See also Wireless Networking and Multi-Band Wi-Fi in tech
and Wi-Fi Mesh Networking below.

Contents:
Standrds: | 802.11n vs 802.11ac | My Tests | 5 GHz vs 2.4 GHz. | Does your laptop support 802.11ac? | Designation ACxxxx | 2016-17 reviews | Tri Band Router - Ranking | SmallNetBuilder | Some router Specs | WAN to LAN thruput | Speed Examples | Test speed of Wi-Fi on Mac | Wi-Fi Mesh Networking | Terms: | Links: | |

Standrds:
Standard Frequencies Speed Notes
802.11G 2.4GHz 54mbs
802.11N 2.4GHz
5GHz
300 Mbps
450 mbps
300mbps with 2 antennas, 450mbps with 3 antennas.
Typical speeds are more accurately around 130mbps or less.
802.11AC 2.4GHz
5GHz
300-600Mbps
1.3Gbps
Stronger signal strength. Up to eight spatial streams (MIMO)
Actual results showed average throughput of around 8-900 Mbps
802.11AD 2.4GHz
5GHz
60GHz
400-800Mbps
1.7Gbps
4.6Gbps
60GHz will not propagate thru walls. When roaming away from the main room, the protocol can switch to make use of the other lower bands.

802.11n vs 802.11ac
802.11n and 802.11ac are both dual band routers with 2.4 and 5 GHz radios.
802.11ac can support more antennas, up to 8, and has a higher bandwidth per antenna vs 802.11n.

802.11n supportes four spatial streams (4×4 MIMO) and a channel width of 40MHz
802.11ac suports eight spatial streams and has channels up to 80MHz wide 

Does An AC Router Improve N Device Performance? - SmallNetBuilder
They compared AC routers against  the top-ranked ASUS RT-N66U as the reference N router.
Download speed improvement:

See more throughput comparisons below.

See Also What is 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and how much faster than 802.11n is it? | ExtremeTech
and Gigabit Wireless? Five 802.11ac Routers, Benchmarked - 802.11ac: Tom's Hardware

My Tests
5 GHz vs 2.4 GHz.
2.4 GHz more penetrating power to go thru walls.
   More interference from other devices, cordless phones, baby monitors, etc.
        I got mixed results with a Netgear R6250 (AC1600) at our cabin thru a
        floor and 2 walls. 2.4 was faster some times and 5 GHz was faster others
5 Ghz - More bandwidth 
      I got better throughput thru 4 walls on 5 GHz (117 Mbps) than with 2.4 GHz
      with the D-Link DIR-868L supplied by Optimum (Cablevision).
    My cordless phone is 1.9GHz so should have not been a problem on either band.
    
In my tests tests thru a wall I got  
ARRIS DG1660A  802.11n  20 Mbps
Netgear R6250 (AC1600) 130 Mbps


Does your laptop support 802.11ac?
Windows:
  See Using Device Manager to verify a network interface card | FiOS Internet 
 
  Go to Control Panel > Device Manager look under  Network Adapters
  Or you may have to click Network Adapter
   You may see things like Gigabit (Ethernet ) Controller, Bluetooth Device
   If you see something like  "Intel dual band AC3160" or "Dell Wireless 802.11b/g/n" 
   That is your Wireless adapter - AC3160 is an 802.11ac wireless adapter
  Or google the model of the Network Adapter to see what it supports
  You may also right-click on the adaptor in Device Manager, click Properties 
  and then switch to the Advanced tab.
  You'll see a list of properties, one of which should mention 5GHz for an N or AC. 
 See also Fix network connection issues in Windows 10 - Windows Help
 
 Mac:
  Go to About This Mac under the apple menu 
  Go to "System Report > select Wi-Fi under network
  "Supported PHY Modes" will list which standards it supports

