So without the biggest selling point being useable for my needs I set out to see how the Portal router faired against another AC router. In this case we tested the Portal AC2400 router against a D-Link DIR-880L AC1900 router. Also, signal strengths for my DSL provider supplied Actiontec C2000A are shown for reference. For testing purposes I used the WiFi Analyzer app to determine signal strength as well as checking the devices link speeds reported on each network. All three routers were located on the first floor at one end of my home within a 3 foot radius. The 5GHz networks are Portal HD and lepse5 which are the Portal and D-Link networks respectively. On the 2.4GHz spectrum we have the Portal, lepse2 and Twizzlers; these are the Portal, D-Link and Actiontec networks.
The first test location was one floor up and on the opposite end of the house. First we will compare the 5GHz networks; here the Portal router signal is slightly stronger than the D-link (-57dBm vs -61dBm) but surprisingly the link speeds were tremendously different. Where the Portal was able to maintain 390Mbps, the D-Link struggled to maintain anything greater than 24Mbps. On the 2.4GHz side; the strongest signal was D-Link, followed by Portal, and trailed by the Actiontec (-55dBm vs. -62dBm vs. 64dBm). But surprisingly even though the D-Link had a significantly stronger signal, the link speed was the same as the Actiontec at 86Mbps and the Portal again had the fastest connection at 144Mbps.
The next location was one floor directly above the routers. Looking first at the 5GHz network we see the Portal signal is significantly stronger than the D-Link (-32dBm vs. -48dBm) and the corresponding link speeds were 390Mbps and 144Mbps. So again the Portal 5GHz network was providing the fastest connection. On the 2.4GHz side, the Portal had the strongest signal, followed by the D-Link, and trailed by the Actiontec (-31dBm vs. -44dBm vs. -47dBm). Link speeds followed the signal strength in this test and the Portal was the clear winner with 144Mbps vs the D-Link's 54Mbps.
The final indoor location was within 5 feet of all three routers. Again the Portal 5GHz network had the strongest signal at -14dBm vs. the D-Link at -17dBm. Even though the Portal had the stronger signal both networks provided the same link speed of 866Mbps, which is likely the max speed for that device. On the 2.4GHz side, the Portal router had the strongest signal at -13dBm, next was the D-Link at -24dBm and last was the Actiontec at -34dBm. On this band we did see a link speed difference again with the Portal coming first with 144Mbps compared to the D-Link's 54Mbps.
The final location was out by my pool which historically has been difficult to keep a good signal at. It isn't uncommon to have issues keeping Pandora streaming especially if you are browsing the internet at the same time. The pool is about 100 feet from the routers location and has to penetrate one exterior wall. On the 5GHz side we again see the Portal signal is significantly stronger than the D-Link (-54dBm vs. -64dBm) but more importantly the link speed was an unbelievable 520Mbps on the Portal vs. 24Mbps on the D-Link. That is an absolutely huge difference. On the 2.4GHz band the D-Link was the strongest at -50dBm followed by the Portal at -61dBm and in last was the Actiontec at -73dBm. Here the link speeds matched up with the signal strength with the D-Link in the lead with 144Mbps, the Portal had 54Mbps and the Actiontec failed to create a reliable connection.