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I recently upgraded internet in my small apartment (approx 750 square feet) to 1 gigabit down / 1 gigabit up service with Verizon FIOS.

I currently have an ASUS RT-AC66R router with about 10 clients, a mix of hardwired and wireless. I am looking to achieve gigabit-level speeds for both types of clients.

Plugging a desktop directly into the fiberoptic modem via CAT-6e, I achieve just about gigabit speeds -- approx 900Mbps. So I know I am being delivered expected service from my ISP.

However, once connected to the router, I am getting about 600-700 Mbps on a wired connection, and about 200-400Mbps on the wireless 5Ghz network.

What should I look for in terms of hardware to achieve the desired speed? What are features actually worth investing in vs. just marketing FUD from router companies? Is it worth exploring hardware in the consumer space or will I be relegated entirely to enterprise/corporate stuff? I'm also willing to go the DIY route with custom firmware, small PC build running pfsense, etc.

I've been reading posts on SNB forums etc and know that given my small space, 1gigabit+ is certainly achievable. I just need some guidance on what to look for.

Thank you!

  • You cannot get gigabit for wireless as it is always slower than wired. – DavidPostill Dec 26 '17 at 14:20
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    Lies. It's usually slower, but afaik, 802.11ac has been known to reach 1 Gbps of practical transfer. (Sure, most of it is either with enterprise-grade hardware or under marketing-friendly lab conditions.) Same story as with "300 Mbps Wireless-N", I suppose. – user1686 Dec 26 '17 at 14:24
  • @grawity this is what I've also observed -- it's definitely possible to achieve/at least get close to 1 gigabit, especially in a small space. My apartment is tiny. Ideally, I would solve this w/ consumer-grade due to price but I'm open to all options, including flashing custom router firmware and DIY solutions. – Prefix Dec 26 '17 at 14:28
  • @grawity Maybe. But only if there is no other traffic on the connection – DavidPostill Dec 26 '17 at 14:34
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    I would actually start with the fact that your current router cannot even handle more than 700 Mbps over wired Ethernet, which I think indicates that no matter what Wi-Fi hardware it uses, the main CPU just won't be fast enough. – user1686 Dec 26 '17 at 17:08
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It depends on the Wi-Fi hardware for both the router and your device; assuming 802.11ac, you'll need to check: four streams, optional channel bonding, etc., lots of things that are generally hidden under the marketing umbrella of "802.11ac". (The RT-AC66R you linked also mentioned that devices need to be joined on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.)

Another thing that makes a significant difference is wireless interference: are there other networks sharing the same channels? If you have 9 other wireless clients, they may be consuming timeslices + bandwidth; did you turn them off before doing bandwidth tests?

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First of all, don't be fooled by the marketing hype in wireless. When they say 866Mbps, it means that the theoretical max is an 802.11 rate of 866 and that the TCP throughput (inclusive of overhead) is ~410Mbps. That said, here's a table to better describe your wireless TCP throughput.

2.4GHz (3 Channels 1, 6, 11)
802.11b = 802.11 Rate of 11 (TCP throughput ~5Mbps)
802.11g = 802.11 Rate of 54 (TCP throughput ~20Mbps)

5GHz (23 Channels)
802.11a = 802.11 Rate of 54 (TCP throughput ~23Mbps)
802.11n = 1x1 Rate 150 (TCP throughput ~70Mbps)
802.11n = 2x2 Rate 300 (TCP throughput ~127Mbps)
802.11n = 3x3 Rate 450 (TCP throughput ~220Mbps)
802.11ac = 1x1 433.3 (TCP throughput ~200Mbps)
802.11ac = 2x2 866.7 (TCP throughput ~410Mbps)
802.11ac = 3x3 1300 (TCP throughput ~610Mbps)

Anyway - You get the point. There are so many factors in wireless to get those TCP throughputs. First, you'll need a good signal and there has to be no obstructions between your device and the AP. As the signal gets weaker as your signal travels through obstructions, you'll get less and less optimal performance.

If your wireless card is internal, great. Otherwise, you'll need a USB 3.0 supported laptop. Even with that, the Windows stack has been known to perform poorly with USB wireless drivers. For best wireless performance, you'll need a Macbook Pro. I know that the Macbook is expensive, but it will return close to those TCP throughput results I listed above.

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