Linksys AC1900 Smart Gigabit Wi-Fi Router: No 802.11ac Devices? No Problem
The primary selling point of a Gigabit Wi-Fi router is its support for the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. The Linksys is capable of blasting data at a rate of 1900 Mbps (1300 Mbps in a single band). To put that in perspective, Amazon (AMZN) says its Amazon Prime HD video streaming only needs a 3.5Mbps connection.
The catch is, only the newest generation of devices support 802.11ac, so even though the router may be capable of Gigabit Wi-Fi performance, many devices can’t take advantage of that speed.
However, the Linksys AC1900 Smart Gigabit Wi-Fi Router packs a lot more technology, including beamforming and traffic prioritization. The result was a distinct performance improvement for my congested home Wi-Fi network (35 devices or so vying for a connection at the same time, including three Apple TVs streaming video).
Even without that Gigabit connection, I saw an average 80% improvement in data transfer speed between devices located a floor away from the router; on the same floor (with less concrete and walls to pass through), the Linksys clocked an impressive 280% speed boost. For devices on the upper floor, that boost fell off to a more modest 17% gain.
That’s competing against a three-year-old Apple dual band router with 802.11a/b/g/n support, so it’s not an entirely fair fight — but still a nice upgrade.
If you want to take advantage of Gigabit Wi-Fi’s full potential with a PC via a USB port, Linksys and others sell USB Wi-Fi adapters that support 802.11ac Wi-Fi.