Buffalo AirStation WZR-D1800H revew: 802.11ac performance inconclusive

CNET editor Dong Ngo reviews the Buffalo AirStation WZR-D1800H router, the first on the market to support the new 802.11ac (or 5G Wi-Fi) standard, and finds that it's a decent router, though measuring its 802.11ac performance was challenging.

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The Buffalo AirStation WZR-D1800H is the first 802.11ac (aka 5G Wi-Fi) router on the market, and Buffalo's WLI-H4-D1300 wireless media bridge is the first 802.11ac client. Since those are currently the only two 5G Wi-Fi devices, it was impossible to get a complete picture of the 802.11ac standard itself by testing them.

However, I was able to quite easily pair them together and experience the 802.11ac connection. Unfortunately, while the connection was very fast, it wasn't close to what the 802.11ac standard has to offer.

The Buffalo AirStation WZR-D1800H router (left) looks almost exactly the same as the WLI-H4-D1300 media bridge. These two are the very first 802.11ac Wi-Fi devices on the market.
The Buffalo AirStation WZR-D1800H router (left) looks almost exactly the same as the WLI-H4-D1300 media bridge. These two are the very first 802.11ac Wi-Fi devices on the market. Dong Ngo/CNET

I couldn't be sure if that was because of the router or because of the media bridge. So for now, while 5G Wi-Fi is definitely much faster than existing 802.11n, or Wireless-N, I can't say for sure exactly what speeds one can expect from it. Soon, however, there will be a lot more 5G Wi-Fi routers and clients on the market and this question will be answered definitively.

In addition to supporting 5G Wi-Fi, the new router from Buffalo is also an N900 Wireless-N router, which means it can offer a 450Mbps data rate on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. That means if you get it home now, it will work with all existing Wi-Fi clients you have at home. And then you're also futureproof.

The good news is the router is also quite attainable, costing just around $180, about the price of a high-end N900 router, such as the Asus RT-N66U or the Cisco Linksys E4200v2 . For more information on this router and to learn more about 802.11ac, check out the full review of the Buffalo AirStation AC1300 / N900 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router WZR-D1800H .

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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