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Thursday, 11 October 2012 10:49

802.11 ac routers out, but no laptops to support them

Written by Fuad Abazovic



Wave of the future


Usually it’s the other way around. Notebooks, desktops and cards come with the support for the latest, greatest standard like 802.11ac and it takes a while until you get routers for it.

This summer we saw a different approach, with a few manufacturers launching 802.11ac routers and some names including Cisco – Linksys, Netgear and Asus are out with their next generation 5G Wi-Fi solution. The catch is that there are no notebooks to take advantage of this standard, let alone phones.

Some notebooks with 802.11ac might show their face this year but there will be no phones or tablets to support 802.11ac this year. If we are lucky someone might use this new standard in 2013 phones and tablets but not the ones we have today.

The only solution you have today and give your „1750“ router a run for its money is to buy a USB stick such as Netgear A6200, capable of processing up to 900Mbit a second. This would not use the whole 1300Mhz spectrum that is theoretically available but it’s a good start. The downside of this USB stick is that it is rather large and with a price around 60 Euro ($69.99 at Newegg ) it’s not really a great deal.

In USA 802.11ac routers starts from $138 for Buffalo’s Airstation AC1300 and go up to around $199 for Linksys. Asus is selling some at $180 and the Dlink Amplifi Cloud router 5700 is available for $190. Again the only available USB Wifi 802.11 ac card is Netgear A6200-100NAS USB 2.0 802.11ac Dual Band Wi-Fi Adapter and nothing else.

There is no doubt that 802.11ac is the future and that your network with two separate bands and networks including up to 450Mbit 802.11n + 1300Mbit capable 802.11ac that operates at another frequency, so it can be faster if you have many devices connected at the same time, but unless you stream big HD movies in house, you will end up being throttled by your internet connection that for most parts of the word is limited to maximum 50Mbits to 100Mbits.

The fact that Intel Centrino, currently the most popular solution for notebooks doesn’t have an 802.11ac in its offering speaks for itself. Probably this comes with Haswell netbooks in 2013, at least we hope.

Fuad Abazovic

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