Designation ACxxxx
AC1900 = AC Standard 1900 Mbps total (600 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 1300 on 5 GHz)
To get higher than 1900 Mbps routers use 2 5Ghz radios (tri-band).
See terms below for more specifications

2016-17 reviews
Best wireless routers of 2016 - CNET
      Model                      Price  Performance
	Asus RT-AC88U                   $300  9  Editors Choice
	Linksys WRT1900ACS              $220  9
	Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900  $180  8  1 USB 3.0 +1 USB 2.0
The 10 Best Wireless Routers of 2017 | PCMag.com
	D-Link AC3200                     4.5 Editors Choice
	Asus RT-AC68U -AC1900             4.5 Editors Choice
	Linksys EA7500 AC1900             4.0 Editors Choice
	Netgear Nighthawk X45 R7800       4.0
	Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200       4.0

Dual Band Router - Ranking | SmallNetBuilder
Downlink Throughput 2.4 GHz 5 GHz Price Avg Max Avg Max ASUS RT-AC1900P AC1900 $200 65 Mbps 299 Mbps 234 Mbps 849 Mbps NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk AC1900 $175 69 Mbps 351 Mbps 165 Mbps 896 Mbps 1.8 Gbps UDP ASUS RT-AC68U AC1900 $114 70 Mbps 354 Mbps 233 Mbps 825 Mbps D-Link DIR-879 AC1900 $125 46 Mbps 321 Mbps 184 Mbps 790 Mbps 1.9 Gbps UDP Linksys WRT3200ACM AC3200 $208 63 Mbps 226 Mbps 204 Mbps 672 Mbps Note: Simultaneous throughput (multiple clients) is on the order of 850 Nbps - 1.6 Gbps for TCP and 850 Mbps - 1.8 Gbps for UDP Tri Band Router - Ranking | SmallNetBuilder Max Downlink Throughput Price 2.4 GHz 5 GHz Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 $350 451 Mbps 587 Mbps ASUS RT-AC5300 Wireless -AC5300 $340 429 Mbps 745 Mbps NETGEAR R8500 Nighthawk X8 -AC5300 $350 450 Mbps 885 Mbps D-Link DIR-895L/R AC5300 Note: Simultaneous throughput (multiple clients) is on the order of 1.5 Gbps for TCP and 1.0 Gbps for UDP Wireless routers Ratings | Consumer Reports 2016 Price Score Linksys AC2600 (EA8500) $240 89 (very good far away) Asus AC1200 (RT-AC55U) $100 76 (fair far away) Best Buy Netgear AC1900 Nighthawk X4 (R7000) $170 73 (good far away) D-Link AC1200 (DIR-850L) $84 70 (poor far away) Linksys AC1900 (EA6900) $180 60 (poor far away) not rcommended The Best Wi-Fi Router (for Most People) | The Wirecutter TP-Link Archer C7 $100 TP-Link Archer C8 $125 (USB 3 ports) Netgear R6400 AC1750 $125 support for Time Machine backups 1 USB 3.0 + 1 USB 2.0 Best Router 2017 - Get a Better Wi-Fi Signal at Home | Tom's Guide Model Price Throughput at 140' Linksys WRT1900ACS $220 297 Editors Choice 2017 Asus RT68U 802.11n $195 Netgear R6220 AC1200 $60 283 USB 2 Netgear Nighthwak X8 AC5300 $370 289 Editors Choice 2016
More expensive routers have USB 3.0 (5 Gbps vs 450 Mbps for USB 2) for faster access to storage devices attached to the router. See Network Interfaces.
l  
Model Netgear R6220 AC1200 Netgear R6250 AC1600 Netgear R7000 AC1900 Netgear R8000 X6 AC3200 4 Linksys WRT1900ACS Asus RT-AC68U AC1900
Pictures
Not to scale
Price $80.00 $99.00 $170.00 $280.00 $180.00 $160.00
Band Mbps
2.4GHz 300 300 600 600 600 600
5 GHz 867 1300 1300 1300 1300 1300
2nd 5 GHz 1300
Beamforming y y y y y
CPU MHz 800MHz 800MHz dual-core 1GHz dual-core 1GHz dual-core 1.6GHz dual-core 800MHz dual-core
USB 2.0 3.0 2.0 + 3.0 2.0 + 3.0 2.0 + 3.0 2.0 + 3.0
QOS y dynamic y
Smart Connect y y
Antennas 2 3+2 1 3 6 4 3
Cloud2 y y
Time Machine Support 3 y y
Amazon score 4.1 (541) 3.9 (382) 4.3 (8,582) 3.9 (3,780) 4.3 (3,039)
Cnet 8.0 6.7 8.3 8.8
WAN to LAN thruput (Mbps) 931 806 809 778
1. The Netgear R6250 has 2 2.4 GHz antennas and 3 5 GHz antennas
QoS - Quality of Service - pritorizes connections to give presidence for video streaming, gaming,
Smart connect - Selects fastest WiFi for each device
2. Cloud - Allow access from outside your network
3. Apple Time Machine backup software will work with a drive attached to the router.
4. The Netgear R8000 is a tri-band router with 2 5GHz radios.
See Other Tri-band Routers above
Router Charts - LAN to WAN Throughput - TCP


