Finally, it's here.
The much-anticipated next generation of Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac, is now available for purchase, thanks to Buffalo.
The company announced today the availability of the AirStation WZR-D1800H wireless router and WLI-H4-D1300 wireless media bridge. It's important that the two devices are available at the same time, since you'll need to get both of them to enjoy 802.11ac speeds, which is about three times faster than even the fastest Wireless-N (802.11n) solution. The WLI-H4-D1300 media bridge is designed to hook up to four Ethernet-ready devices to the new 802.11ac-based Wi-Fi network created by the WZR-D1800H router.
The new router and bridge were first introduced at CES 2012 and promise to offer the wireless connection speeds of up to 1.3Gbps, which is about 30 percent faster than Gigabit Ethernet, and improved range. The new router is true dual-band and will support existing 802.11n/g/a/b wireless clients at a slower speed of the respective standards.
Note that the new router only offers the new 1.3Gbps on the 5Ghz band and only when used with a 802.11ac client, such as the new media bridge. On the 2.4Ghz band, it offers the 3 by 3 setup of the regular Wireless-N standard that caps at 450Mbps, similar to the speed of high-end N standard routers, such as the Asus RT-N66U and the Linksys E4200 v2. The WLI-H4-D1300 wireless media bridge is also compatible with existing Wireless-N-based routers.
Other than support for the 802.11ac standard, the new router and media bridge also supports Gigabit Ethernet, with each offering four Gigabit LAN ports and the router also offering one Gigabit WAN port.
If you can't wait to have a taste of 802.11ac, both can be purchased now at retailers around the U.S. for around $180 each. Or you can check back for a full review before making your decision.