Throughput testing


  • What do you use to test throughput between two endpoints on your network? Not speed from your ISP, but rather speed across your wireless network, say from a home server or NAS to your laptop or phone. I've started playing with TamoSoft's Throughput Test and am getting some interesting/odd results. This got me curious about what others might be using. My tests so far have been from three Windows systems, one set up as a file server (it's a modest NUC like box), a laptop, and a desktop, each in turn running the server side of the package. Each has also run the client, as has my iPhone. Rather than discuss results just yet, I'm curious as to what others might have used/recommended.


  • @Matthew-Leeds Does no one test throughput across their WiFi network? For those of us whose ISPs don't offer LAN speed internet connections, testing point to point is the only way to test WiFi performance.


  • @Matthew-Leeds Continuing this one person conversation, I've been playing with iPerf. Server on my Windows desktop, client on iOS. Getting about 125Mb/sec speed. Quite a bit better than I got with the TamoSoft testing which was around 50Mb/sec when an iOS device was one of the end points. Windows point to point was 400-800Mb/sec across the wired Gb LAN.


  • Btw, I am interested in this 😉

    Also, the iOS Amplifi app tests iOS device to router speeds. So even though my ISP speed is 400Mbit (down), the iPhone 12 Pro to Alien speed is almost 900Mbit/400Mbit.


  • Sorry @Matthew-Leeds - I must have left my mute button on...

    Last time I did testing, which was a while ago, I followed the Duckware process:

    https://www.duckware.com/speedtest/index.html

    https://www.duckware.com/tech/wifi-in-the-us.html#speedtest

    https://www.duckware.com/tech/wifi-in-the-us.html


  • @stellman I have an HD and not an Alien. I do not see any option to test iOS to router speeds in the Amplifi app.


  • @Derek-Saville Interesting info on that site. Since there is no Java on iOS, this method could only be run from my Windows laptop to another Windows device (of which there are two). Did this already with the TamoSoft software and noted the asymmetry between Tx Rx on each device. Having now run iPerf (Windows in server mode on the wired network, iOS in client on WiFi) I noted quite a difference in results from the same test using the TamoSoft product. Next, perhaps later today, I'll test via an iPad rather than via the iPhone and see if there is much/any difference. The iPhone is an 11, the iPad an Air2 so perhaps vintage will make a difference? Ah, so much time on one's hands.

    I should note that all this was inspired by the upgrade (happened today) of my slow ISP feed (UVerse was at 28/5) to 75/20, the best I can get without moving over to Comcast. I am told that fiber is likely to come to my area within the next 12 months, at which point I'll have discussions with ATT and Sonic (who ride on their infrastructure). Comcast pulled tons of fiber into my neighborhood (a 288 strand throughout the neighborhood) but have not yet begun to offer EPON here.


  • Hi @Matthew-Leeds - since mobile devices are typically power (battery) limited I don’t personally feel the need seek out any peak throughput numbers and blindly trust them to manage their speed vs battery requirements

    For me subjectively good enough = good enough


  • @Derek-Saville Hmmm, interesting perspective, how do laptops fit into that world view? I guess what I'm looking to test is the WiFi network performance, and most of the devices on that network for me are phones and tablets.


  • Genuinely curious, do you do a lot of device-to-device file transfers? For my use case, it's really rare for me to do device-to-device, so I'm very concentrated on ISP speeds.


  • @stellman We use some device to device, and some wireless printing as well. There is an artist in the household and their files can get quite big and they are often AirDropped. Also laptops sending files out the internet so WiFi performance for those clients matters. I wanted to separate internet performance from WiFi performance, and understand how well the HD system's WiFi performs. Some day (dreams of fiber) I may have internet access that's faster than my WiFi and I'd like to know just how well it performs today.


