Internet and LAN testing
The RP-AC52 was able to nearly double Internet bandwidth on the 2.4GHz band in the rear-most room of the property. 5GHz performance, on the other hand, stayed virtually static. In a room that already had good reception, bedroom one, the RP-AC52 decreased bandwidth due to the to-and-fro nature of how repeaters/extenders work.
The upload of 19Mbps stayed fairly constant throughout as this was dictated by the 20-up and 80-down fibre Internet connection.
Performance over the local area network benefitted significantly from the RP-AC52. The 2.4GHz band saw the largest increase in absolute and relative terms. Indeed, the RP-AC52 seemed more effective at preserving 2.4GHz performance than 5GHz.
Latency and Signal Strength
A range extender acts as an extra stop for network traffic and thus it increases the physical and logical distance data must travel to reach its destination. Unsurprisingly, we observed a slight increase in ping as a result of this, though an extra 15ms is unlikely to make any noticeable difference to most Internet-based activities.
The 2.4GHz band holds its strength better than 5GHz over distance so it revealed only small improvements from the nearby repeater. However, the 5GHz band delivered a significant improvement in signal strength at the back of the property thanks to the repeater.
Any value below -70dBm can cause unreliable packet delivery and before the range extender the 5GHz band was below that threshold of reliability. Therefore, even though the range extender achieved minor increases in 5GHz bandwidth to the back of the property, the increase in connection reliability was very noticeable.