The market has recently welcomed wireless equipment for the 5GHz frequency band that is compatible with the 802.11ac standard which promises unprecedented data-transfer speeds, up to 7 Gbps with some configurations. Early products are not so sophisticated, though, and only deliver 1.3 Gbps by using four channels in the 5GHz band together with new encoding algorithms. Buffalo Technology was one of the first to take up 802.11ac. At the January CES they showcased working samples of their devices. The actual speed was over 800 Mbps, which was close to the peak bandwidth of a wired Gigabit Ethernet connection.
The hardware has already become available in Europe and the United States as the WZR-D1800H router and the WLI-H4-D1300 bridge. These are the devices we’re going to talk about in this review.
The WZR-D1800H router offers four LAN and one WAN port (all of them Gigabit Ethernet), two built-in radio modules to support both 2.4 and 5GHz frequency bands concurrently, and a USB 2.0 connector for extra functionality. It supports Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.
The WLI-H4-D1300 bridge, on its part, can be used to connect multiple clients to an existing wireless network. It offers four Gigabit Ethernet connectors and supports all modern Wi-Fi standards including 802.11ac. Most importantly, the devices cost less than $200, which is a rather attractive price.
Package and Accessories
Both products from Buffalo come in similar-looking compact boxes which have an attractive design and offer such information as specifications, system requirements and product photos.
Besides the network device, each box contains an external 12V power adapter, a two-piece stand, screws for wall-mounting, a flat Gigabit Ethernet cable, installation guides, a CD with electronic versions of the guides and software for Windows and Mac OS.
The included network cables are white to match the color of the devices. The CD contains a utility for looking for the router on the LAN, Network-USB Navigator for working with all-in-one printers, and a tool for setting up the bridge’s IP address.