Buffalo has landed the first dual-band WiFi kit running at up to 1.75Gbps – four times the top speed of WiFi N – in the UK with its 802.11AC router and media bridge.
The AirStation WZR-D1800H router (below left) pairs with the WLI-H4-D1300 wireless media bridge (below right), with 802.11AC USB dongles expected to arrive in August.
WiFi AC is the latest stage in the 802.11 family, designed to keep WiFi technology buzzing around homes until the next evolution, around 2017.
It operates in the quiet 5GHz radio frequency band, instead of the crowded 2.4GHz band used by WiFi B, G, N and just about every other wireless devices except phones and TVs.
The WZR-D1800H supports both WiFi AC and WiFi N (and it’s backwards compatible with B and G), and has three antennas, which can deliver up to 450Mbps for WiFi N with compatible triple-antenna devices, and up to 1,300Mbps for WiFi AC.
But it can combine both to reach a blistering 1,750Mbps to a compatible receiver – currently the WLI-H4-D1300 media bridge is the only candidate.
They both have four Gigabit Ethernet ports for connecting NAS drives, and – at the media bridge end – your smart TV, set-top box, media PC or games console.
The WZR-D1800H router also has a USB port for extra storage, and an Ethernet port for connecting your modem – which will look slow even if you’ve been upgraded to Virgin’s 120Mbps tier.
The router and media bridge both use Broadcom’s 5G wireless chips, and are expected to cost around £199 in UK retail.
WiFi AC comes with numerous tweaks to make it both faster, more robust and more power-efficient, such as Request-to-Send and Clear-to-Send, which save power, and Multi-user MIMO and beam-forming with feedback, which create high-bandwidth connections to each receiver that are fine-tuned to increase speed and reduce interference.
There are also significant improvements in signal modulation and coding, which make far better use of the available bandwidth.