Should I join the 802.11ac bandwagon?


Aug 31, 2008
I just bought a new house and am starting my wifi setup from scratch. The cable internet is advertised at 30 Mbps. I don't have any wireless ac devices at the moment but was thinking of future proof. Also would like to get most out of my current wireless-n devices. I currently have a gaming rig, 2x Blu-ray players with WiFi streaming, a laptop, a network hdd storage and 2 iPhone. I may be getting a tablet shortly and also adding a htpc setup.

Is 802.11ac worth jumping onto?

I am mainly looking at these two:


Should i go big with 1750 or will 1200 be good enough for near future? If 1200 good enough should i just go 802.11-n 1200?


Fully [H]
May 5, 2006
Personally I think AC is overkill for most applications. I would rather get a really good quality n router.

Unless your area is congested, 5ghz is not really necessary either.


Jun 2, 2004
I was on the same boat and decided against AC for now. For me, too many walls, weak N signal due to my homes structures and walls, and powerline adapters are giving me ~15 meg/sec which is enough to stream 1080p. You probably want to consider:
1. Do you get a strong signal with wireless N? If not, AC will be worse as it likes to beam form.
2. What are your actual network data demands? You listed some but it isn't relevant unless you know how much throughput. If your top need is to stream 1080p, a power adapter will work too.
3. Are you on a cement slab or raised foundation? Do you have an attic if you are on a cement slab? Is your future goal to wire all the rooms in your home? That's my plan eventually, and since I'm on a raised foundation and the crawlspace is clean, I'll be running the cables myself.
If AC suits your needs above, go for it. If not, get a strong N router.


[H]F Junkie
Jun 5, 2004
Well, what will be ON your wireless? If you were planning on putting ALL of the stuff you listed on wi-fi (assuming yes since you bothered to list it all without specifically mentioning that only some would be on wi-fi)... you have MUCH to learn. Wi-fi is for portable devices and as a last resort, only. It is NOT meant to be used simply because you're too lazy to run a wire (or because you're so OCD that you can't stand the sight of a wire - too many people need to get over it and stop being miserable because they can *gasp* see a harmless wire). Too many devices on it will cause it to be unreliable and possibly slow. You can't just make a network - or anything else - without having to actually think about it. Many consumers think that is exactly what wi-fi delivers, but they are completely wrong.
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[H]F Junkie
Mar 31, 2001
I prefer quality n router over speed.

I really like my cisco 1262 (dual radio, dual band, 6 antenna!!!)


Supreme [H]ardness
Sep 27, 2000
I believe the common wisdom with Wi-Fi is the greater the speed, the shorter the range.


Fully [H]
May 5, 2006
Personally I rock the standard Unifi APs (2.4ghz, N) and they are the best wireless routers I have used outside of full on enterprise gear.

ROCK solid performance. Fast connections and roaming. Streams HD no problem. Unless you are in a congested area, 2.4 N is the way to go.

Most get so hooked into having the fastest wireless when in reality, you are not going to see that speed most of the time and use it even less. If something is critical, wire it, as it will be faster regularly than even the best wireless.


Jul 21, 2007
I just picked up a 3 pack of Unifi's this week and and EdgeMax router...the ubiquiti products are fantastic. I was using Cisco 1121 series AP's for a wireless G network and the coverage is significantly better with the Unifi and they do N. So I would recommend those.

AC at this point isn't really defacto so it won't hurt to stick with N. If you really want it why not do 2 Wireless LAN's? At my house I have two - a G network and my new N network. The G services my playstation 3, wife's iPad, printer and my kindle. The N network services my PC and that's it.


Jun 28, 2004
I would only consider an 802.11ac router future proof if it was final spec. Since 802.11ac is currently in draft form and the final spec has not been published, no device can be called 802.11ac spec future proof.

Copied from another thread:

If your can not get 75Mbps when directly connected to the FIOS router, Verizon needs to replace your actiontec router (and they will, if you ask them).

