Google Fiber Speed Tests – Round One

Google Network Box - EthernetNow that the media frenzy surrounding the first public installation of Google Fiber into the #KCSV 4454 House has calmed down for the most part, we can finally get down to geeking out and testing the actual service.  We’ve seen some awesome speed test results first hand at the Google Fiber Space, but the question is will we get the same results?

As part of our tests, we were able to introduce a new technology that hasn’t formally been adopted by the industry yet.  The new 802.11ac wireless standard developed by the IEEE is currently in draft mode, but as with the 802.11n wireless standard which was released in 2009, being in draft mode hasn’t stopped manufacturers like Netgear, ASUS and Buffalo from selling supporting devices.

Once we found out we were getting Google Fiber with a 1Gbps asynchronous connection, we immediately purchased the Netgear R6300 router and a6200 USB adapter, both of which support the Wireless AC standard.  After all, not many people in the world have the opportunity to put a gigabit wireless setup to the test.

The Videos

Visit our KCStartupVillage YouTube Channel for all of our videos, including the videos from these speed tests.

The Setup

The hardware we used to perform our tests included:

  • HP Pavilion dv7 laptop
    • Intel(R) Centrino(R) Wireless-N 1030
    • Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller
  • Google Network Box
  • Netgear R6300
  • Netgear A6200

Google Fiber Jack  KCSV 4454 Setup

The Hardware

Google Network Box

We’re not sure of the exact specs for the Google Network Box equipment.  Since we don’t know who actually manufactures the equipment, it’s tough to know all of the details.  The tech who installed the fiber service told us it has three internal antennas which direct the signal outward in three directions.  On the back of the box is power plug, reset button, Internet ethernet port, 4 ethernet ports and a fiber port.  We found it interesting the box has a fiber port, seeing as the fiber lead doesn’t actually plug into it and instead plugs into the Google Fiber Jack.  There is a small internal fan in the box which is quiet and keeps the unit cool.

One interesting note about the Google Network Box is that it doesn’t support the 802.11ac standard.  Considering Google is selling a 1Gbps internet service, we think it makes sense to support those kind of speeds wirelessly, especially now that the technology is available.  Perhaps Google didn’t want to include support for it in v1.0 of their network box since the Wireless AC protocol is still in draft mode..??

Netgear R6300 Router

The R6300 doesn’t lie flat like most routers these days.  It sits up right at a small angle.  It has internal antennas, and on the back it has a power plug, on/off button, reset button, Internet ethernet port, 4 ethernet ports and a USB port.

One thing to note about the R6300.  When we first turned it on, we couldn’t get it to work at all.  After much research, we discovered that the firmware was corrupt.  Really??  Corrupt firmware right out of the box??  Shame on you Netgear.  Thankfully, the following links helped us solve the issue quickly and easily:

  • http://forum1.netgear.com/showthread.php?t=78113
  • http://avtech.com/Support/index.php?action=kb&article=108
  • http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/18989/~/router-power-led-blinks-slowly-and-router-no-longer-works
  • http://support.netgear.com/product/r6300

Netgear A6200 USB Adapter

Netgear A6200This piece of equipment allows your computer to receive the Wireless AC signal.  Until laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc manufacturers start to include internal Wireless AC support in their devices, you need something like the Netgear A6200 to access the 802.11ac signal.  The reason we chose the A6200 is because it’s the only AC supporting USB adapter we could find.  Do you know of any others?  If so, do tell!

The device itself is pretty neat looking, and includes a base with extension cord in case you don’t want to plug the device directly into your computer.  Interestingly, the device only supports USB 1.1 and 2.0.  So, right out of the box you have a bottleneck for the AC signal.  USB 2.0 has a maximum signaling rate of 480 Mbps, where as USB 3.0 has a maximum signaling rate of 5Gbps.  Why Netgear didn’t make the A6200 USB 3.0 compatible makes no sense.  An oversight by Netgear perhaps…???

The Tests

Each test consisted of a router (Google Network Box or Netgear R6300), adapter (Ethernet or Wireless), protocol (Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless N or Wireless AC) and in the case of wireless connections, signal frequency (2.4Ghz or 5Ghz).

Test #1

Google Network Box + Realtek PCIe GBE Family Controller

Note – We had very similar results when hard wired to the Netgear A6300 router.

Test #2

Google Network Box + Intel(R) Centrino(R) Wireless-N 1030 + Wireless N + 2.4Ghz

Google Network Box - Internal - Wireless N - 2.4Ghz

Test #3

Google Network Box + Netgear A6200 + Wireless N + 2.4Ghz

 

Test #4

Netgear R6300 + Intel(R) Centrino(R) Wireless-N 1030 + Wireless N + 2.4Ghz

R6300 - Internal - Wireless N - 2.4Ghz

Test #5

Netgear R6300 + Netgear A6200 + Wireless N + 2.4Ghz

R6300 - A6200 - Wireless N  R6300 - A6200 - Wireless N - 2.4Ghz

Test #6

Netgear R6300 + Netgear A6200 + Wireless AC + 5Ghz

R6300 - A6200 - Wireless AC  R6300 - A6200 - Wireless AC - 5Ghz

The Conclusion

It’s clear that being directly connected to either the Google Network Box or the Netgear R6300 via ethernet is where the blistering fast speed can be found.  Those speed test results are simply mind numbing.

Another thing to note is the speed test results when using the Netgear A6200 were higher than when using the Intel(R) Centrino(R) Wireless-N 1030.  We presume that’s because the A6200 is much newer and probably has better internal hardware.

Unless the employees of Local Ruckus, FormZapper and Leap2 are going to be fine with 6-14x faster speeds than typical broadband results, it looks like we’ll be installing Cat-5 cabling and outlets throughout the #KCSV 4454 House.  The ability to have 950Mbps download/upload speeds will more than likely be too awesome to ignore.

Next Steps

Stay tuned for more tests when we purchase the ASUS RT-AC66U router and put it to the test.

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