Ethernet NIC/CNA rankings(IMHO):
1. Mellanox is the pack leader right now.
2. Chelsio is right up there with them, but not leading.
3. SolarFlare and Intel bring up the middle ground.
4. Everyone else (QLogic, Broadcom, etc)
Aquantia is an unknown for me. As long as they dont suck, they'll probably go in tier 3.
I am speaking off the cuff as someone heavily involved and interested in RF in general and WiFi/LTE in particular.
From my anecdota(shame this isnt a word), Atheros chips have better SNR and higher symbol discrimination thanks to cleaner amps, better signal discrimination logic, and tend to be on the forefront of newer RF techniques in the WiFi space. All this culminates in better throughput, latency, and spectrum utilization than anyone else.
It also helps that their support under Linux is far superior to most everything else, which helps in Router/AP/Client integration and testing.
I don't even like Qualcomm, but from my experience, you will almost always regret choosing someone else for anything but the most basic requirements.
A big frustration with Qualcomm wifi on Windows has been that they do not provide driver downloads to end users. If you are using a laptop that has been abandoned by the OEM and you have a wifi driver problem you have to hunt for the driver on sketchy 3rd party sites or just live with it. I have personally had to help several people find drivers because ancient Qualcomm drivers were causing bug checks on power state transitions.
What real-world experiences have you had with Intel wifi on Linux and Windows that make you believe it is second rate?
Mellanox has 40GbE (and above) adapters with good reputation.
Mellanox also have 10GbE stuff, but that's mostly older generation / legacy (low end). Not sure how the 10GbE ones are regarded.
I talked to Syba USA two months ago and they said end of Q1 so I didn't pursue the idea of bringing 500 into the US and sell them. I still might. Do you know any good platforms for this sort of thing?
The other reason I didn't pursue this because the Realtek based 2.5gbps adapters are out https://www.centralpoint.nl/kabeladapters-verloopstukjes/clu... (USB A version: https://www.centralpoint.nl/kabeladapters-verloopstukjes/clu...) and I wasn't sure whether people would care enough to jump to 5gbps.
Unfortunately, I don't know 500 people who'd want one and I think shipping from the US to anywhere not-US (say, Australia) would be prohibitively expensive.