Best 802.11ac wireless routers

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Seamus Byrne is the Editor of CNET Australia. At other times he'll be found messing with apps, watching TV, building LEGO, and rolling dice. Usually at the same time.

It's early days for the not-quite-finalised next-generation Wi-Fi standard. Final approval of the draft standard is not expected until early 2014, but like the .11n standard before it, this hasn't stopped some manufacturers diving into the deep end.

What do you get from 802.11ac? In essence you're buying yet more bandwidth — beyond 1 gigabit per second available overall at its best, and 500 megabits per wireless stream. That makes good room for multiple HD video streams, and even Ultra HD down the track.

While the routers are emerging, other devices are limited. So buying an 802.11ac router is about preparing for a future where TVs, smartphones and laptops start including the standard around 2014 and 2015. An 802.11ac router is also often a very good 802.11n router, so you're not losing out on the best of the current generation of Wi-Fi by stepping forward today.

To get the full benefit of 802.11ac today, you'll need to invest in some .11ac adapters to give your devices compatibility.

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ADSLNerd posted a comment   

I would not be rushing out to buy any of these as the standard is still in Draft and will be for at least a year. No point splashing case on hardware which is based on a draft standard, as this could require more than just a firmware upgrade down the path. In fact this could mean a whole new chipset is required, which means your AC router is old tech already.

Remember the 802.11n spec took 7 years to be ratified, so this is all a waiting game and no one in their right mind buys the first iteration of hardware based on a new standard until bugs / issues are resolved.


narasb posted a reply   

This is good advise.

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