a very good result for a midrange product.
The wireless connection in draft 802.11n mode was tested using WPA2 PSK encryption with the AES algorithm. These security settings are the default ones in the draft version of the new standard and are likely to remain such in the final version. We used the following pairs of router and WLAN card: the WRT350N with WPC300N and the BR-6574n with EW-7708Pn.
The BR-6574n is suddenly ahead of its opponent here. Such a big advantage looks unexpected. The Edimax’s performance is good here especially as the WRT350N is one of the fastest Draft N routers available. The recent update of the WLAN driver (something that the WRT350N has not had for a while already) has been most beneficial for the BR-6574n.
Next we measured the signal level of the router’s WLAN-LAN connection in five points:
Point 1: Near the router
Point 2: At a distance of 4 meters without obstacles
Point 3: At a distance of 5 meters + two thin gypsum wallboards
Point 4: At a distance of 6 meters + one brick wall, about 30cm thick
Point 5: At a distance of 17 meters + one thin gypsum wallboard and one 30cm brick wall
Despite the good result at the beginning of the test, the BR-6574n is inferior to its opponent at the last and most important point. This should have been expected as every router from Linksys we have tested together with their native WPC300N card has a very good transmission even over long distances.
Thus, the BR-6574n router has done well enough in our tests, thanks to the updated firmware and the new driver of the network card. The BR-6574n is also considerably cheaper than its opponents, which is an advantage, too.