Top Picks: AC3200 & AC1900 Routers
More on these routers below. You can click on the links above to take you to the product pages within Amazon to view prices and look at customer reviews.
Remember when life was easy? When the sun was brighter and the sky bluer? Back in those days all we needed to know was whether or not a router was Wireless 802.11g or the newer (at the time) 802.11n.
Now look what’s happened! In the age of the Wireless AC router we now have a bunch of numbers following the ‘AC’. AC1750, AC1900, AC3200….the list goes on.
For those of you who don’t know, these numbers represent the cumulative data rates from a Wi-Fi perspective that a router can provide.
Most AC routers are at least Dual Band, and can have Wireless N and AC running concurrently. In most cases, you can assume that 600 of the total figure, is available for Wireless N. The rest will be the data rates for AC.
AC1900 vs AC3200 – The Numbers
So let’s look at an example, let’s take the Netgear Nighthawk, which is an AC1900 router. It has Wireless N, which is capable of 600Mbps, and then on the AC it has 1.3Gbps (1,300Mbps). No prizes for guessing the total when we add these two numbers together – yes it’s 1900 (in Mbps – or 1.9Gbps as most of us would say!)
So you may be thinking to yourself…well I want the fastest router, so I’ll get the ‘AC’ with the highest number. Well, in most cases this is good thinking. But before you decide to pull out your credit card and buy the router of your dreams, just be careful…
Watch out for the AC3200 routers. Yes, they have the biggest number, blah blah. However, they are all Tri-Band routers and out of those 3 bands two are AC and split evenly. This means the maximum throughput for a single wireless client can actually be a little less than other AC router classes. Don’t let that put you off though – Tri-Band routers are awesome!
Ok, so now we have all that off our chest, shall we run through the routers in the AC1900 and AC3200 classes?
Yeah, thought you might be ready for that 😉
There have been many AC1900 routers released over the last couple of years. We’re only going to pick out the fastest, and of course the ones that are easier on your wallet. Don’t worry we won’t include any crap!
The Asus RT-AC68U – an AC1900 Classic
The RT-AC68U has been around for what seems like forever now. Don’t let that put you off. Most of the AC1900’s have been around the block a few times now. It was the fastest consumer router when originally launched.
Due to newer models being released, the price is now dropping. So those of you who were scared off by the price tag when it first came out may now be tempted.
RT-AC68U Top Features:
AiRadar – Beamforming for improved Wi-Fi
Dual Core CPU – Essential for routers of this ilk
Dual USB – One being a USB 3.0
Quality of Service – For network optimization
VPN Server – The option to connect into your home network safely
And There’s More AC1900’s….
Netgear Nighthawk R7000
The Original Nighthawk – the R7000, and it’s still going strong folks. Been out a couple of years now and we doubt very much Netgear are going to withdraw it any time soon! Why take away something when it ain’t broke, right?
The EA6900 is another router that comes in under the $200 threshold. It has the features of the two above, including an 800MHz dual core processor and a USB 3.0 port.
This is the least expensive of the AC1900 clan. But don’t let that fool you into thinking the D-Link is lacking in features or power. The DIR-880 has advanced QoS, two USB ports, and D-Link’s very own funky ‘dlink monitoring’…superbad.
TP-Link Archer C9
First we had the C7, then the C8…now TP-Link have surprised us by releasing…wait for it… the C9. It’s a budget router, with slightly fewer features than the others, and slightly less under the hood. But hey, what do you expect given the price?!
Ok, so that’s the AC1900 routers out of the way. Now it’s time to beef things up a little and run through some of the AC3200 routers that you should be looking at…
Just remember that these routers are Tri-Band. The general rule is that they have two 1.3Gbps bands, and a 600Mbps band.
AC3200 routers are excellent if you have a lot going of Wi-Fi going on in your home.
Netgear Nighthawk X6 R8000 Router
The Nighthawk X6 R8000 has been a bestseller pretty much since it was unleashed. There’s no reason to think that will change any time soon…
Nighthawk X6 Top Features:
Dual Core – Punchy processor
Beamforming with 6 Antennas – Excellent coverage, with manually adjustable antennas
Two USB Ports – For centralized storage and printing
There’s More To AC3200 Than The X6!
This is what Asus replied with when Netgear asked the question “Who’s going to beat the Nighthawk X6?”. The jury’s out as to whether the RT-AC3200 has done it. We think the X6 perhaps just pips it. We still think this is a great router…
D-Link have their fingers in the AC3200 pie too. The DIR-890L was released earlier in the year. Looks similar to the Nighthawk, but perhaps even a little more edgier? Shares similar features to the above.
The EA9200 has…big surprise here…a dual core processor (with 3 extra CPU’s for good measure), two USB ports and Smart Connect for client balancing over the 3 bands. The EA9200 should definitely feature somewhere within your comparison list.
Do you agree/disagree? Why not comment below and let us know what you think…
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