Wireless Performance - AC 1535
Evaluating WiFi performance can be a challenge due to environmental factors. In an effort to keep our results as real-world as possible, we've tested in a home environment where there are half-a-dozen neighbouring WiFi networks competing for airwaves.
We have the latest Wireless-AC adaptors from Intel and Killer on show, and it's the latter that has the edge in terms of TCP throughput. Performance on the 5GHz band is particularly impressive.
Switching to the UDP protocol sees wireless throughput increase on each band and on both cards. Killer's Wireless-AC 1535 continues to come out on top and though a wired connection will remain the preferred choice for performance users, 632Mbit/s via wireless has the makings of a useful backup.
Killer's throughput advantage in the synthetic tests doesn't necessarily translate to superior real-world performance. Copying 7GB of photos from each laptop to a NAS results in similar performance.
Performance between the two is comparable when transferring a couple of large video files. It's also worth noting that CPU utilisation on the Killer-based laptop was typically 1-2 per cent higher during real-world transfers. The fact that both are equipped with a different processor makes it difficult to gauge exactly how processor-intensive Killer's network detection algorithms really are, yet even with a weaker Core i5 chip the increase in utilisation appears to be minimal.
Killer products aren't short on cutting-edge tricks, and another up the sleeves of the Wireless-AC 1535 is support for MU-MIMO (Multi-User-Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output). The tech is now starting to appear in premium devices and allows wireless access points to receive data from a MU-MIMO-enabled router simultaneously.
To demonstrate the extra efficiency, we're using two laptops outfitted with MU-MIMO hardware, the first using Killer's 2x2 Wireless-AC 1535, the second using a 1x1 Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377. Both are configured to transmit data to a desktop server simultaneously, and while turning MU-MIMO on of off had hardly any effect on the Qualcomm Atheros, throughput on the Killer adapter is increased by 30 per cent.