Buffalo AirStation 1750 802.11ac Router
Next generation Wi-Fi has arrived and it is very, very fast.
Price as reviewed £199.00
- First 802.11ac networking equipment
- 2.4GHz & 5GHz dual bands
- 802.11a/b/g/n backwards compatible
- Currently needs 802.11ac media bridge
Welcome to the bleeding edge, the place where next generation technology awaits, along with quite a few paper cuts. Leading us to this exciting yet sometimes infuriating region this time is Buffalo, which has become the first company to ship a router and network bridge compliant with 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
Next Generation WiFi
The brief on 802.11ac is simple: it is the long-awaited successor to 802.11n and it promises data rates beyond 1Gbps (125 megabytes per second) over the still little used 5GHz band. It also claims to offer increased range to eliminate dead spots around the home. The fly in the ointment is the 802.11ac standard has yet to be finalised and (much like ‘Draft N‘ devices) impatient companies are already starting to ship ‘Draft AC’ equipment with the promise of future firmware updates to bring it into line with the finalised standard whenever and whatever that may be. In addition there are currently no 802.11ac laptops, tablets, phones or even USB and PCI cards on the market.
Which brings us back to Buffalo and its catchily-named AirStation 1750 Wireless 802.11n 11ac Gigabit Dual Band Router WZR-D1800H-EU (above, left). In order to immediately enjoy its next gen connectivity it has also launched the equally snappy ‘AirStation 1300 Wireless 802.11n 11ac Gigabit Dual Band Media Bridge WLI-H4-D1300-EU’ (above, right). This acts as a receiver for the router’s ac Wi-Fi and has four Ethernet ports on the back to connect devices. It is a workaround, but for the likes of NAS boxes, media players, desktop PCs and other devices that a) don’t have integrated Wi-Fi, or b) tend not to move around, it is a smart and completely driverless one.
So let’s take a closer look at the router part. Naturally the ‘1750’ figure, suggesting 1750Mbit speed is a cheat (it combines theoretical 1300Mbit 802.11ac and theoretical 450Mbit 802.11n speeds), though interestingly it could have been higher since 802.11n is supported over both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands giving a 900Mbit figure. For the record 802.11ac only works over the 5GHz band.
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