Wireless networks used to be cool, but now they’re pretty much an expected essential in our homes.
A home network used to power a PC or two. Now, your smartphones and tablets are running off your Wi-Fi network, that fancy Samsung (SSNLF) Smart TV relies on Wi-Fi for connectivity, smart thermostats like the Google (GOOG) acquisition Nest are Wi-Fi enabled, and set-top streaming boxes like the Apple (AAPL) TV rely on Wi-Fi. While online gaming on an Xbox One or PS4 is possible using an ethernet cable connected to your router, who wants a 100-foot long cable snaking through the house?
All these connected devices are congesting home Wi-Fi networks, and the newest ones are using a new standard called 802.11ac or Gigabit Wi-Fi. This technology promises to make life easier for congested home Wi-Fi networks while offering the speed needed to support new streaming standards like Netflix (NFLX) 4K Ultra HD.
Replacing a home Wi-Fi router isn’t something anyone undertakes lightly. When things are working (even if they’re imperfect), there’s a risk of upsetting the works. However, with the promise of the new generation of 802.11ac Gigabit Wi-Fi routers, now may be the time to take the plunge.
I unplugged my trusty Airport Extreme to test the new Linksys AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router to see if Gigabit Wi-Fi lives up to the hype — especially in a home where devices supporting 802.11ac are in short supply.