So I have now recorded data for myZ-Wave devices 69 times. I have data for the average speed (100 * # devices at 100) + (40 * # of devices at 40) + (9.6 * # of devices at 9.6)/# of devices (which in my case happens to be 49).
I also calculated the average # of hops per device using a similar type of calculation. I then calculated the average speed per hop.
I also calculated the correlation between average speed and average hops. While it naturally varies a bit from day to day the final # is -0.51426077. The range for a correlation is -1 to +1 where -1 is absolutely no correlation while +1 is a 100% correlation. My -.51 means there is a moderate non-correlation (i.e. there is moderate evidence of no correlation).
There was one thing I did that made a tremendous difference. My C-8 is plugged into a TP-Link satellite router. As they are on top of a wall unit I had laid my TP-Link on its side so it wouldn't be visible. On the 9th day of my data point I stood it upright. That instantly brought a big jump up in my data speeds and reduced my # of hops dramatically. I know Hubitat suggests having the hub about a foot away from the router, but I never saw anything about the orientation of the router (and I had assumed it was spherical to get the best all-around coverage). One of the reasons I went with Z-Wave vs. Zigbee way back when was I had read that Zigbee was at 2.4, the same as one of the WiFi frequencies. So I'm very surprised that the orientation of the TP-Link satellite had such a profound effect on it.
In any event, here are a couple of charts showing my results. Because the # of hops is between 1-4 and the speeds are 9.6-100 the # of hops was so small that the differences were very hard to make out. So I made another chart with just the # of hops and overlaid it on the other chart and made it transparent so you could see those fluctuations better. (BTW, there was 1 day where 1 device was at 4 hops, but I didn't include 4 hops in the 3rd chart, but it was used in calculating the average # of hops per device and the speed/hops)
One final note: The #'s for the C-8 in both average speed and average hops were worse than the C-7 when the TP-Link was on its side. But I did not hook up C-7 back up once I stood the TP-Link upright so I can't say how it would have preformed with the TP-Link standing upright. As such, I can't say if the C-8 is "better" than the C-7 or not.