Buffalo's 802.11ac Router And Media Bridge Hit Shelves, First 1.3Gbps Wi-Fi Devices Available

Brad Chacos

Faster Wi-Fi ain't just coming, folks -- it's already here. Just a few weeks back, we reported that Netgear was racing to be the first manufacturer with a speedy new 802.11ac router available on the consumer market, expecting to ship its R6300 router sometime this month. Well, "sometime" wasn't fast enough; we're still waiting on the R6300, while Buffalo announced that its first 802.11ac devices are available in stores today in the form of the AirStation WZR-D1800H wireless router and the WLI-H4-D1300 wireless media bridge.

With theoretical maximum speeds of up to 1.3Gbps, 802.11ac signals could achieve speeds three times faster than the 802.11n routers found in homes across the world today. That's on the 5GHz spectrum; the Buffalo router also packs in a standard 3x3 802.11n radio to operate on the 2.4GHz spectrum at up to 450Mbps. Range remains about the same as with 802.11n routers, however. Older 802.11g/b/n devices will work just fine with the new Buffalo 802.11ac offerings, albeit on the 2.4GHz spectrum.

One big problem with being on the bleeding edge of Wi-Fi standards; there aren't any consumer devices that can receive the router's 802.11ac signal aside from Buffalo's 802.11ac media bridge -- and connecting devices to the bridge while maintaining those (theoretical) 1.3Gbps transfer speeds requires Ethernet connections. In other words, consider the 802.11ac router an investment in the future unless you want wires running through your home today.

Both the router and the bridge are available now at Fry's and Newegg for $180 a pop.

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