HOW WE TEST
To test the wireless performance of each of this month’s routers, we followed our usual real-world approach. In this case, we set up each one in a family home – a 1930s townhouse with thick walls and plenty of interference from electrical appliances and neighbours’ wireless networks – and installed the latest firmware.
We then used a Windows 10 laptop equipped with a USB 802.11ac adapter to test download speeds by copying a series of 100MB data files from a NAS drive attached directly to the router via Gigabit Ethernet. We carried out the test in three locations: the living room, where the router itself was located, the upstairs bedroom, and the upstairs bathroom at the rear of the house.
The graphs show the download speeds we obtained from each router in each location. You shouldn’t expect to see identical results in your own home, but the figures give an useful indication of the relative performance and penetration of each router.
These results were then weighed together with the price of the router and its feature set – as detailed overleaf – to arrive at an overall rating out of five for each router.