WiFi 6 + Intel AX200. What to really expect?

Discussion in 'Networking and Wireless' started by Tyranus07, Sep 9, 2020.

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  1. etern4l

    etern4l Notebook Virtuoso

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    OK, actually it's not so much about supply and demand, but perhaps 2.4, 5 & 6 GHz won't require additional antennas, as opposed the current tri-band APs running in 2.4, 5, 5 setup.

    BTW I found out that some NASes, mine included, suffer from the exact same QoS nonsense your Zyxel AP does, i.e. they limit single-client bandwidth to 1Gbps.... unbelievable. So at present for me the payoff on any ultra-fast WiFi like 2.4GBps using 160Hz channel is close to nil. Consumer/SMB level devices fail.
     
  2. Aivxtla

    Aivxtla Notebook Evangelist

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    Not sure on the antenna aspect, most antennas in laptops, routers etc are dual mode. 2.4/5 Ghz. If an antenna isn't properly tuned for 6 Ghz perfomance could take a dive and worse power use wise I'm guessing, lower 6Ghz channels are closer to the 5Ghz range so they may not be as badly impacted with older antennas in those channels. If someone could test we would have a definitive answer. I will be getting an AXE router soon for eval but can't post results due to NDA so it might be 6-8 weeks before I can give a definitive answer with with benchmarks, outside of just a Yes/No. I'm gonna be testing my Dell Latitude 7280 and 7450 with AX210s I ordered off Newegg and Amazon, find out soon enough if the antennas are good enough or if I need to use the new ones that came with the cards. Thinking of getting a third for my Precision 7520 as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021 at 8:02 PM
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  3. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Consultant

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    Antenna technology doesn't change enough to make a difference between bands. When you're moving from 800mhz to gig+ it will make a difference but the technology for laptops / computers / unlicensed spectrum doesn't really change all that much to keep the ability to shovel new products out the door and make more $.

    Any antenna from the past 10 years works just fine whether you're talking client or router. The chipset that mitigates interference makes more of an impact than a passive antenna ever will.

    The only antennae aspect that could potentially make a difference is the surface space to catch the signals coming at it or ability to make it external to any laptop housing as to not reduce it's ability to pick up signals with the housing obstructions. For instance for TV I have a couple of flat panel antennae one to the TV and one to the DVR card and one's rated for 30 miles and the other 15 or 10. Either way the smaller one is 1/4 of the size of the bigger one and they both perform the same and pick up the same signals form the towers.

    [​IMG]

    Now, if I move them less than 2 feet into the windows where LOS would be better they perform worse. They're not directional but they perform better on the wall than anywhere else. I typically get 90-100% signal form their placement unless there's interference from weather or obstructions but generally they're not affected.

    I've picked up similar but smaller antenna tabs you would use in a laptop / desktop with a AX210 or otherwise and simply putting them inside the case instead of routing them to an external portion kills the distance in which they pick up a signal. My laptop can pick up signals from over a block away and normal external antennae will as well on the PC. Now, if I put my larger rubber ducky antennae on the desktop side my 1 block radius kicks back in. Even with shorter "normal" wifi antennae I get signals within a 1/4 block of me.

    I guess what I'm saying is.... Placement is more important than "technology" as they're all different antennae that I'm using and depending on the obstruction determines the distance in which you are able to pull in signals and use the spectrum.

    That sucks... Kind of reinforces my statements though about not going off the shelf anymore with this stuff if you want the performance don't leave it in the vendor's hands or at least not your $$$$.

    What kind go NAS is it?
     
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  4. Aivxtla

    Aivxtla Notebook Evangelist

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    I initially thought the same and I hope you're right. A quick search online however shows there could be an impact if not attuned to target frequencies, granted I was looking at 5Ghz on a "2.4Ghz only" antenna:

    Here's one discussion, The guy 5th post down (socal87) seems to have some experience:
    https://forum.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=77616&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

    6Ghz is not too far off from the tail end of the current 2.4/5Ghz dual mode antennas optimal range so impact may not be too bad especially close to the lower end of 6Ghz.

    Guess it's a good question for sxf2000 on SNB forums, he worked on WiFi chips for Qualcomm I believe.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021 at 3:59 PM
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  5. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Consultant

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    https://www.ti.com/lit/ml/slap127/slap127.pdf?ts=1610560734110

    https://www.skyworksinc.com/-/media/SkyWorks/Documents/Articles/IWPC_062019.pdf

    For the stuff we're dealing with.... it's not really something that will be a groundbreaking change in how cheap OEM's will innovate the RF spread. It's not broken and they're not going to be putting money into it unless someone finds a better way to reinvent the sail that catches the signals.

    Back in the day OEM's used 3-wire antennae in laptops but, as chips switched to a streamlines 2-wire design the OEM got to save $0.01/unit and didn't look back. IIRC there were some one offs that had a 4-wire setup as well.

    Kind of hard to really say how much deviation a 6E over 6 configuration will ultimately have but, someone will eventually try to sell you a $20 antenna with a different sticker than the $5 version and tons of people will buy them. Amazon reviews are amusing when new tech gets unleashed and grandma upgrades her tech stuff.

    From the RF side in Cell spectrum is not as omni directional as more focused and diffused per antenna. There's a reason you see a cell setup with 3 antennae in each section of a triangle totaling 9 antennae per setup.

    The best way to deal with antennae is to not over think it unless your job is to over think it. The market place will tell you when something better comes along and when it's a dud that's been repackaged for profit.
     
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  6. etern4l

    etern4l Notebook Virtuoso

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    Nothing special, Synology 918+. Information from Synology forums, since I don't have a link-aggregating switch.