2015 Review

Consumer Reports (CR) - routers
CR Tech - Electronics Buying Guide)
        CR                            Score
Netgear AC1900 Nighthawk (R7000) 802.11ac  $185  85        
Netgear N750 (WNDR4300)          802.11n    $90  77 
Apple AirPort Extreme (6th gen)  802.11ac  $185  73
D-Link AC190 (DIR-880L)          802.11ac  $180  71   
Linksys AC1900                   802.11ac  $200  71
    


Test speed of Wi-Fi on Mac Hold down the option key while you click on the fan shaped AirPort icon at the top of the screen Look for the Transmit Rate

Wi-Fi Mesh Networking
A wireless mesh network (WMN) is a communications network made up of radio nodes organized in a mesh topology.
It was originally for companies with multiple locations with nodes linked by satelite, wireless or traditional wired connections.

In 2016 a bunch mesh networks for large homes came on the market.

See The Best Wi-Fi Mesh Networking Kits for Most People | The Wirecutter


Terms:
802.11 - IEEE specifications for wireless local area networking (WLAN)
DLNA - Digital Living Network Alliance - Certifies products for Audio, Video and Image 
     TVs, PCs, Mobile Phones, NAS servers, DMAs
DMA - Digital Media Adapter - Interface to devices like TVs and Stereos
DOCSIS - Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification
DOCSIS 3.0 - 2006 - IPv6 support, 4 channel, 
          download bandwidth of 1.5 Gbit/s and upload of 150 Mbit/s based
DSSS - Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum  (Radio Technology)
HTTPS - Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (uses SSL)
mDNS - multi-cast DNS
MIMO - Multiple Input, Multiple Output - Antenna technology using multiple antennas
MU-MIMO - Multi User MIMO 
NAS - Network Attached Storage (Hard drive accessible over the network)
OFDM - Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (Radio Technology)
PoE - Power over Ethernet 
SNMP - Simple Network Management Protocol - Remote management
SSID - Service Set Identifier - Network name
SSL - Secure Sockets Layer - Uses cryptographic protocols for secure network communications
Wave 2 - 
WPS - Wi-Fi Protected Setup

Links:
Wireless B vs G vs N vs AC | What Is The Difference?
The Best Wi-Fi Mesh Networking Kits for Most People | The Wirecutter
Standard IP AddressesIEEE 802.11 - Wikipedia,
Wireless Networking bandwidth - configuration
How 802.11n wireless works | WoodcliffeIT.com Computer Tech Blog
WiFi Standards in Plain English
How to improve your wireless network and boost its signal
Routers 2012

last updated 22 Jan 2017