AC Router - worth upgrading?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sdilley14, Oct 10, 2014.

  1. sdilley14 macrumors 65816

    Feb 8, 2007
    Mesa, AZ
    I'm thinking about upgrading my router with an AC capable router. My current router is 2-3 years old. It is working fine, but it doesn't have AC capability.

    I did a quick search on Amazon and it seems like all of the AC capable routers are pretty expensive. Significantly more than the average ABGN routers.

    Is the speed difference between the two really noticeable? Is it a worthwhile upgrade switching from a perfectly good ABGN router to an AC router?

    FWIW, I have a 2013 MBPr which has AC capability. I'll have an iPhone 6 soon, which can also take advantage of it. And I have an Apple TV 3, though I keep that hardwired to the router so wireless doesn't really matter there.

    Thoughts? Suggestions on an AC capable router that isn't really expensive?
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Perhaps going over to smallnetbuilder site to review some routers and their tests would give you an indication if the money outlay would be worth it to you. I would not recommend being married to the Apple router but it is not a bad router just not the best out there.

    FYI - I find when things are optimal, AC can be quite impressive and feel as if one is connected via cable depending on what is being done that requires connectivity.
  3. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    They have some good articles on ac generally. It has some other features besides just speed that might be helpful, or not. And the newer routers might have some features besides ac that would be helpful to you as well, depending on your needs and your network. For example, with older wifi devices the use of a slow iPhone or whatever can bog your LAN's speed down for other devices sharing at the same time, even if they have higher capabilities.

    IIRC, they recommend some ac routers at less than a $100US. There are speedier bleeding edge routers that are faster (AC1900 instead of AC1750) and have stuff like USB 3, but you could probably get the best bang for your buck with one of the cheaper ones. They even have an article on that choice: bleeding edge vs. somewhat slower.
  4. DaveP macrumors 6502


    Mar 18, 2005
    If you wirelessly transfer a lot of files and such between devices on your network then it could be worth it.

    You should also take a look at your Internet speeds as for many folks they only use WiFi for Internet and their Internet speed is the limiting factor.
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    OP> Rob is giving you good advice here. The top of the line (and expensive $$) AC1900 AC routers can't even take advantage of the higher speeds they offer since no client devices have AC1900 built in without buying a AC1900 adaptor. So your iPhone 6 and Retina won't ever hit those speeds anyway.

    IMO if you are on a budget, the previous gen. AC1750 devices will give you AC at a much better price. Look here at the Smallnetbuilder ratings/reviews for AC1750 routers. Also, these routers have been out a while so the firmware has "matured" more than the newest and hottest routers.

    Also, even if you don't transfer a lot of files inside the network to get the true speed benefit of AC speeds, the newer AC router often provide better ABGN speeds even when not in AC mode. Interesting article here on the topic.
  6. sdilley14 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 8, 2007
    Mesa, AZ
  7. wwohl macrumors regular

    May 2, 2013
    unless you have all new equipment running AC standard and they are all going to be located within the AC bandwidth, then no. More than likely a dual channel wireless N router will be fine
  8. craig45 macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2008
    If your new iPhone 6 is with T-Mobile, they have a deal on a new ac capable router for a $25 deposit. They are offering the deal so that folks can make use of the iPhone 6, and a few other phone's, wifi calling feature. They DO check to see if you have a wifi calling capable phone before they send out the router.

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