should I get an ac router?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by FeNcHaI, Jun 12, 2014.

  1. FeNcHaI

    FeNcHaI Network Newbie Member

    okay I know it is not a proper thread xD had no pls<br />
    <br />
    Hi guys, I have an ISP service of 4mbps, and that gives me about 250kBps i believe, which is pretty fast for my country, ok, its not fast but its okay.<br />
    I bought a crappy Belkin wireless N router and it was ok, gave me about 180kBps on download. <br />
    But it broke down...<br />
    So now im offering 100 bucks for a good router.. was going for a good linksys ac router but N is cheaper, so I was not sure if I should buy such good router with ISP bottlenecking the router speeds.. <br />
    What do you think folks!? <br />
    I need one with good range also!:)<br />
    <br />
    Sent from my SM-G900H using Tapatalk<br/>

    Sent from my SM-G900H using Tapatalk
  2. Mr.CTT

    Mr.CTT Serious Server Member

    An AC Router would help with range and be future proof should you get faster internet. Some of them even allow you to host servers on your internal network and have a lot of features.
  3. Siff

    Siff Serious Server Member

    Provided that both the N and the AC router choices fit into your budger, you might prefer the AC router if you have AC-compatible devices or if you know for sure that the AC router is better.

    Another thing to consider is whether the routers you are looking at are currently supported by Tomato (or another customer firmware) and check whether there are issues with them, etc.

    Hope this helps.
  4. sm00thpapa

    sm00thpapa Serious Server Member

    AC will help with speed but not much with range. Most devices coming out have AC in them but they are mostly single stream.
  5. mstombs

    mstombs Network Guru Member

    I wouldn't buy AC for future proofness in a consumer item, next year will be faster & cheaper. You should be able to fill your internet link with 15 year old technology Wireless-B and 10-baseT, but a decent router with configurable QOS is essential. Dual-band N with usb is sensible though gives you more choice of Networks. I find range on 5.8GHz much lower than 2.4, but fine for fast local access and 100mbps internet (gigabit Ethernet link needed).
  6. Mr.CTT

    Mr.CTT Serious Server Member

    That is not accurate... 2.4ghz and 5ghz are where range is determined with regards to signal. The type of Wireless makes a big difference in the amount of bandwidth you have at that range. If you are on the edge of the network in 2.4ghz, you have nothing for throughput. If you are on 5Ghz, it isn't too bad unless you are falling off and coming back on repetitively.

    "802.11ac Range
    While speed is what will likely sell 802.11ac routers, range is equally important. Here wireless ac excels."


    Look at the RT-16N, it still costs at min 60-70$ new, and it was made in 6 years ago! MSRP was 90-110$. Things will drop but only to a point. Stuff will stay high in cost depending on RAM, CPU, MIMO ability, and features... You aren't going to be able to wait it out to get a super fast router for nothing and you will always pay for what you get when your smart shopping(but wont necessarily get what you pay for as a name can add 20-60$ to the same specs).... manufacturers know what they can do with the hardware and will always keep it within a range.

    Wireless B publicly announced in Sept 1999
    Wireless G publicly announced in June 2003
    Wireless N publicly announced in October 2009
    Wireless AC publicly announced in December 2013
    (AD was made in 2012 but I don't see us having the ability to process at those speeds for 10 years +)

    Wireless AH is estimated in 2016, but i am guessing it will be 2017 or 2018 based on the fact that they still aren't making cards that can use wireless AC to it's full potential, and it can handle 8 devices at 1 time stream wise... 150mb/s theoretical throughput for each.

