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  • tyft86 - Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - link

    When are we going to see some reviews of the new AC routers hitting shelves? eg: Netgear Nighthawk, Asus AC68U? Reply
  • althaz - Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - link

    This! I need a new router, but it's kinda hard to decide which one to get. Reply
  • Mayuyu - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    Try SmallNetBuilder. They're the standard in wireless reviews. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    I second this. To answer the OP, the Nighthawk is the clear winner on performance by a wide margin.
  • juhatus - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    And looking at the 1star comments on amazon, wait for Netgear to fix firmware before buying..?
    In the mean while I'd rather recommend Asus RT-ac68u, been good so far.. on stock firmware.
  • Maltz - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    I've had a Netgear router... I'll pass. The hardware was great, but the firmware was atrocious. And remained so for over two years after the model first shipped. I finally gave up waiting and got an ASUS. I've been very happy with it. Reply
  • stunta - Thursday, January 23, 2014 - link

    I have been using the Nighthawk for a couple of months now. No firmware issues. Best domestic router on the market IMO. Deserves an AT review. Reply
  • coolhardware - Monday, January 27, 2014 - link

    I had WiFi connection issues with the Nighthawk, specifically some of my devices would connect at much lower speeds than with other routers (we're talking 54mbs vs. 300mbs). I had very high hopes for SAMBA after reading the smallnetbuilder review, bit alas SAMBA would flake out during transfers involving many small files. I found the traffic reporting feature to be subpar compared to other manufacturers and that is an important feature for me (as I have a monthly GB transfer limit). The final nail in the coffin was that even general web usage (on my admittedly slow connection) was subpar compared to my previous router. Thus the Nighthawk* was returned to Amazon and I reverted to my trusty last-gen ASUS router.

    *I could handle these quirks/bugs on a cheap router but not a high-end one.
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    I have the NightHawk as well. I haven't had any WiFi dropouts,and it has been generally stable. To be honest I haven't really noticed much of a performance gain over my old $25 refurbished WNR2000, although it does seem to handle more connections (I have about 20 devices in the house) and has a stronger signal. I don't have any AC drevices yet, so I guess I shouldn't expect any improvement. I think most of the problems with the NightHawk have been more of the advanced features (like USB storage) that I don't use, but do want to try eventually. The problem with reviews is that they normally test things in a controlled environment, and not with 20 random devices, all at different speeds, connected to it. It will have to last me a long time to make it worth the money. For now, the only real benefit for me is the strong signal - much stronger than my old router. Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, January 24, 2014 - link

    That table looks like it would be a great reference if I intended to use a stock firmware; but since I'd be flashing my new router to DD-WRT as soon as I was confident it didn't have an out of the box problem that'd require a warranty claim, it falls well short of what I need. Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, February 04, 2014 - link

    As a NightHawk owner, I really wouldn't call it a clear winner. You'd hardly notice the difference between it and the second place router that is $50 cheaper, or even the $84 D-link AC1200. I haven't had many stability issues with the NightHawk, but I'm not sure it's worth the money. Reply
  • B3an - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    I wish AT would get some new people on board so there can be more (detailed) reviews. Reply
  • msahni - Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - link

    HI there
    what happened to the ASUS RT-AC87U and what about the AMPED AC1900 RTA30.

    Come on guys we don't expect ANANDTECH to give us yesterdays news tomorrow .....
  • tyft86 - Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - link

    Don't worry I'm still waiting for the MacBook Pro Retina 2013's now 2014! Reply
  • Krysto - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    I'm waiting for 802.11ac-2013 which should give 7Gbps on 5Ghz, and at least 1Gbps for 2.4 Ghz. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    Just defined standard probably means we're at least a year away from seeing products that support 11ac-2013 (shouldn't it be 2014 now?), but it's definitely cool sounding. Even if you can only get 1/3 the promised bandwidth, the ability to do over 2Gbps of real throughput over WiFi would be awesome. The problem is, to get 7Gbps you need 160MHz channels and eight streams; we're still waiting for retail four-stream implementations, and most are still topping out at 80MHz channels, plus 160MHz means you're carving out a huge portion of the spectrum so you'd need to be free from other 5GHz network interference to get it to work. Some day, though, I'll be able to finally rid myself of my last Gigabit Ethernet cables. Maybe. Reply
  • Krysto - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    Better wait for 802.11ac-2013 that will give at least 1 Gbps for 2.4Ghz and a whooping 7Gbps for 5Ghz.
  • 1andrew - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    I thought AC was supposed to be 5 GHz only. I live in a complex and I can see about 15 2.4 GHz access points and I'm the only one on 5 GHz. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - link

