So a couple of things:
Connection speed matters at slower speeds, but it doesn’t scale. A 5mbps connection will almost certainly load a page noticeably faster than a 1mbps one. But that’s not generally true for 50mbps vs 10mbps, and certainly not true for 500mbps vs 100mbps. Is my Porsche faster than my Volvo? Yes. Does it matter when I’m driving in town? No.
Consider this load of the BBC from my gigabit connection:
A couple of notes:
- The total data transferred on the front page was 4.2 MB (not much!)
- There were 226 separate elements loaded, and
- It took almost 7 seconds to fully load the page.
A gigabit connection could theoretically do that data transfer in 0.04 seconds. Even a 100mbps link could theoretically do it in under half a second. So what’s the deal?
Basically once you get past a certain transfer rate, a lot of other factors come into play when you’re talking about webpage loads. Query times, latency, rendering times … all of them start to matter much more to the total load time than your raw transfer rate.
Check this single element from that previous BBC load:
It doesn’t show the file transfer size in the screen, but it was less than 300 bytes. It took 0.2ms to transfer the 243 bytes, but 537ms to wait for the server to send it. And this is the basic story with web browsing. It doesn’t really matter how fast your connection is because you’re having to do dozens-to-hundreds of simultaneous loads where you may have to wait hundreds of milliseconds for the server just to process your request. (And add a hundred or so milliseconds if you’re using a VPN).
If you’re primarily streaming, looking at webpages, etc, I would seriously doubt you are going to be able to notice a difference between a 200mbps VPN connection and a 500mbps one. You would, probably, notice a difference between a 200mbps non-VPN connection and a 500mbps VPN connection - the 200mbps connection would feel faster, because you’ve eliminated a major portion of latency from the pipeline.
This is only true if
- Every single node between you and the ultimate server you’re connected to has unlimited bandwidth available, which they never do and
- If you are doing a few continuous sustained transfer, not a lot of tiny ones.
In other words, you’re much more likely to get high speeds when you’re downloading say, an OS update from Apple than you are when you’re loading a random webpage. In one case you’ve got a single file that is able to stream likely from a huge CDN, where on the other case you’re downloading hundreds of tiny files, each of which needs to have a connection established, has packet overhead, etc. If you’ve got a 100mbps connection, you can max that pretty easily. If you’ve got a 300mbps connection it takes a little more work, but it’s still relatively easy to do. Maxing 500mbps - especially over WiFi - is hard. You basically need to be connected to a major CDN and be downloading something big. Maxing 1gpbs is doable if you’re doing a speed test or downloading from Steam. Otherwise very difficult. Maxing 10gbps - not possible, even over close fiber (the best speedtest I’ve ever gotten over the internet on a 10gbps link was ~8.5gbps down and ~3.5gbps up, to a fiber provider about 30 miles away).
FWIW I tried just now from the datacenter. Results:
Download: 8611.21 Mbps (data used: 14.0 GB )
Upload: 3225.13 Mbps (data used: 3.8 GB )
Packet Loss: 0.0%
Um. Ok. All marketing aside, I think I’d set up my own VPS, but whatever.
Yes, for a lot of reasons. The only time it would be noticeably slower is if your connection wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the required data rates, in which case YouTube would throttle things down, likely reducing you to 720p. Put a different way, if the video stream is 25mbps, it doesn’t matter if I have a 1gbps or 2gbps link - it will buffer things up (maybe slightly more quickly), but I won’t notice any difference from an end use experience. If I were on a 5mbps connection I would notice a substantial difference, and in fact either 1) wouldn’t be able to play the video or 2) it would take a very long time to buffer.
So like I said, the only reason you really need 500mbps is if you’re going to be doing 2-3 simultaneous 8K Netflix streams while also downloading serious content on the side. Other than that for normal use, you’re fine.
If you really want to keep the GL.iNet firmware then I would look at either the AXT1800 or the MT3000. The MT3000 is going to cap out at about 300mbps, but as I’ve stated here I suspect in day to day use that is going to be more than enough for you, especially if you’re not doing a lot of heavy downloading (which I assume you aren’t without a PC. The heaviest download you probably encounter is an OS update from your tablet.) From there it’s kind of a crapshoot. A couple of months ago I would have said the MediaTek chip was a better choice, but I’m less sure at the moment. There is some work to get the QCA6XXX mainlined into OpenWrt which would substantially help things, assuming it’s done well. On the other hand, MediaTek stuff usually gets put in eventually, though we may be months from that.
A lot of it comes down to added features that are not complete, combined with legitimate stability issues in the case of the AX/AXT1800, combined with just general bugs. I personally would like to see them do a freeze and actually fix a lot of the issues before moving on to adding more features that only kind of work, but I’m not a product manager, at least not for GL.iNet.
I realize that for most people compiling your own firmware is a bridge too far, but I have very little confidence in the current GL.iNet overlay. They make great hardware, but the software. Shoo… different story.