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Top five 802.11ac routers (pictures)

CNET editor Dong Ngo picks the top five 802.11ac routers on the market and explains why they earned their top rankings.

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Dong_Ngo.jpg

Dong Ngo

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CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

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Linksys WRT1900AC

The Linksys WRT1900AC is the latest AC1900 router on the market and is Linksys' latest effort to come back from a series of not-so-great routers. This time, the company delivers!
The new router offers excellent performance with great range. It's also the most powerful router on the market with a dual-core 1,200Mhz processor, 256MB of DDR 3 system memory and 128MB of flash storage.

The router comes with remote access solutions that allow you to manage your home network remotely via the Internet, even on mobile devices.

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Linksys WRT1900AC

What makes the WRT1900AC one of the top routers on the market, however, is the fact that it's the first that supports both USB 3.0 and eSATA, and when coupled with an external storage device, it delivers network storage speeds equal to those of many high-end NAS servers.

In other words, this a high-end Wi-Fi router and a powerful NAS server in one package.

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Netgear R7000

The R7000 is the first AC1900 router from Netgear. It's an excellent router with great Wi-Fi range and fast Wi-Fi data rates, especially on the 5Ghz frequency band.

The router also supports USB 3.0, and it can be used to host storage for an entire network with great performance when coupled with an external hard drive.

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Netgear R7000

Apart from its performance, what makes the R7000 one of the top routers is its Netgear Genie firmware that includes a mobile app that makes it very easy for users to monitor their home networks. It also offers a built-in OpenVPN platform, and supports third-party firmware, such as DD-WRT.

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Asus RT-AC68U

The RT-AC68U is an all-around great router with excellent Wi-Fi performance on both bands. It also supports USB 3.0 and has a lot to offer when coupled with an external storage device.

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Asus RT-AC68U

What makes the RT-AC68U one of the best routers on the market are its many unique features, such as the ability to turn one of its LAN ports into a secondary WAN port, the built-in VPN server, and the ability to host a cellular dongle as a backup Internet source.

Trendnet AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router
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Trendnet TEW-818DRU

The Trendnet TEW-818DRU is a frill-free, straightforward router that has great Wi-Fi performance.

Trendnet AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router
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Trendnet TEW-818DRU

The Trendnet's comparatively low price is a big reason it qualifies for this list. In fact, it's the most affordable top-notch router you can find on the market. It's a great deal for those who just need a fast and secure home network, and not much else.

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Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station

This is the latest generation of Apple's AirPort Extreme. It's not an AC1900 router, but rather an AC1750 that delivers up to 1,300Mbps on the 5Ghz band and up to 450Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band. And it registers great performance and works especially well with Macs.

This router, unlike others, has just three LAN ports and supports only USB 2.0.

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Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station

The new AirPort Extreme still manages to be one of the hottest 802.11ac routers on the market, thanks to the fact that it looks great. It's easily the best looking router that's currently available.

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