Does 802.11ac makes much difference?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by MN7119, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. MN7119 macrumors regular

    Mar 7, 2011
    Just ordered the new 13" MacBook Pro which comes with 802.11ac wife capability. I still have the older Airport Extreme router that does not support 802.11ac and I was wondering if I should make the investment in the new version that has that capability. Does it make much difference?
  2. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    Not for Internet use, but makes local LAN traffic (e.g. if you have a NAS or Time Capsule) faster.
  3. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    Huge difference transferring files to and from my MBA from my in house server.

    Connecting at 867Mb/s as opposed to 300Mb/s before + the new router itself seems to have a higher throughput on my "n" devices as well.
  4. treestar, Oct 23, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013

    treestar macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    It works really well. I stream 1080p media and it is perfect. The Extreme is a very noticeable improvement for me.

    I forgot that I am only connecting with an 802.11n device but it connects much better than my other router. 450Mbps.
  5. tullnd macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2012
    As others stated, it's faster...but...well it depends.

    Honestly, for most people, I think the biggest benefit isn't so much the overall increase in maximum bandwidth. It's the increase in range that AC provides over N.

    The signal quality(and then related speed) falls off exponentially as you get further away or encounter more interference(electrical or physical). AC has some technology implemented now that helps overcome some of the interference issues. This means it won't make a huge difference in signal if you're sitting 10 feet away in an open room. You probably already have max signal. But if you're on the edge sometimes of the coverage area, with half bars, and bouncing around 25-35Mb actual throughput, you may see a HUGE increase in signal quality and accompanying throughput. Also if you have a lot of electronics or multiple devices just talking to it(meaning connected but not using the bandwidth), you can see a performance increase too.

    Also, this first revision of AC also has pre-scheduled upgrades. They already have ideas of how to improve it, that will probably show up in a year or so in new routers. Mostly it'll again help with interference, I don't believe top speed at all. So if you need a new router, I'd feel comfortable buying one now. That said, if yours is already operating fine, or you aren't pushing the signal limits of you 802.11n setup, I'd save my money.

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