AC Router Base Information 123

(This blog post is copied from with authorization)

You still buy Non-AC routers for your home or your business in 2018? Were you aware of any AC router recently ? What is AC router ? Should you buy AC router for your home or business ?

What is AC Router ?

General speaking, AC Router is a router which supports IEEE 802.11ac wireless networking standard. AC is from 802.11ac.

IEEE 802.11 is a set of protocols, which includes 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac… etc.  Different 802.11 protocol implements different wireless speed. For example, 802.11n supports up to 600 Mbit/s, but 802.11ac can support up to 1733.2 Mbit/s or even 3466.8 Mbit/s.

So now we know: AC routers bring us much higher Wi-Fi speed than old a/b/g/N routers.

802.11ac Wave 1 and 802.11ac Wave 2

By now, there have been at least 2 popular generations of routers in the market: 802.11ac Wave 1 routers and 802.11ac Wave 2 routers.

The main difference between 802.11 wave 1 and wave 2 is MIMO technology. 802.11 Wave 1 supports single user, 802.11 Wave 2 supports Multi Users;

Also, About Wireless Speed: Wave 1 5GHz provides speed which is up to 1.3Gbps, 2.4GHz provides up to 845 Mbps; While Wave 2 5GHz provides up to 2.34Gbps ~ 3.47Gbps, 2.4GHz provides up to 1.52Gbps ~ 2.26Gpbs

(data is from Cisco website)

Does AC3200 Router Mean It Supports Wi-Fi Speed Up to 3200 Mbps ?

Different router manufactories provide their own brand router name but usually they also append same AC numbers with brand name, like xxx ac1750, xxx ac 1900, xxx ac 3150, xxx ac 3200 …etc. Manufactories want to use those numbers to indicate their router can support those maximum wifi speeds. Of course, let us notice those numbers are just a “Art” of market.

Like this one: TP-Link AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router (Archer C7)


So AC1750 means this router supports WiFi speed 1750 Mpbs ? The answer is NO. 1750 = 1300 Mbps (5 Ghz) + 450 Mpbs (2.4 Ghz);  The router supports 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz, but a device can only connect to router with either 5G or 2.4 G, so 1300 Mbps is NOT this router’s Maximum speed.

Similarly, all other AC routers have the same secret of AC numbers:

AC 1200 = 300 M (2.4 G) + 867 M (5G)
AC 1750 = 450 M (2.4 G) + 1300 M (5G)
AC 1900 = 600 M (2.4 G) + 867 M (5G)
AC 2400 = 300 M (2.4 G) + 1700 M (5G)
AC 3100/3150 = 1000 M (2.4 G) + 2167 M (5G)
AC 3200 = 600 M (2.4 G) + 1300 M (5G) x 2
AC 5300 = 1000 M (2.4 G) + 2167 M (5G) x 2

So from above data list, we can find that actually AC 3150 router is faster than AC 3200 router due to theoretical data. In the real market, we might also see an AC 3150 router is same or even more expensive than an AC 3200 router.