Once and Future Router
Those with good memories probably remember the Linksys WRT 54G family of WiFi routers. Well, they’re back, but with the twist that only 802.11ac can deliver. The new WRT 1900AC Dual-Band Wireless-AC Router uses the as yet unratified 802.11ac protocol to move just under 2Gbps of data and Web access to dozens of clients. The best part is that the WRT 1900AC not only can use the latest 802.11ac protocol but is backward compatible with older 802.11a, b, g and n systems.
With the latest beamforming technology, it uses both 2.4- and 5GHz frequency bands, has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and shuffles data to and fro via four antennas. Happily, they can be removed and exchanged for higher gain ones. The router has four gigabit per second wired ports as well as both USB 3.0 and E-SATA ports for connecting a printer and a hard drive. On the downside, all this hardware means that the WRT is one of the few routers that requires a cooling fan, although it’s not expected to be disruptive.
The system comes with quality of service software, content controls and an incredibly useful way to map all of a networks devices and clients. While it can quickly be converted to an access point, the WRT router lacks LDAP authentication, but Linksys is working on adding this key feature. Look for it by Spring for $300.