Originally Posted by bobsilver
Your points are well taken. I was incorrect in my statement about the AC technology. This was my error. I did not realize AC was still draft when I wrote the piece. I foolishly assumed it was based on my information but again completely my error and for that I apologize. That said I believe that it is safe to say that AC is the future. And unlike N it appears to be moving forward at a more controlled clip then we have experienced with prior technologies. Netgear for certain is betting the house on it as it relates to their wireless future. Their future product map for the most part is built around AC.
I would also say it is safe to say that not buying an AC product puts one at a finite level of the existing standard N. While for most things N is fine but many here in AVS want HD capable wireless. We know that N doesnt cut it for that. So in this audience's case going to AC would make sense but as I stated without the client devices it doesnt matter at least not at this moment. But the 1st batch of usb AC nics are out now. I just received a 900mbs AC NIC that I will be testing once I complete the test of the current batch of gear I am going through.
But if some asks me for a top end router I would be hard pressed not to recommend AC. And having lived with the AC based Netgear R6300 for 6 months or so it has been one of the most trouble free and stable routers I have used. But again that is using it in the N world not AC.
Where are are today though is a constantly changing product field. And unlike years ago at the dawn of N the cost difference to have AC is relatively small. So wouldnt a prudent buyer who can afford the additional $20 or so be better off buying what will be the next standard?
I have no axes to grind with Netgear as I own/have owned quite a bit of their products (FVS318, FVS338, WGR614, WGT624, WG102, WNDAP350, GS108T, GS748TP) and have been generally happy with the products except the WGT624. But like any manufacturer, they have a vested interest in creating hype and pushing an agenda to support thier sales. I'm not disputing AC is going to be the future. But it's just too early to start jumping on the bandwagon. Especially since the WiFi Alliance hasn't even published the phase one certification yet. The official certification is due out soon (end of 2012) with the certification program to launch early 2013. So if you've invested in the pre-AC devices, you're gambling that they will meet the as yet certifications. One can argue that if you buy everything from the same manufacturer, you'll be fine. But why lock yourself into this situation with no future flexibility? Also, the IEEE won't do final ratification of 802.11ac till end of 2013.
As I stated in my other post, there are features which will not be in phase 1 devices that no firmware upgrade will be able to add. The most compelling is multi-user MIMO allowing multiple wireless clients to be serviced by a single AP simultaneously. Current APs, to include pre-AC devices can only have a single device talking over the RF space at a given time. The other features forthcoming in future phases are more spatial streams (phase 1 devices can only support up to three where as the spec calls for a maximum of 8) and extention to 160 MHz.
I'm just curious as to why you say current N doesn't cut it for HD over wireless. With my current implementation, I have no problems with sustained 80Mbps data transfers with a relatively old laptop and a ASA5505 in the transmission path. I'm sure I can get higher throughput if I change some things around using my existing wireless setup.
My point is that it's fine to be an early adopter. But know the consequences of being one which would mean throwing away your pre-AC equipment to get the functionality of full AC certified equipment and possibly interoperability with other brands. A propper 802.11n system should still support the needs of most power users.