40 802.11ac-routers review: choose the best router

All models from 2012 until now



In the summer of 2012 we tested the Netgear R6300, the first ever 802.11ac router that reached our test lab. Now, 4 years later, we see that the phenomenon 802.11ac router is still in full swing. In order to find out what your options are if you're looking for a router that supports 802.11ac, we've tried to get as many of said routers in our lab for a test. We succeeded pretty well and in this article you'll find out which models are the best right now.

For this test we've limited ourselves to models with at least two antenna connectors, which means we didn't include entry-level models (AC750). To say the least, we aren't impressed anyway by 802.11ac routers with only a single antenna connector for connections at 5 GHz. At 802.11ac you'll get an acceptable throughput speed of in theory 433 Mbps, but if you connect a client with 802.11n, you'll have to make do with 150 Mbps, which is the equivalent of the Stone Age in routerland. Furthermore many AC750 routres feature Fast Ethernet ports, which are also something we don't really consider up to date anymore in 2016.

D-Link DIR-890L
Router manufacturers try everything to stand out. D-Link has released the router with the most freaky and daring design with their DIR-890L.

At the moment there are so many manufacturers of 802.11ac routers, which means that even without entry-level models we still have a very large test field, of in total 40 models. Below you can find all models that are included in this test, in alphabetic order. If we've already covered one of these routers in an individual review, you'll find a link to that review as well. If you want to check out all models we tested at a glance, we refer you to this comparison table.

What mainly stands out, is the fact that router manufacturers are mostly trying to enlarge the total market size, instead of replacing old models. This means that pretty much all 802.11ac models that have been released since 2012 are still widely available and that their prices haven't lowered very much. The new top models are simply priced above the existing models.

In this article we will first discuss a few general characteristics, after which we will shortly describe all models from each brand featured in this test. Of course we will also dive deeper into the performance of the devices according to our new test procedure. Before we get to any of that though, we will give an overview of the various standards that you'll find on 802.11ac routers. It's not unlikely that you can't see the wood for the trees.


40 products discussed in this review

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