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HWM+HardwareZone.com Tech Awards 2013: Editor's Choice - Part 2

Best 802.11ac Wireless Router

Best 802.11ac Wireless Router

For this category, we rounded up four true dual-band (2.4 and 5GHz) wireless routers that support the draft 802.11ac standard. Being three stream devices, they support a maximum link rate of 450Mbps for the N standard, as well as 1,300Mbps for the draft AC standard. These routers are all priced under S$350 and were available during our evaluation period.

Nominees: 

 

  • ASUS RT-AC66U
  • D-Link DIR-865L
  • Linksys EA6500
  • Netgear R6300

 

And the Winner Is...

Apart from Netgear, the RT-AC66U is one of the preliminary 802.11ac routers to enter the market. Design-wise, it bears similar looks as its RT-N66U predecessor, so there's nothing really new here. The ASUS router features a nice spread of Gigabit WAN and LAN offerings, plus two USB ports with excellent network support for printers, storage devices, and 3G adapters. The upgraded ASUSWRT interface is a positive touch. We like its attractive layout and comprehensive networking features, including AiDisk (file sharing via the cloud), Network Print Server, plus Media Server support for iTunes, FTP, and Samba. The pre-loaded IPTV profiles and QoS rules are useful too. The real strength of this router, however, lies with its AC performance on the 5GHz band. Its throughput performance remains unsurpassed by those from D-Link, Netgear, and Linksys to-date. This makes the ASUS RT-AC66U a formidable router if streaming HD clips is what you have in mind.

Scoring Breakdown
Criteria/Model ASUS RT-AC66U D-Link DIR-865L Linksys EA6500 Netgear R6300
Design 9.0 7.0 8.5 8.0
Features 9.0 8.5 8.5 8.5
Performance 8.5 8.0 8.0 7.5
Value 8.0 7.0 7.5 7.5
Overall 8.5 7.5 8.0 7.5
Price S$329 S$299 S$349 S$349

For more details on how we selected our winners, check out the full reviews and articles listed at the References section at the end.