    11ac is 5GHz only, but it's also backwards compatible with 11n/11g so you also get 2.4GHz support. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, January 23, 2014 - link

    Yeah, that's what I thought. I understand there isn't enough spectrum for larger 2.4g channels and 2.4 is too noisy for a higher level of QAM to be effective; but I kinda wish MU-MIMO was backported to the 2.4ghz part of the router. Being able to send streams to several legacy devices at once would be a nice improvement for on legacy devices. Reply
  • azazel1024 - Thursday, January 23, 2014 - link

    Uhhh did I miss something here? I was unaware that any of the AC1900 routers were 4 stream 2.4GHz capable. To the best of my knowledge, they all use "Turbo QAM" in the 2.4GHz space, which is effectively an extension of 802.11n allowing a 256 character QAM encoding scheme to increase per stream speed to 200Mbps from 150Mbps on 40MHz. Normally 802.11n uses 64 character QAM.

    So I think that the intial opening describing the router is incorrect.
  • azazel1024 - Thursday, January 23, 2014 - link

    Also ditching your GbE cables is probably a pipe dream. Clients are going to be rare that have that many antennas, ignoring the bandwidth bit.

    I think where 7GHz capable 802.11ac is going to come in is MU-MIMO. Have 4 867Mbps clients...great, each one can get 2 antennas dedicated to it and you can actually utilize most of that 8 stream bandwidth that the router/AP has in store.

    Its a rare laptop that has more than 2 antennas in it and smaller devices are not even that common that have 2 antennas in them.

    I doubt we'll see more than 2 antennas in anything smaller than a tablet and frankly I think more than 2 in a tablet is also going to be rare. Just isn't that much real estate.

    If you were thinking of doing more than 2 antennas anyway, you'd probably be served going with two BIGGER antennas in the client device than you would be with trying to cram a 3rd antenna in there (at least for most applications).

    Even if you were bridging and could bring to bear that >5Gbps of theoretical bandwidth, being 5GHz, in the same room you might hit 3Gbps, downhill with a tail wind. You'd probably hit 1Gbps two rooms over and dropping further from there. The wider the used bandwidth, the lower the long range performance is (in 2.4GHz, at high attenuation/range, 20MHz provides both better throughput and longer range than 40MHz does. In 5GHz the same principle applies. So 802.11ac at 20Mhz has better range and performance at long ranges than 802.11ac does at 80MHz and I imagine more so with 160MHz).

    Beyond that, by the time anyone is seriously consider AC7000 routers, I'd imagine 10GbE copper is going to be reaching at least enthusiast pricing levels, if not exactly current GbE pricing and adoption.

    My 10GbE wire speeds will crush your theoretical AC7000 wireless speeds :-P
  • trivor - Thursday, January 23, 2014 - link

    Stay away from Netgear - I bought (at the time) the highest end dual band (WNDR 3700) and had nothing but problems with it - dropping connections, rebooting the router 1-2 times/week. I replaced it with an ASUS RT56u and it has been superb - especially in comparison to the Netgear. Netgear has lost my business for good. Reply
  • coolhardware - Monday, January 27, 2014 - link

    Trivor, I had the same bad experience with Netgear and I reverted to my old trusty ASUS :-) Reply
  • tygrus - Saturday, January 25, 2014 - link

    The problems are: the reduction in available bandwidth dependant on location (country regs and local interference); real world installation is affected by many neighbours using the same frequencies for wireless or wanting overlapping reception between routers for coverage of a larger premises; even with a promised 300Mbps I get 10% usable with a 30Mbps / 3MBps transfers. Reply
  • richard1941 - Wednesday, June 25, 2014 - link

    High gain antenna? What is the gain, in dbi? When they talk about a high gain antenna, I envision a dish or a yagi that must be pointed at the target. This maximizes the signal in the desired direction, while reducing the interfering signals in other directions. That is what you need to access a distant WiFi, like the McDonalds that is about 200 yards from me.

    There is a relation between gain and beam width that is based on the physics law of conservation of energy. It is preposterous to call the antennas shown here as "high gain".

    Note that the FCC has specific rules related to high gain antennas. However, even with the required power reductions, the range can be greatly extended.

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