By now you should have heard about the new 802.11ac (AC for short) wireless standard, which offers up to 1.3Gbps Wi-Fi speed to compatible clients. (
In all, AC Wi-Fi is great but not all home routers supporting this new standard are worth your hard-earned cash. Following is a list of five AC routers that you want to avoid, for one reason or another. None of them is a totally loss, however, they are just below my expectations for what they're supposed to offer. This list is sorted by the review order with the latest review on top, and will be updated when more similar routers are found.
Note that these routers are considered not recommended at the time of review. Generally, routers can get better, sometimes significantly better, via firmware updates. That said, there's a chance these routers are better now than they once were.
Belkin's good-looking Linksys EA6900 is the latest in Linksys EA series of Smart Wi-Fi router. It's also the first Linksys router that no longer bears the Cisco logo ever since Linksys was . Among a long list of issues, in my testing, the router's 5Ghz frequency generally quit after an hour or so of working, possibly due to overheating. And since 802.11ac only works on the 5Ghz band, this makes the router about as good as a single-band 2.4Ghz router. For this reason alone, the EA6900 is way too expensive for what it has to offer. Read the full review of the
The RTA15 is the first 802.11ac router from Amped Wireless, a networking vendor that focuses on Wi-Fi coverage. In my testing the RTA15 indeed offered very long range, but unfortunately with very low Wi-Fi signal quality. In other words, the signal is there but it's hard for clients to connect and remain connected to it. On top of that, its performance wasn't on par with other similarly configured routers. Read the full review of the
The R6100 is not at all a bad router, in fact, it's a quite decent router and is one of the most affordable 802.11ac routers you can find on the market. The problem I had with it is the fact that it lacks support for Gigabit Ethernet. And this means you won't have a fast wired network with it and you can't really take advantage of its AC Wi-Fi speed in many cases. This is because the router's Wi-Fi speed, by specs, is much faster than that of its network ports. In my testing it also offered very short range. In all, despite the support for 802.11ac, it's as good as a regular true dual-band N600 router at most. And for the money, you can get an N600 with much better range and more features. Read the full review of the
The Linksys EA6500 is the first in the Linksys EA series that support 802.11ac, preceding the Linksys EA6900 above. In my testing it was disappointing, even after a major firmware update, in most categories. In fact, it was inferior to the lower-end
Find out how these routers stack up head-to-head. And now, if you're feeling a little disappointed and wonder if there's hope, check out this list of excellent 802.11ac-enabled routers.