Rumors (and past history) have strongly suggested that Apple will implement the new and much-improved 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard in its lineup at some point this year. We’re not surprised that this hasn’t happened yet, since the first 802.11ac router has just hit the market. Buffalo’s new—deep breath here—AirStation AC1300 / N900 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router WZR-D1800H ($180) is spearheading the speedy new standard at a reasonable price for the technology. And it’s backwards compatible with 802.11n, operating twin networks so that your current devices can work on one band while new ones work on another.
Just what does 802.11ac give you over the current king, 802.11n? The key feature is speeds up to three times faster—a blazing 1300 Mbps. It also offers an extended range, and better performance at any range. Like the current AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule lineup, the dual-band feature prevents slower devices from dragging the whole thing down. Even if 802.11ac doesn’t make it into the Mac refresh Apple’s planning for WWDC, this is definitely the future of wireless networking, and sooner or later, you’ll want to have the router to support it.