To most people wi-fi is just wi-fi.
It works or it doesn't.
But to the discerning connoisseur of 802.11 wireless local area networks.
There's a whole alphabet of wi-fi flavors, you get your A, B, G, and the most recent addition, AC.
The AC standard is the fastest, most badass wi-fi on the planet, and to explain why, I am going to use this handy table showing channel bandwidth, constellation density and spatial stream.
Instead, how' bout we count down this list of the best 802.11ac routers you can go out and buy right now, handpicked by CNET senior editor Dom No.
Starting off at number five, the Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station.
I suspect Apple isn't happy at being at the bottom of this list.
So, let me just say that they have the number one router that looks like a box of Kleenex.
They can chop up that sound bite however they like.
$199 buys you speed and ease of use.
But, if you're looking for ports and features and flexibility, this is not the router for you.
So, how about number four?
The Trendnet AC1900 dual band wireless router, at 180 dollars, this is the most affordable option on this list.
On top of the AC signal, you also get a second band of wireless end/ggg.
There's a wealth of connections on the back, including USB two for connecting a printer and USB three for connecting a hard drive.
Unfortunately, we couldn't get the router to recognize any of the drives we attached to it, but if network storage isn't a big deal for you, this is the best bargain out there.
At number three, the Linksys WRT1900AC wireless router, not cheap at $250, but this is a whole different class of router.
A great list of features, plenty of customization options, and unlike the trendnet, this thing kills it on network storage.
Attach a drive to the USB 3.0 port, and you'll get the fastest read write speed of any router on this list, potentially faster than a dedicated NAT server.
It also has a retro router look thing going on, which I didn't know was a thing until now.
Coming in at number 2. The Netgear Nighthawk.
AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router.
This one answers the question, which router would Batman buy?
But, priced at $200, you don't have to be Bruce Wayne to buy this thing.
Has all the features you want.
It's even time capsule compatible.
Making it a great alternative to the base station for Mac users.
Only trouble is this thing is gigantic.
They designed it to look like a stealth bomber so that you wouldn't notice its girth.
But I see you Nighthawk.
But for the best, fastest, and arguably the prettiest 802.11ac router on the market, check out our number one pick.
The Asus RT-AC68U dual-band wireless AC1900 gigabit router.
Not the catchiest name.
And arguably, the advanced features here are beyond what most people are looking for.
But if you're looking for fast, the Asus delivered that by a significant margin.
$220, so it's in the ball park with everything else here, and my favorite feature, totally trivial, but there's a switch on the back to turn off the router's LEDs.
For some reason, the router in my home is like the brightest light in my house.
I shouldn't have to put duct tape over my router just to get some sleep.
So there you go.
Five blazing fast wireless routers that use the new 802.11ac that everything is moving towards.
For more suggestions, check out cnet.com/routers.
And for more top fives from me, you get top5.cnet.com.
I'm Donald Bell.
Thanks for watching.
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