The latest IEEE standard, 802.11ac is taking off and it’s about time to catapult your wireless speeds into the stratosphere if you haven’t already. These goofy looking routers with their many antennas are the first steps into taking you business to the next level. But just like with most technology, not all routers are created equal. How do you tell which are top of the line and which fall short of expectations? We’ve made it easy for you by breaking down the top five 802.11ac routers, based on consumer reviews and professional opinion, for 2015.
This router is one of the fastest, long range routers on the market today. It’s a little more expensive that the other routers on this list, but you certainly get what you pay for. Not only is it fast and convenient, but it also has a level of security that keeps viruses and malware at bay.
- Ultra-fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi router with a combined dual-band data rate of 2334 Mbps for smooth up to 4K/UHD video playback, ultra-fast file-sharing of large files and low-latency online gaming.
- World’s first 4×4 MU-MIMO antenna design with AiRadar universal beamforming for unrivaled multi-device performance and wireless signal coverage up to 465 m² (around 5,000ft²)1
- Built-in USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports for up to 10-times faster data transfers to USB storage devices2, printer sharing, and 3G/4G dongle support.
- ASUSWRT graphical user interface for easy, CD-free 30-second setup and hassle-free advanced network control.
- AiProtection with Trend Micro with triple-strength total network security, plus robust parental controls and privacy protection.
- ASUS AiCloud 2.0 lets you access, sync, share and stream your files anywhere, on any internet-connected device
This router also performs very well at long range it has more powerful hardware than previous generations of Linksys routers and will help you reach those mythical speeds your wireless provider says are possible, but you have never seen before. The only drawback is that the storage feature does not support Time Machine backup.
- 1.2 GHz dual core processor
- 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Linksys Smart Wi-Fi software with Network Map
- Open Source Ready
Possibly the most unique router on this list, the AirStation Extreme AC 1750 uses third party open source firmware and plays in particularly well with more experienced users because there are less adjustments that need to be made to the hardware to get the performance you’re looking for. It has a slightly shorter range than some of the other routers on the list.
- Open source DD-WRT pre-installed
- Next generation wireless 802.11ac
- Speeds up to 1750 Mbps (AC1300 + N450)*
- Allows up to 4 simultaneous gigabit wired connections
- HighPower technology improves coverage and reduces or eliminates dead spots
- Implicit Beamforming optimizes signal energy for enhanced operation
- Wireless security – AOSS/WPS support
- Priority Control QoS automatically prioritizes traffic according to user’s preference
- USB 3.0 accessory port for NAS and USB 2.0 for printer capabilities
- Backward compatible with 802.11n/a/g/b devices
- Configure as an access point or wireless bridge
- Many DD-WRT capabilities such as OpenVPN, VLAN and full command-line root access, VPN passthrough, DNS caching, ability to create multiple SSIDs, Telnet and SSH root access and more
Another impressive router from Asus that boasts some impressive hardware. Although it’s a little too powerful than one may need in their home, this router will do great for a business environment or a place where there are more devices trying to connect. It is the fastest router on the market today, but you need high quality and expensive Wi-Fi clients to fully realize this speed.
- The world’s fastest Wi-Fi router, with combined dual-band data rates of
1900 Mbps for three times faster performance than 802.11n routers
- Broadcom® TurboQAM™ technology increases wireless-N data rate to
600 Mbps for 33% faster performance
- Five Gigabit Ethernet ports for fast, stable wired network connections
- Dual USB ports with USB 3.0 for ten times faster data transfer than USB 2.0
- Dual-core processor for fast and responsive performance with Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB devices
- ASUS AiCloud cloud service to access, sync, share, and stream your data wherever you are, even connect to other compatible routers creating a private cloud server with family and friends
One of the best looking routers on the market, AirPort Extreme is also one of the most reliable. Other than being better looking, not much has changed on this router from the previous generation. Despite being an Apple product, it does not support Time Machine.
- 802.11ac. The new definition of fast.
- Simultaneous dual-band support
- Beamforming puts the focus on your device
- Smaller footprint. More desk space.
- Simple and secure file sharing.
- Print without wires.
- Connect to Wi‑Fi from any device
- Go the wired route if you want.