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 | Personal Testing and experience | 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.

Designation / Notation 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

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 (4x4 MIMO) and a channel width of 40MHz
802.11ac suports eight spatial streams and has channels up to 80MHz wide 
See MIMO: Why Multiple Antennas Matter | Cisco Meraki Blog
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 AC1750 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
 
 See Wireless Wi-Fi Testing

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 2016-17 reviews Best wireless routers of 2017 - CNET Model Price Performance Asus RT-AC88U $300 9 Editors Choice Linksys WRT1900ACS $220 9 1 USB 3.0 +1 USB 2.0 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
Listed by class (AC1900, AC3200) Score is based on performance only (low = better) AC1900 Downlink Throughput 2.4 GHz (Mbps) 5 GHz (Mbps) LAN Price Score Avg Max Range Avg Max Range* Throughput UDP NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk AC1900 $175 24 69 351 40 165 896 118 931 1.8 Gbps ASUS RT-AC68U AC1900 $114 36 70 354 31 233 825 92 754 1.1 Gbps Linksys EA6900 AC1900 $123 43 86 129 27 245 512 83 923 Linksys EA7500 AC1900 $162 44 99 154 22 266 624 53 746 Linksys WRT1900AC AC1900 $140 D-Link DIR-880L AC1900 $140 ASUS RT-AC1900P AC1900 $200 65 299 234 849 857 D-Link DIR-879 AC1900 $125 46 321 184 790 1.9 Gbps AC3200 Tri-Band Downlink Throughput 2.4 GHz (Mbps) 5 GHz (Mbps) LAN Price Score Avg Max Range Avg Max Range* Throughput NETGEAR R8000 AC3200 $227 20 91 127 39 253 487 107 806 ASUS RT-AC3200 AC3200 $200 22 93 131 35 282 564 126 725 D-Link DIR-890L/R AC3200 $250 25 92 131 40 238 470 79 784 TP-LINK Archer C3200 AC3200 $200 32 TRENDnet TEW-828DRU AC3200 $188 38 Linksys EA9200 AC3200 $130 39 85 126 23 195 446 51 762 Linksys WRT3200ACM AC3200 $208 63 226 204 672 847 Mbps Note: Simultaneous throughput (multiple clients) is on the order of 850 Mbps - 1.6 Gbps for TCP and 850 Mbps - 1.8 Gbps for UDP * Range: Speed with a client 35 ft away from the router where there is one wood floor, one lower level sheetrock wall and a sheetrock ceiling between router and Client. See Does An AC Router Improve N Device Performance? - SmallNetBuilder AC5300 - 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 1.6 Gbps for TCP and 1.0 Gbps for UDP 10 Best Wireless Routers - RelevantRankings.com Asus RT-AC88U Tri-Band AC3200 $300 9.4 Asus RT-AC68U Dual-band - AC1900 $173 9.3 D-Link DIR-890L/R AC3200 $280 9.2 Linksys WRT1900ACS Dual-Band AC3200 $228 9.2 Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900 $185 9.1 Tenda AC15 AC1900 $ 85 8.9 Linksys WRT 1200AC AC1200 $130 8.9 Linksys EA9200 AC3200 $215 8.8 TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 $100 8.7 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
Total Simultaneous Throughput - TCP | Small Net Builder
Router Class
Rank 1
Price Through-
put

Mbps
UDP
Throughput

Gbps
D-Link AC1900 EXO (DIR-879) AC1900:#4 $125 1,850 1.9
NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Gaming Router (R7800) AC2600:#1 $199 1,822 0.7
ARRIS SURFboard with RipCurrent G.hn Technology (SBR-AC1900P) AC1900:#5 $180 1,752 1.9
TP-LINK Wireless Tri-Band Gigabit Router (Talon AD7200) AD7200:#2 $350 1,737 0.7
D-Link AC5300 Ultra (DIR-895L/R) AC5300:#4 $390 1,703 0.9
ASUS Wireless-AC5300 Tri-Band Gigabit Router (RT-AC5300) AC5300:#2 $307 1,641 0.9
TP-LINK AC3150 Wireless MU-MIMO Gigabit Router (Archer C3150) AC3100:#1 $175 1,628
NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 Smart (R9000) AD7200:#1 $360 1,611 0.9
ASUS Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router (RT-AC1900P) AC1900:#1 $200 1,601 0.9
NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 - AC5300 Tri-Band Quad-Stream (R8500-100NAS) AC5300:#3 $341 1,593 1.1
NETGEAR Orbi (RBK50) AC1200:#1 $380 1,570
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Smart WiFi Router (R7000) AC1900:#2 $175 1,548 1.9
Google Wifi (NLS-1304-25) AC1200:#2 $129 1,539 1.7
Linksys Max-Stream AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router (EA9500) AC5300:#1 $320 1,524 1.7
ASUS Dual-band Wireless-AC3100 Gigabit Router (RT-AC88U) AC3100:#2 $270 1,502
Linksys AC3200 MU-MIMO Gigabit (WRT3200ACM) AC1900:#6 $228 1,082 0.8
TP-LINK AC1200 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (Archer C5 V2) AC1200:#3 $70 881
ASUS Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router (RT-AC68U) AC1900:#3 $110 851 1.1
1. Rank is rank within a class (AC1900, AC2600, ...) Rankings are based on weighted average of performance measures only. Product features, support and reliability are not taken into account in the rankings.
d
  ASUS RT-AC1900P ASUS RT-AC68U NETGEAR R7000
CPU Broadcom BCM4709C0 Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4709A
Switch In BCM4709C0 In BCM4708A in BCM4709A
RAM 256 MB (ESMT M15F2G16128A-BDB x1) 256 MB (ESMT M15F2G16128A-ADB x1) 256 MB
Flash 256 MB 128 MB 128 MB
2.4 GHz Radio - Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- Richwave RTC6649E 2.4 GHz Power Amp (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- Richwave RTC6649E 2.4 GHz Power Amp (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- Skyworks SE2623L 2.4 GHz Power Amp (x3)
5 GHz radio - Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- SiGE 5003L1 5 GHz Power Amp (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- SiGE 5023L 5 GHz Power Amp (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360KMLG
- Skyworks SE5003L1 5 GHz Power Amp (x3)

Router Charts - LAN to WAN Throughput - TCP | Small Net Builder


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
    

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
UDP - User Datagram Protocol
Wave 2 - 
WPS - Wi-Fi Protected Setup

Links:
How To Buy A Wireless Router - 2017 Edition - SmallNetBuilder
Why High Power Routers Don't Improve Range - SmallNetBuilder
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 Addresses
IEEE 802.11 - Wikipedia,
Wireless Networking bandwidth - configuration
WiFi Standards in Plain English
How to improve your wireless network and boost its signal
Routers 2012
Personal Testing and experience
Internet TV - Web TV

last updated 5 Feb 2017