Buffalo Technology announced on Monday that the AirStation WZR-D1800H wireless router and WLI-H4-D1300 wireless media bridge have shipped and are available at select electronics retailers. The significance of the new 802.11ac devices is that they offer so-called gigabit Wi-Fi speeds, and when combined, can do so for some devices even if they don’t otherwise support 802.11ac.
AirStation WZR-D1800H wireless router & WLI-H4-D1300 wireless media bridge
802.11ac offers theoretical maximum speeds of 1,300 megabits per second, or a little less than 1.3 gigabits per second. When demonstrated for The Mac Observer at CES, we saw functional speeds of 800 megabits per second, but the reality is that real-world applications are likely to be in the 600-700 megabits per second.
To get why we’re excited about this, 802.11n Wi-Fi offers theoretical maximum speeds of about 300 megabits, with real-world speeds much slower. In other words, 802.11ac represents a significant step up in wireless network speeds.
Monday’s announcement means that Buffalo technology is first to market with 802.11ac wireless routers, and because there aren’t many (or perhaps any) devices with 802.11ac devices on the market yet, the company also released a media bridge that allows users to take advantage of the faster wireless network via Ethernet.
By connecting your device to the bridge through Ethernet, you get the faster speed. Unfortunately, this means that your iPhone won’t be faster on your home network, but your Apple TV or iMac might be. The same is true for your gaming console, Roku 2, some Slingbox models, and most Drobo models.
Apple has not yet announced support for 802.11ac, but the company is usually on the forefront of supporting improvements to the 802.11xx protocols. In the meanwhile, Buffalo Technology said that both the AirStation WZR-D1800H wireless router and WLI-H4-D1300 wireless media bridge are priced at US$179.99.