MoCA (ethernet over cable in your house) comes in two specs currently 1.1 and 2.0 1.1 is rated at 270Mbps, but some dig dong manufacturers pair it with fast ethernet ports that only run at 100Mbps. If you buy the model with Gigabit ports you'll see the faster 270Mbps speeds. MoCA works quite well as connections and noise are not usually a problem.

MoCA 2.0 devices should start showing up later in 2014. Netgear as a product page with a unreleased WiFi extender that is MoCA 2.0

Powerline ethernet aka Homeplug comes in AV, AV+ and AV2 specs.
Avoid anything spec'd as AV !!!!
AV+ and AV2 are about the same if you have crappy wiring and long distances.
AV2 can be twice as fast as AV+ when both adapters are placed on the same electrical phase.
AV2 can also use the electrical ground as a communication signal. This enables AV2 adapters to work in places where older homeplug devices could not function.

Do not use Powerline ethernet if you have Arc Fault breakers.
Do not plug in a Powerline ethernet adapter into a surge protector.


AV typically 10-20Mbps (Listed as 200Mbps) if it works at all.

AV+ typicall 10-45Mbps (Listed as 500Mbps) when on the same electrical phase.
If you are using 3 or more adapters you may see speeds as high as 90Mbps combined throughput across all the adapters.

AV2 typically 10-85Mbps (Listed as 600Mbps) (up to 160Mbps under ideal connections for a single stream) If you are using 3 or more adapters you may see speeds as high as 180Mbps combined throughput across all the adapters.

For streaming video, or any situation where you are streaming UDP packets:

Using a physical Ethernet cable is the best option
MoCA is the second best choice
Powerline networking (Homeplug) is the third best choice
Wireless is your final choice

The one caveat to the list above is that you must maintain enough bandwidth for your application to work correctly.

A 30Mbps homeplug conection will have far better performance than a 30Mbps wiring less connection. MoCA usually hits its rated speed almost every time at 95Mbps or 270Mbps.

Homeplug is 100% dependent on the quality of your home's wiring.

I am using a AV2 homeplug connection to connect to my third floor. My 80Mbps homeplug connection is more consistent than my 144Mbps wireless connection and in some instances, such as when I am running duplex traffic it is faster.

802.11ac is still in draft form..... It works, but there are issues between different manufacturers and implementations. At lower signal levels AC protocol it is less than 3% faster than N running at the same connection speed as the protocol is slightly more efficient . (144Mbps N verses 144Mbps AC)

802.11ac is not only about speed, portable device power savings is the biggest benefit but until all your portable devices have 802.11ac radios that point is useless; read the draft spec if you want to know more.

"I believe the common wisdom with Wi-Fi is the greater the speed, the shorter the range" is not true. As there are many instances where this statement is not true.

The standard Unfi AP's are fantastic at 2.4Ghz, but they do not support 5Ghz.
The Unifi Pro units are good at 2.4Ghz and have terrible range at 5Ghz. (The 5Ghz radiated power output is gimped)
The Unifi AC units are great at 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz

If you have more then 3 apple devices connected at a time, you may want to stay away from the Unifi 3.0 firmware until the Apple disconnect bug is fixed.

"Unless your area is congested, 5ghz is not really necessary either." Again not true. If you are streaming to a device on 2.4Ghz any other device that attempts to stream on 2.4Ghz will have to share the remaining bandwidth. Two 1080p netflix streams will often drop quality while trying to compete for bandwidth. Add someone browsing the web to the mix and everyone's performance suffers.

Using 5Ghz is done for two primary reasons:

Lack of interference, as there are more usable channels on 5Ghz

More speed, as you can channel bond those usable channels up to 300Mbps or 450Mbps on wireless N and up to 900Mbps using wireless AC.

Discrete bandwidth, what you do on 5Ghz does not effect any data traffic on 2.4Ghz.


Sep 17, 2002
Run cable, if at all possible. Leave wireless for the devices without an Ethernet port.


Supreme [H]ardness
Mar 27, 2008
I just picked up a Linksys EA6900 (AC1900), replacing my TP-Link N router, so far so good. Signal, speed, and range are excellent so far (N devices only atm), and I'll be upgrading one of my systems with an 802.11ac adapter soon. :)
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Jun 5, 2011