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WiFi N or wait for AC?

donne
Grafter
Posts: 64
Registered: 15-08-2007

WiFi N or wait for AC?

I've been looking at ways of improving wireless router performance  and I note in the forum several mentions of an Asus router which has found favour with several posters.  However it is quite expensive and for this amount of money I would hope any modem I would buy would be reasonably future-proof.  Up until now that would be a dual-band modem conforming to 801.11N.  Now it seems that 802.11AC products are entering the market which promise a three-fold increase in speed over the N spec.  Of course I've got no devices which conform to the higher speed spec yet but I guess it's only a matter of time before they make an appearance.  Should I look for an AC spec router? Any views?
4 REPLIES
nanotm
Pro
Posts: 5,682
Thanks: 111
Fixes: 1
Registered: 11-02-2013

Re: WiFi N or wait for AC?

the .ac is still in the reference phase
in another year or so once things have been decided upon it might be worth getting something that supports it but right now its still in the undecided phases with each manufacturer making different variations which according to some reviews don't play well with each other, it would be better to wait until the whole thing is settled like the .n stuff is now and far more kit supports it, which will of course ultimately lower the price of everything, when .n was in reference phase everything cost upwards of £150 but once the whole thing got ratified average prices dropped below £50 and different kit could actually talk to each other.
if you need the extra performance offered by high end stuff your better off getting a multi antenna dual band .n standard kit + matching adaptors for your devices, some of that stuff offers up to 300mbps each way (often refered to on packaging as up to 600mbps) or slightly cheaper up to 300mbps (150mbps up/down)
of course those things are still overkill in relation to the best home internet connection (up to 120mbps) so unless your planning on a lot of wireless file transfers within your home setup I wouldn't bother getting anything better than the bog standard .n kit and upgrade it in 3>4 years once connection speed and pricing of better wifi units become realistically affordable Smiley
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
Thanks: 291
Fixes: 4
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: WiFi N or wait for AC?

What I did was to not try using an overkill single box solution, but separate out the broadband, the LAN, and the wireless aspects of my network, so each component can be upgraded individually as technology advances.
I currently run four separate WAPs (Wireless Access Points) around my house, each located in the same rooms as the laptops/phones/etc are actually used.
These WAPs each run on different wireless channels, and are connected back to my broadband router using mains powerline adaptors - so the ethernet connections are over the house wiring.
This setup has a number of advantages -
1 -  Simple WAPs can be bought cheaply on eBay (other shops are available !) - to whatever spec (A/B/G/N/AC/etc) you like.
2 -  The wireless signal from each WAP only needs to cover one room, or floor.
3 -  Each WAP is easier to physically locate (for best wireless coverage) than moving a single wireless broadband router.
4 -  The system has some redundancy, because if a wireless channel fails or is congested, then your laptop can connect to the next nearest.
5 -  Because each WAP is only serving a subset of the wireless devices, the bandwidth for each will be higher than a single wireless router.
6 -  You can independently upgrade your broadband modem and/or router without disturbing your wireless setup.
7 -  Having separate WAPs (or a re-purposed wireless router) makes having a "guest network" easy to implement.
8 -  With the mains powerline adaptors in place, makes connecting wired PCs/printers/TVs/games consoles to the internet easier.
Wink
nanotm
Pro
Posts: 5,682
Thanks: 111
Fixes: 1
Registered: 11-02-2013

Re: WiFi N or wait for AC?

haha,
I too utilise powerlines and separate WAP's but I tried to answer why he would be better off not being an early adopter of a standard due to the fact in another year or two once the reference design is ratified he might end up with a pile of expensive junk that's incompatible with newer standardised gear built on and running the ratified standard
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
donne
Grafter
Posts: 64
Registered: 15-08-2007

Re: WiFi N or wait for AC?

Thanks for your views.  I do think that I could get adequate wifi coverage by going to the N spec with multiple antennas without resorting to the power line kit and WAPs.  However, it seems to me that even the dual-band N spec modem-router is currently quite expensive and I didn't want to add yet another redundant router to the pile accumulating at home.  But I take the point that it's probably better to wait until the AC spec and supporting chipsets mature a bit.