  • Hi @Matthew-Leeds - I could only speculate that laptops would depend on how the drivers are optimized and you probably have more control with manual tuning options available than say an iPhone or an iPad

    If a laptop is 4x4:4 MIMO it's probably tuned for performance, at least while plugged in
    Then it might drop to 2x2 and/or reduce the channel width on battery or something triggers power saving
    Just like my iPhones drops to 1x1 MIMO when it goes into low battery mode - do I really notice the difference? No
    But I personally tune for latency as my needs are more sensitive in that regard

    Before I forget, the WiFIMan app some time ago implemented client-to-client speed tests
    I played with it just to see how well it was working and it can provide you some throughput data points

    Just my opinion, if you are going to start pushing faster speeds client-to-client and/or significantly upgrade your ISP speed, I would recommend looking into upgrading your router

    In my opinion, the HD is starting to show its age for a few reasons...

    • The processor, PPS across WiFi and LAN are already relatively weak
    • The confined antenna isn't great for beamforming no matter how 'super' they call it
    • 3x3:3 SU-MIMO isn't cut out for households with a growing number of clients
    • And if you are using the wireless MeshPoints, the bandwidth drop across hops has a larger impact as speeds increase

    MU-MIMO has matured to where it can be a positive contribution when well implemented for a higher number of clients
    (we'll see if ODFMA gets there eventually)
    Beamforming can be an even greater benefit, but you need antenna separation
    (I still believe the Alien's tightly packed 12 polarity antenna interferes with itself when trying to implement beamforming and that contributes to why 160MHz just isn't happening)
    There is a reason enterprise AP's are larger diameter and consumer WiFi router have all those 'ugly' antennas sticking out
    AmpliFi's schtick has been trying to get decent antenna performance in an Apple-esque design and that will only get harder and harder (they probably pushed the limit too far with Alien)

    So you can easily see how the IEEE 802.11 working group ended up with Wi-Fi 6E on the 6GHz band as a solution, keeping legacy devices away and using OFDMA to split up 160MHz channels for multi-client communication both on the uplink (eventually) & downlink and coordinating traffic with TWT, BSS coloring, etc.

    Sorry, went on a tangent there...


  • @Derek-Saville said in Throughput testing:

    Before I forget, the WiFIMan app some time ago implemented client-to-client speed tests

    I did not find this capability on my Mac or iPhone WifiMan app! Where is it?


  • Hi @James-Earl-Ford - I just checked it again and with the app open on both an iPhone and an iPad simultaneously it automatically pops up a window from the bottom of the screen asking if I want to do a client-to-client speed test

    I am not sure exactly what triggers it, but after completing a test and selecting Discovery and then Speed Test it just asks again if I want to perform the client testing


  • @Derek-Saville Thanks, that worked. Now if there were a way to test it against my Mac.


  • @Derek-Saville Interesting and works as you described. Need to have app running on both devices. Not symmetrical. Starting the test from the iPhone was roughly 20Mbs faster in both up and down than starting the test from the iPad.

    I'll also note that testing again with the TamoSoft product shows that they report the up and down separately, hence the apparent lower scores. Taking that into account, both TamoSoft and iPerf3 give ballpark similar results.

    Perhaps I need to research the radios in the iPhone and iPad for completeness, but for now, I'm content that I've a reasonable idea of what performance I can expect from the existing setup. I've had the HD kit for about 2.5 years now and I'm pleased with it. I've not had the dropouts, slow speeds, and other issues that have been reported. Yes, it's not as full featured as some gear, but sufficient for me for now and in this home given the internet speeds available here.


  • @James-Earl-Ford https://www.tamos.com/download/main/
    This works and a variety of free clients exist. Also iperf3 here: https://iperf.fr/en/iperf-download.php for Mac and Windows, and for your iOS clients I suggest: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/iperf-3-wifi-speed-test/id1462260546


  • @Matthew-Leeds OK, took a look at the spec for three of my WiFi devices and found:
    iPhone 11 - 802.11ax
    iPad Air 2 - 802.11ac
    Thinkpad - 802.11ac

    Everything else is also older so 802.11ac is likely the common denominator.

    Not that my HD supports 802.11ax. So the question is, when I decide to upgrade from the HD (not in any hurry, don't need 802.11ax with only one device in the household that supports it) what should I get? Been looking at the Asus ZenWiFi AX, seems interesting. Of course, in a couple of years things will change again.


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