It is not cheap, new technology rarely ever is, but Buffalo’s first 802.11ac router is available. We have reached the end of 802.11n that got up to 600Mbits per second with MIMO protocol and four times 150Mbit a second and now it’s time for something faster.
Back at CES 2012 we saw a few companies show off live demos of the new 802.11ac at 900Mbits a second and even 1300Mbits and up. This is for the record, at least in theory, faster than Gigabit LAN that most of you have on a modern machine.
Buffalo is the first company to have an available 802.11ac product and it calls it Buffalo AirStation AC1300/N900. The product listing is starting from 173 euro in Europe and it should be available in some two to three weeks from now.
Back in the US it is already available at Amazon for $179.99, which is roughly what a high-end router costs these days. Buffalo will offer speeds up to 1300Mbits a second only with 5GHz 802.11ac cards and if you have devices limited to 2.4GHz you will be stuck at 450Mbits and old 802.11n.
The problem today is that 802.11ac cards that are almost impossible to find. After some time, they will be out, but today we failed to find any in stock from any vendor. When we finished this article we also found that Netgear R6300 WiFi Router also based on 802.11ac is available for $199 in USA right now.
The 802.11ac era has officially started. It needs some adapters and more integration in future notebooks, phone and tablets, but most of this will happen in the latter part of 2012 and later.