Introduction and Router Specifications
Just to be clear, wireless AC is only available on the 5GHz channel, which generally has fewer devices on it than a typical 2.4GHz channel, allowing for higher performance due to less interference and the use of wider channels. The trade-off is that 5GHz signals typically don't travel as far as those on the 2.4GHz channel. However, 802.11ac makes up for it with a technology named Beamforming, that allows it to calculate where devices are located and amplify the signal in their direction instead of just broadcasting in all directions like 802.11n. Also, while 802.11n supports only four streams of data, 802.11ac supports up to eight streams on channels that are twice as wide. How all this shakes out in your living room or small office boils down to a multitude of factors, but wireless AC is clearly superior, and offers a lot more bandwidth and range both now and in future iterations.
|D-Link DIR 890 L||ASUS RT-AC3200||Netgear Nighthawk X6||Trendnet TEW-828DRU|
|Technology||IE802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||IE802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||IE802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||IE802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|Bands||One 2.4GHz, Dual 5GHz||One 2.4GHz, Dual 5GHz||One 2.4GHz, Dual 5GHz||One 2.4GHz, Dual 5GHz|
|Wireless speeds||600Mb/s @2.4GHz, 1,300Mb/s @ 5GHz||600Mb/s @2.4GHz, 1,300Mb/s @ 5GHz||600Mb/s @2.4GHz, 1,300Mb/s @ 5GHz||600Mb/s @2.4GHz, 1,300Mb/s @ 5GHz|
|Interface||Gigabit Ethernet||Gigabit Ethernet||Gigabit Ethernet||Gigabit Ethernet|
|Ethernet Port||4x 1Gb LAN (+1Gb WAN)||4x 1Gb LAN (+1Gb WAN)||4x 1Gb LAN (+1Gb WAN)||4x 1Gb LAN (+1Gb WAN)|
|USB Port||1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0||1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0||1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0||1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0|
|Security||WPA/WPA2; SPI Firewall; Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)||WPA/WPA2; SPI Firewall; Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), 64-bit WEP, 128-bit WEP||WPA/WPA2; SPI Firewall; Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS)||WEP, WPA/WPA2-PSK, WPA/WPA2-RADIUS|
|Platform||Broadcom Xstream 5G||Broadcom Xstream 5G||Broadcom Xstream 5G||Broadcom Xstream 5G|
|Antenna||Six non-removable||Six removable||Six non-removable||Six non-removable|
|Dimensions||15.23 x 9.73 x 4.7 inches (WxDxH)||11.4 x 7.4 x 2.28 inch (WxDxH)||11.63 x 8.92 x 2.14 inch (WxDxH)||9.5 x 6.7 x 1.8 inch (WxDxH)|
|Warranty||1 year||2 year||1 year||3 year|
All of these routers broadcast in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and have dual 5GHz bands as well, and as such these routers are designed for large homes, or perhaps a small office, with multiple floors and many devices. They are likely overkill for just a handful of devices, but that certainly wouldn't stop us from pulling the trigger on one of them of course, especially when you consider the improved range performance.
Represented above, we have the D-Link DIR 890-L, ASUS RT-AC3200, Netgear Nighthawk X6, and TRENDnet TEW-828DRU. As you can see, their specifications are quite similar. We'll take a closer look at each one, next.