I've tested many routers over the years, and this Belkin N750, because of the weird orientation of my house, is the only one that hold a consistent connection from my living room to my guest room. I'll explain why.
In both scenarios, there's a wall between the router and the laptop, but in scenario 1, the wireless signal is going perpendicularly through the wall. Because of this, there's only a little bit of solid matter that the Wi-Fi has to punch through to get from your router to you. In scenario 2, however, because the laptop is at a steep angle to the router, the signal has to go through quite a bit more mass (the dotted red lines) to get where its going, which means a weaker signal. As you suspect, the throughput in scenario 1 is much higher than scenario 2, and the latter can even degrade to the point of unusability depending on your building materials.
Your setup should be somewhere inbetween the two extremes. Keep in mind that going through floors means you're compounding what happens in scenario 2 as well (which is what happens in my case).
What's this got to do with the Belkin N750? It's the only router I've tested that has enough power to sustain a usable signal to my guest room, which has an unfortunate placement that's similar to scenario 2. The router has three key features that makes this possible.
- Uniform coverage: It doesn't matter what direction you orient this, because the coverage area looks more like a sphere than, figure 8 shape that bulges in front and behind, or above and below, like some other routers. That means more uniform coverage throughout your house, and no "wrong" way to set up the router.
- It finds you: Once you establish a connection wirelessly, the router finds where you are and increases power to target you in your specific direction. Belkin tells me no other market right now does this.
- Processing power: They've added a dedicated chip just for processing the wireless transmission rather than having all processing be done on one processor. That means that instead of topping out at around 500Mbps, like other routers, The N750 has a theoretical top rate of about a Gigabit per second. Very useful if you're moving large files around (or if you have a lot of devices).
Not only is this seemingly better at holding a connection than other higher-end routers I've tried, it's also cheaper. The Linksys E4200 and the Apple Airport Extreme are both $180, compared to the N750's $130.
For a primary router, this is great. Like its name implies, it's dual-band. The only complaint I have—and it's an oddball one—is that it seems to be not quite as easy to set this up to be a repeater. I use another router as my main, hooked up to the cable modem, so I set other routers as access points by only using the internal LAN ports and turning off features like DHCP. The N750 doesn't seem to like this very much, and will blink the front orange light angrily at you for as long as you don't use the main WAN port. Not a big deal if you're using this thing like a normal human being.