    My remaining problem is that PHY drops off to about 500mbs across a wall. My understanding it that there are only two angles of attack, since 6 will do little here (+10%?):
    1. Get a 4x4 1733 AP - these can be had for less than a price of some network cards, e.g. Netgear WAC124 or something like that, bridge it, and connect the remote device vie 1GE. Not a very portable solution though.
    1b. Get some weird 3x4 USB AC adapter - actually more expensive and would support only one device. More compact I guess.
    2. Try to get 160MHz to work - not an amazing proposition in Europe, since the upper DFS channels are restricted. Basically the highest that works for me is 112. So the only option is to use the 36-64 range, half of which is congested as hell, so basically I don't think that's worth a bother at all.

    Frankly tempted to just stop here for now, until 6E arrives in anger.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021 at 4:31 PM
  7. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Consultant

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    Synology gets good praises usually and they'll sell you a 10GE card for it.

    I tried their RT-2600AC router when I was chasing AC Wave 2 1733 and I couldn't get it to sync up at that rate and sent it back for an R7800 from Netgear which would give me line speed on a gbps plan but capped at 1GE ports.

    LAG won't always get you more than 1 port in bandwidth but it will give you redundancy. It depends on the mechanism that's invoked by turning it on as there are 4 different options / modes you can use it.
     
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  8. Tech Junky

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    I can't really speak to the EU deployments but I'll take your word on the congestion.

    6E might be worth the wait in your case but, upgrading your clients to AX210's might be enough improvement until then. It's a cheap option for the time being at $25/client for the cards.

    I've been upgrading steadily since the 7xxx series cards and the 210's provide a more consistent experience IMO. Even switching from the AX200 to the AX210 has been a perceivable difference in how the data flows. While I don't have anything that pushed on the 6ghz spectrum yet the improvement on 5ghz is enough for now. Just a simple networked file move from one folder to another which shouldn't be a delay since it's on the same system but from a remote client there was a stutter in the client showing it moved vs on the 210 it's not there any longer.

    The fact that the other big OEM chips aren't selling 6/6E isn't a big deal unless you're running something that doesn't play well with Intel like a Mac OS. I would just start out with 1 AX210 and try it out to see if things get better. if they do then order more, if not then return it and wait for 6E.

    Since you have the time it might be worth considering building your own NAS to overcome the limitations of Synology and every other NAS on the market for that matter. They charge way too much for those cheap setups. No reason to pay $300+ for 2 bays and a cheap CPU/RAM configuration. Pick up a cheap desktop PC on ebay and reconfigure it to be a NAS...either keep the chassis or pull the guts from it and put it into a different case for more drives and better ventilation. If you wan to go all out and build from scratch you'll have more options but it will get pricey depending on how you want to spec it out and whether you want to implement more than just storage (which makes more sense if you need it).
     
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  9. Aivxtla

    Aivxtla Notebook Evangelist

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    I personally haven't seen any gains with the AX210 over the AX200 in repeat testing with the RAX120/80 and XR1000 (aka RAX50) using the two Latitude laptops mentioned previously. And testing in AC mode I can add in the 9260AC and say all three perform identically within margin of error. Maybe newer driver updates since you upgraded can account for the differences.
     
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  10. etern4l

    etern4l Notebook Virtuoso

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    I don't think this mid-range model has any extension slots, unfortunately. Basically, it's very hard to breach the 1Gbps/client barrier - even a commercial AP can let you down. Quite strange. You'd think companies would use things like higher real transfer speeds to drive sales. I guess they figured tricks like "AX11000" or "AC6000" work well enough ;)

    Good point, but no switch support is needed in this case - the NAS supports Linux interface bonding for redundancy and LB. There is no overhead, in fact it's a bit faster in a single client benchmark (I guess it pushes other traffic to the second link, so more is left for the heavy client), and the two links can connect to different switches. Done.

    Now just need to think whether to keep this ex8000 tri band extender or exchange it for something. Obviously I use it in AP mode, but the first 5GHz 2x2 band which is normally the only 5Ghz radio available to clients in extender mode is pretty useless. First of all, it can only be configured for channels 36-64. If I pick the congested non-DFS space there, the performance (at 25ft) is abysmal - if I pick a completely free spot in the higher channels, the performance is less than half of what the 4x4 radio achieves. Even at short range, the 2x2 radio syncs at 866 but real performance is ca. 30% lower than that of the 4x4 radio at 866. The client is 2x2 wave2 so I guess that's beamforming / diversity of the 4x4 radio in action. Switching the low-channel 2x2 5GHz radio off doesn't affect the 1733 radio performance in the slightest. The Duckware guy is right on the money in saying that 4x4 is absolutely worth it.

    The other thing that still keeps me interested in the EX8000 is the 802.11k smart roaming support - the only other router/AP I've seen explicitly supporting this is your Zyxel, which separately still puzzles me over how they can say it has dual antennas and supports 4x4 - shouldn't they say quadruple antenna, or does dual refer to dual band? The immediate utility of the upgrade to Zyxel (given the rest of my infrastructure) would be minimal though. 10, maybe 20MB/s faster transfer at short range and probably next to nothing at the all-relevant 25ft, where only a 4x4 client/bridge is likely to significantly help. Conversely, the loss of the other 2x2 5Ghz backup radio could also have a negative effect occasionally. Probably best to stop wasting time on this - seems that the cumulative time spent on this WiFi research has far exceeded the effects of future WiFi slowdowns for the next decade :) It was still fun though!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021 at 6:27 PM
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