Most new routers support 802.11ac 5ghz. It is not always clear whether to look closely at them. The article presents the differences between the new technology and the old one, compiled a rating of the 5 Best 5ghz Router With 802.11ac, and also shows the pros and cons of the 5ghz 802.11ac specification.
What is dual band 802.11 AC WiFi modem?
The Wi-Fi standard was first introduced in 2011. It is an evolutionary development of previous specifications but uses only a 5GHz frequency range. Therefore, it is backward compatible only with the 802.11n standard in the part that also uses this frequency. As of 2019, 802.11ac has not yet become widespread, although most new routers already support it.
What is the difference between 802.11 b/g/n and 802.11 ac?
Technically, the key difference is 5 GHz. There are also important features that are discussed below.
Which is faster 802.11 N or 802.11 ac?
The higher the signal frequency, the more information the device can transmit. One antenna of an 802.11n router provides data at 150 Mbps, and in 802.11ac 450 Mbps. The more transmitters in the device, the higher the maximum speed.
Wide range of coverage
The 802.11n standard uses 13 channels for data transmission. That is, 13 clients can work freely within the same premises. The new specification uses 23 channels.
The radio air at a frequency of 2.4 GHz is overloaded with devices, which is especially noticeable in apartment buildings. Paired with a relatively small number of channels, this reduces the data transfer rate for each individual router. 802.11ac uses a different frequency with more channels and fewer devices. In practice, this provides an increase in speed.
There is no need to hope for the unconditional benefits of the new standard. The more routers work on 802.11ac, the more the frequency range will be loaded. Inevitably, the same situation that is now characteristic of 802.11n will arise.
Best 5ghz Router With 802.11ac
The main characteristic of this segment is as they are budget models.
MikroTik hAP AC
A manufacturer’s router that stands out from the competition with its software design. The model is notable for the presence of an SFP port through which a fiber-optic cable is connected. Installed 2 radio modules for 2.4 and 5 GHz, which work independently of each other.
Not the most productive platform is used: a 720 MHz single-core processor and 128 MB of RAM. This makes it unjustified to use the device to build a network to which more than 3-4 clients will be connected. But thanks to the support of MIMO 3 × 3 technology, the signal will be stable at each frequency. The USB port is intended for connecting hard drives and 3G / 4G modems. Separately, it is worth noting the number of functions that can be configured, but this requires a good understanding of network technologies.
- the presence of a connector for connecting to fiber;
- quality and capabilities of the firmware.
- processor power is not enough to connect more than 4 clients at the maximum possible speed;
- utilitarian appearance.
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Router with built-in 3G / 4G modem. Allows you to create an uninterrupted internet connection that will not depend on one provider. For Wi-Fi, 2 radio modules are used at 2.4 and 5 GHz, and for mobile Internet, the HiSilicon LTE Cat6 chipset. There are 4 Gigabit LAN ports and 1 USB 2.0. The model is notable for the possibility of simultaneous processing of requests from 64 clients and the presence of an analog telephone connector RJ-11.
- LTE support;
- small size and weight.
- USB 2.0;
- cannot be wall-mounted.
TP-LINK Archer C5400X
Market leader model with three radio modules. Two are for 5 GHz and one for 2.4 GHz. It uses one of the most productive platforms in 2019: a 4-core 1.8 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. The device allows transferring data via 3 radio modules and 8 Gigabit LAN ports without freezing. The class of the device is noticeable by the 2 USB 3.0 ports. You can connect external NAS drives via the Ethernet interface, where higher data transfer rates are achieved. The device is configured using a web page or a mobile application. In the latter case, Bluetooth is used for communication. Taken together, this makes the router an ideal internet hub that serves many clients.
- productive platform;
- large wireless coverage area.
- dimensions – body in the form of a square with a side of 28 cm;
- the only activity light is on the top, not the side of the chassis.
ASUS GT-AC5300 Rapture
Massive (weight under 2 kg) router on a productive platform. Installed a 4-core processor (1.8 GHz), 1 GB of RAM, 3 radio modules with simultaneous operation in two frequency ranges. The set of wired interfaces is represented by 8 Gigabit LAN ports and two USB 3.0. The wireless signal is transmitted using 8 detachable antennas, which are evenly spaced around the perimeter of the case. The device is configured via the web interface. The software is only from the manufacturer, so it is not possible to install an alternative firmware.
- 4-core processor and 1 GB of RAM;
- 3 independent radio modules, each containing an 800 MHz processor.
- most of the functions are not required for ordinary users.
also check out Best Routers For Home Use.
Flagship router that supports not only 802.11ac, but also 802.11ad, operating at 60 GHz. The hardware consists of a 1.7 GHz 4-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 6 Gigabit LAN ports, 2 USB 3.0. Internet connection is possible via fiber optic and ethernet cable. As of 2019, it does not offer a significant increase in speed when compared to devices that cost 2 times cheaper. However, the model is profitable because of the potential, since with the introduction of new Wi-Fi communication standards it will make sense to use technologies that are already in use today.
- supports the newer standard 802.11ac;
- productive platform.
- outdated design and functionality of the web interface.
|Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi Router Pro||802.11ac, 5 and 2.4||3хLAN (1 Gbps), 1xUSB (3.0)|
|MikroTik hAP AC||802.11ac, 5 and 2.4||4хLAN (1 Gb / s), 1xUSB (2.0)|
|Huawei B525||802.11ac, 5 and 2.4||4хLAN (1 Gb / s), 1xUSB (2.0)|
|TP-LINK Archer C5400X||802.11ac, 5 and 2.4||8хLAN (1 Gbps), 2xUSB (3.0)|
|ASUS GT-AC5300 Rapture||802.11ac, 5 and 2.4||8хLAN (1 Gbps), 2xUSB (3.0)|
|NETGEAR R9000||802.11ac, 5 and 2.4||6хLAN (1 Gbps), 2xUSB (3.0)|
Pros and Cons to using 5GHz wireless routers
Advantages of 5ghz wifi:
- The data transfer rate is 3 times higher when compared to equipment that uses only 802.11n.
- Always support 2.4GHz, allowing simultaneous dual-band operation. This improves both speed and stability of data transfer.
- Large capacity of the frequency range. More wireless networks can be deployed in the same area using the 5 GHz frequency.
Disadvantages of 5ghz wifi:
- At 5 GHz, the effect of obstacles is more pronounced. This cannot be eliminated, as the signal frequency decreases, its range increases.
- Connected clients must support this frequency. Many budget smartphones and tablets are still equipped with Wi-Fi modules of the 802.11n standard with a frequency of 2.4 GHz.
- You should only buy a router with 802.11ac support. It is not yet ubiquitous, but 802.11n will fade into oblivion, as will 802.11a or 802.11b.
- It is worth spending on a router only if you need to simultaneously connect more than 5 clients to it.
- If the router will distribute the Internet for a single computer or smartphone, then the cheapest option with 802.11ac will be enough.
- When the provider’s data transfer rate is below 300 Mbps, it makes no sense to change the old router to a new one with 802.11ac support. In such conditions, the updated model will provide the same Wi-Fi speed as an 802.11n device.