    Wireless N can handle a maximum of 4 at those speeds. For a family it is a much better investment in the long run to get a wireless AC Device because if each should be on a device, it can handle it. (look for MIMO speeds)

    Speed is beginning to boil down to compression and how much data a wave can actually transfer. Just like CPUs kind of capped off at 3.4ghz and then started going to dual quid hez and oct cores, wifi is beginning the revolution to MIMO or streams. This can be seen when looking at the technology involved more and more, and the next option is to either go higher in ghz so it can handle more data with wider channels, or to have more MIMO ability per device kind of like dual core but using 2+ channels at 1 time on the same card. This makes me think AD will be publicly announced in 2018 earliest, and become consumer affordable by like 2021. Unless we have some marvelous break through in data compression, I just don't see speed chaining that much between AC and AD. N to AC was a huge jump that i don't think we will see for a long time. Not to mention the fact that companies would rather expand their coax network to get more money from more people than to expand fiber and charge a little more. 50-100mb/s is perfectly acceptable speeds for consumers in their eyes.

    QoS speed is directly tied to CPU and RAM speed. To my knowledge the fastest Wireless N and below only router is a single core at 800mhz stock and it costs close to that of a 600mhz dual core AC router. The good routers that have AC, have dual core 600mhz, 800mhz and 1GHz processors which enables better QoS abilities at faster speeds using stricter rules.

    My suggestion is to watch the sales, especially at places like newegg, because you can find a dual core ac for like 60-80$. if you are ok with a refurb, you can get them for 40-70$... if your going to spend 30$ why not wait for a decent AC one to go on sale and spend 10-30$ more.. smoke a few less packs a year, stop getting soda at restraints for a few months, drink less soda at home and start drinking water... most people would get 30$ from that in a 3 months.

    if you run QoS and use N you will never see external (aka internet) speeds of 100mb/s on (maybe 60mb/s.. if your lucky) on a single core 600-800 unless you have only a couple users and you have no extra features running beyond QoS and you are basically sitting next to it... high negotiated speeds are much much more difficult to get using N than AC. If you have a family, seeing 40mb/s will probably happen once in a blue moon. Most kids today have a laptop and a cellphone each. They generally have 1 game console total that uses wifi, and a tablet(or ipod touch) floating around. The the adults have a Laptop/tablet and a cellphone each. You can add up 8 devices fast for 3 people. The QoS cpu draw for that is tremendous on a processor when they are active if only a couple people are active it can run at 100% easily and kids tend to torrent.

    If your sick of your router web page always hanging, AC is probably the best way to go and now when a good sale is on is when you should upgrade that way in 6-8 years when fiber is more available, you can use a good AC device and not want to slam your head on the wall or upgrade. The difference between N and AC is way too significant and it's abilities.

    if you have trouble with range on 5GHZ, you should read the amount of power your router can use is bound by the channel / country code first. Then my the manufacturer's determination of how much it can handle. If you get a cheap router, itll have a cheap card and low output. If your in the low channels, your max is 100-200 mW. If your in the middle, it is 500-1000mW. They do not make consumer grade routers above that channel as it is still being researched. For sheer distance, you need to have the lowest channel that unlocks the highest possible Mw draw as the higher your channel, the more power it takes to go the same distance.

    IMHO 5ghz should run at a minimum of 400 mW... doesn't have range if you are lower. If you do the research and run the right channels at the highest TX you can, you have 80% of the range 2.4 is capable of at 100-120mw, which is well above factory, most run no higher than 80.This is a little apples to oranges as the limits of each is so different, but the lowest or close to lowest 5ghz channel that allows the 800-1000mw range should have every bit the range of a router on factory spec 2.4 Ghz.

    I'm not saying go out and buy a Netgear R7000 and spend a fortune, but i am saying you get what you pay for, and there are many affordable AC routes if you just watch the sales for a few months... you could end up buying a nice AC router for the money you spent on a 3-4 year old engineered wireless N device, and you will be way happier!
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  7. sm00thpapa

    sm00thpapa Serious Server Member

  8. sm00thpapa

    sm00thpapa Serious Server Member

    I have a $24.00 N300 router that has better range than my WRT1900AC. AC improves speed not range.
  9. Mr.CTT

