Have you heard of the new wireless AC routers? They are blazing fast and come with a slew of features like beamforming, MoCA, multiple bands, and backwards compatibility with older Wireless G & N devices. We’ll get more into that later. For now, let’s simply say 802.11n routers are old news and 802.11ac is the new kid on the block now.
More About the 802.11ac Wireless AC Standard
The new 802.11ac wireless standard was released in 2013. It is the fastest wireless WiFi to-date with dual bands in the 2.4GHz & 5GHz frequency. The wireless AC speed can reach 1300 Mbps (1.3 Gbps) on the 5GHz band and up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4HGz band meaning there is plenty of juice to provide simultaneous wireless WiFi connections to your iPad, Roku, Kindle, smart phone, and more!
802.11 N vs AC Routers – Should I Upgrade My Wireless N Router?
Should you upgrade from your wireless N router to the new wireless AC router? Great question. If you have a Wireless N router, chances are it could be nearly 6 years old. In tech years, that’s old… just think about how long your desktop computers or phones have lasted in the past. Age is one issue, features are another. Below are some additional considerations you can chew on regarding 802.11 AC vs N routers.
- Compatibility: 802.11ac routers are backwards compatible with 802.11n, 802.11g, and 802.11b devices.
- Speed: 802.11ac routers can reach speeds up to 1.3 Gbps vs 802.11n routers that can only reach a max of 450 Mbps. Wireless AC is nearly triple the speed of Wireless N.
- Range: 802.11ac routers incorproate advanced “beamforming” which directs a signal directly at a device vs. the “spray a pray” method often used by older wireless N/G routers.
- Dual Bands: Wireless AC routers support simultaneous connections on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi bands.
- Security: Latest WPA and WPA2 Wi-Fi security
What Are 802.11ac Modem Router Combo Devices?
You probably have a separate cable/DSL modem and router. If you are looking to upgrade your wireless router, you may want to consider upgrading your modem too. This can be expensive with a cable modem running you $100 and a good wireless AC router costing around $200. Have you heard of wireless router modem combo devices? Rather than buying separate devices, you can buy a single unit instead. For fellow minimalists, not having a separate device, power cable, and wasting shelf real estate is a huge advantage.
My Personal Recommendation – Motorola SURFboard eXtreme (SBG6782-AC) Wireless AC & Cable Modem Combo Review
As mentioned above, had I bought a decent wireless AC router and cable modem separately, I would have easily spent $300. Luckily, I bought the Motorola SURFboard eXtreme (SBG6782-AC) Cable Modem AC Router Combo
unit for $200… that’s some nice savings!
Why I like and recommend the Motorola SURFboard eXtreme (SBG6782-AC) Wireless AC Router & Cable Modem Combo…
- Activation was a cinch. Only took me 10 minutes to setup and activate. This wireless router’s UI is clean and intuitive.
- Latest Wireless AC Router compatible with Cox Cable… huge plus.
- Guest login on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands – I no longer have to give out my personal password to friends.
- MoCA enabled which allows you to create a network using your house coax wiring. I haven’t had the time to look into this yet but can’t wait to get this setup.
- Super fast and responsive. I also have 4 gigabit RJ45 ethernet ports just in case I need them.
- The range is great! I now have the freedom to sit in the backyard and blog while catching some vitamin D.
Buy a Cheap Motorola SURFboard eXtreme (SBG6782-AC) Cable Modem & Wireless AC Router
Occasionally, one of the big box stores like BestBuy will have a decent sale and you can pickup a cheap AC router. Personally, I always suggest checking out Amazon first. They tend to have the best prices and with Amazon Prime you can often score free shipping. Save your time and gas… click the image below to check out prices and compare the best deals.