Primarily this blog post should focus on Linksys EA9500 real life performance. However since I have several WiFi routers on my desk right now, I thought it would be interesting to compare their performance before I giving them away. Primary focus was WiFi performance, surprisingly I ended up with some other discoveries about WiFi performance and how can it be affected by different factors.

Routers tested

The routers under my radar in this speed test are:

  • Linksys EA9500
  • Linksys WRT160NL
  • BT Home HUB 5 Type A (tests still pending due to locked down router, will test once worked around)
  • ZTE Hyperoptic ZXHNH298N

The internet provider plan used during this test is 150mbps which theoretically should mean 18.75Mb/s (actual megabytes per second).

Client devices

WiFi client devices that I used for this test are:

  • Samsung Galaxy S8
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
  • MacBook Pro (2017 model)
  • Desktop Windows PC (with ASUS integrated WiFi adapter)

I have used SpeedTest app for measuring real life performance of the routers. The tested WiFi routers were one wall away from the client devices that I have tested with.

Speed measurements table

Every WiFi Speed measurement was taken at least three times. WiFi routers speed tests and results are written in format:
ping[ms]|download[mbps]|upload[mbps] – 3ms|31Mbps|18Mbps.

Device \ Router Linksys WRT160NL BT HUB Hyperoptic Linksys EA9500
S8 2.4GHz
Original firmware

3|31.2|18.2
3|34.8|24.1
3|36.3|30.2
3|34.6|32.4
Settings changed
2|34.2|22.8
2|34|31
DDWRT firmware
2|43.7|40.2
3|42.8|44.6
2|44.9|41.5
N/A 2.4GHz
3|82.1|87.3
3|80.8|84.3
3|81.8|78.2
2.4GHz
4|90.5|81.8
6|82.5|83.6
4|82.2|81.7
5GHz
4|206|187
4|205|213
4|204|208
Tab S2 2.4GHz
Original firmware

6|28.5|32.5
4|27.5|40.0
6|27.4|48.3
4|25.5|29.2
DDWRT firmware
9|42.7|25.5
6|43.2|31.4
7|52.3|35.4
N/A 2.4GHz
4|67.2|51.3
5|73.7|43.7
4|67.3|52.1
6|58.8|45.8
2.4GHz
14|16.5|3.18
16|5.87|1.53
15|15.6|3.84
5GHz
8|156|150
8|171|155
6|154|145
15″
MacBook Pro
2017
2.4GHz
Original firmware

4|21.34|21.87
4|28.96|13.17
3|28.23|18.73
Settings changed
2|27.2|25.6
2|29.3|25.1
2|26.9|24.1
DDWRT firmware
2|36.5|38
2|40.3|38.7
2|44.2|45.4
2|45.4|66
2|44.8|63.3
N/A 2.4GHz
3|77.88|71.63
3|76.22|82.27
2|79.15|67.55
2.4GHz
3|106|82.2
3|110|97.7
3|113|72
5GHz
3|170|170
3|162|161
3|161|162
Windows
Desktop PC
2.4GHz
DDWRT firmware

4|68.71|72.84
3|64.58|60.69
3|65.69|62.23
Did not test Did not test LAN/UTP
1|91.58|95.41
3|94.97|94.62
3|94.78|94.61
2.4GHz
4|99.49|93.11
3|94.69|99.91
3|99.68|92.54
5GHz
4|168.28|151.67
4|167.53|147.61
3|167.79|135.76
4|176.12|193.93

There are couple of things learned about WiFi performance:

  • Tablet WiFi performs significantly better without protective cover that contains metal on the back. Massive impact was caused by a genuine Samsung cover for Tab S2.
  • The phone can beat any device! I was quite astonished by this fact.
  • Wired connection could not be using full potential because of incapable UTP cable… therefore can be beaten by Wireless AC quite easily.
  • Network performance with some devices magically exceeds broadband provider plan. Perhaps there is inaccuracy in measurement software? Or perhaps broadband speed limit is not as precise.
  • Linksys EA9500 despite many antennas did struggle a bit with 2.4GHz WiFi performance while testing with poorly positioned desktop computer’s WiFi antenna (it was trapped in between the wall and metal case). Things got well once antenna was put on top of the case. Learned once again – metal has significant impact on WiFi signal.

Conclusion

Linksys EA9500 real life performance was reaching highest WiFi speeds during the test, however was a bit sensitive to PC WiFi antenna placement while operating on 2.4GHz WiFi band compared to others. On the other hand if all your devices can do WiFi at 5GHz, why to worry? Worth mentioning that transferring large files from WD Cloud on local network Linksys EA9500 real life transfer speeds were in the range of 40-50Mb/s. That is not a mistake, speed was 50 megabytes per second, which is 400Mbps.

The fastest device with external servers surprisingly was Samsung Galaxy S8, which left me confused, how could it achieve 200Mbps on a 150Mbps broadband?

Max speed achieved during my test to external networks: 3ms ping / 206Mbps download / 213Mbps upload, which even beats the broadband theoretical 150Mbps spec and leaves no doubts equipment is able to use full potential of the connection.