    Mr.CTT Serious Server Member

    can you run a command to see the actual tx power of the 5Ghz band? I can assure you that i have one that i can, and when i have it at 869mw, it goes through 4 very well padded walls spanning over a distance of 50-60 yards. Compared to the range of my dir-655, it only variates 1-2 db for the entire walk. I guess it is a little unfair to say that 5ghz vs 2.4ghz on all devices is the same, because it factors down to quality of wireless card and router. I have compared my R6300 to my Dir-655 with those results as far as signal goes

    Agreed however you didn't read what i wrote.. at no point do i say AC goes farther, the fact it is AC to N has no bearing on distance compared to signal strength, they will have identical signal strength on 5ghz, but i did and will again state that over the range of the two networks, you will have more speed on AC foot for foot one versus the other side by side. when you are on the edge of 5ghz, you will find better speeds on ac compared to N at the same spot. This is all assuming you set up your router correctly using telnet, ensuring your N300 at 0 or not overclocked and that you are over 800TX on the 5Ghz, which it sounds like you are not, you will find very very close to the same range for both. You will also find higher negotiated speeds on 2.4 will always be much much more difficult to maintain than with 5ghz, so you will gain over all until you are out of the 5ghz, but still in the 2.4ghz. The difference in a consumer grade environment has been measured to roughly 10-15 feet given from my testing.

    Your problem is ignorance to your own equipment if you find a large distance gap.

    I have also listed the many other benefits that only come on routers that have AC as N only is being phased out. You will not see advancement to N only routers so why promote one?
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  10. mstombs

    mstombs Network Guru Member

    That range on 5.8GHz is less than 2.4GHz is a bonus, I can see lots of neighbouring networks on 2.4, 5.8 is much cleaner because the higher frequency doesn't propagate as far. Connection in N300 mode to a E3000 used as an access point connected by Gigabit to an RT-N66U is sufficient to saturate a 100Mbps internet downstream (no QOS). I don't have and don't need any wireless-AC devices. The OP only has 4Mbps - QOS essential, absolutely no benefit of getting an R7000 with only beta support from dd-wrt or Tomato and random ping spikes/ reboots IMHO.
  11. Siff

    Siff Serious Server Member

    I can second that - yesterday I had to convince my wife that she should be using the 5GHz network rather than the 2.4GHz regardless of the signal strength (the 2.4GHz is much stronger on the second floor) and I run speedtest tests from her laptop. Using the same laptop and the same speedtest on a 60/10 connection, the result on 2.4Ghz was ~20/10 vs ~60/10 using the 5GHz one.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  12. Mr.CTT

    Mr.CTT Serious Server Member

    Technically AC is still on both 5G and 2.4. you can run both N only and AC only on 5ghz, but the data that can be transmitted is much higher on AC as it works differently. However if you have a router that only has N, it is using older equipment as when you make a new router, it is stupid not to use AC... so why on earth would you want to buy something that has a 9 year old design and slower hardware...
  13. Siff

    Siff Serious Server Member

    For me there are several major items when I'm considering which router to buy:
    1. Price (I need two...);
    2. Custom firmwares' performance and stability.
    3. Custom firmwares' availability, ease of install, maturity, support, etc.

    Provided that 1 and 2 for the routers I'm considering are comparable, I would get the "new" (technology-wise) even if the install will be tricky or I still cannot utilize/don't need all the features the "new" router has.

    One the flip side, the "old" routers usually are available for lower prices than the "new" ones, there are more custom firmwares available and, generally they are stable.

    Hope this helps.
  14. Mr.CTT

    Mr.CTT Serious Server Member

    Why do you need two? your old one would work as an access point... and should have less load because it is transparent?
  15. Siff

    Siff Serious Server Member

    I need two because I'm either re-purposing my old routers or I'm giving them away to friends and family.

    You are correct that one can use an old router as access point. In my particular case I wanted to create a bridge over 5GHz, which my old routers don't support. Another reason to get 2 routers is that, if my main router bites the dust, I have a replacement ready - I just have to restore the saved configuration and use my old secondary router for the bridge.
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