Should I wait for WiFi Certified before buying an 802.11ac router?

Created by leelaroxi on July 26, 2012, 4:17 p.m.
  • Lookin' at getting Wifi for our apartment and what I am thinking is that if I am going to do that then I should get the fastest Wifi I can get. Looks like the fastest are the new 802.11ac routers.

    The issue for me is that from what I have read the 802.11ac certification won’t be issued till early 2013, yet I am seeing 802.11ac on the market claiming they are 802.11ac – even though they can’t be ‘Wi-Fi CERTIFIED’ since the 11ac certification hasn't started yet. Reviews that I have read of these first 802.11ac product mention that they are based on a first draft of the 802.11ac spec, and might have some performance issues with products that are based on the final 802.11ac spec

    My understanding is that the ‘Wi-Fi CERTIFIED’ certification makes sure that the devices will be function correctly and be fully compatible with other 11ac products.

    I feel it is best to wait on 802.11ac, since I have waited this long, another 6 month shouldn’t kill me.

    Should I wait till early next year to buy an 802.11ac router, or get an 802.11n router now?

  • While you're probably ok getting them before certification's done, there's no guarantee that your pre-cert AC devices would work after the standard's finished. And from what I remember from when N was first coming out, first generations were pretty poor in the ways of performance.

    N's capable of 130Mbps (16.25MB/s). What kind of application are you looking at that you'll need something higher?

    Edit: If you get devices of the same brand then you should be fine. Should have mentioned that before.

  • Should be able to pick up a decent n for under 50 bucks nowadays. Not a huge investment in the interim.

  • @leelaroxi: If you are in apartment the benefits of AC will not be applicable to you. In reality the throughput performance we can currently achieved with 2x3 and 3x3 based N units offering outstanding wireless throughput ( between 125 to 200+Mbps ) this allows for multiple HD streams, low latency gaming and an overall outstanding wireless experience. What you should be considering more is if you need USB storage and to what extent as well as your usage of LAN ( WAN ) hard line connections. Concurrent usage of all these connections can vary performance levels. I can tell you i have been very impressed with our AC product internally and they have full compatibility with current N based product but unless you are going to purchase a secondary unit to have a AC bridge and then connect Ethernet to that bridge it may not make sense ( especially with no AC client available ). Right now you should focus at getting a unit that fits your usage environment.

    I would consider something like the RT-N53 if you do not need high performance local connectivity ( hardline ) and no USB storage support ( which would also be nice for attached storage or printer sharing. Should you need USB storage the RT-N56U is an great option that offers a hardware NAT for ultra fast lan connections and current dual band. If you think you will heavily saturate and use a 5GHz band consider the RT-N65U which has two processors to help maintain superior performance when concurrent usage is occurring.

    Range wise in an apartment none should be an issue hopefully auto negotiation of channels will be smooth but depending on the wireless usage in your apartment complex you may need to manually set.

    Hope this helps.

  • Thank you guys so much for all the feedback.

    I did some research did find a lot of issues with the early 802.11n routers, so I am going to wait to get an 802.11ac router.

    I agree, in my current situation 11ac is probably not the best use of money.

    What I ended up doing is I got one of the new Western Digital My Net N900 802.11n router. Dual channel, works with anything and it has the FasTrack Plus doing auto priority. Much faster then I thought it would be and so I am now set-up well. Great router!