So I saw the article on ac routers, but I've seen some conflicting information on how much I'm going to be able to use the features with no ac endpoints. I have a venerable Linksys wrt54g, and 5 wireless devices in use in the house that have a mixture of n and g hardware, only one of which is a PC that could be updated to an ac receiver. The linksys is still plugging along, but the lack of meaningful wireless security combined with it starting to choke under the wireless load have convinced me to upgrade.
Am I going to see enough of a difference between the Asus N66u and the AC66u to justify the price difference? (~$40) If not, is the standard set enough that it's worth the price to futureproof?
So far i would bet the "standard" will not change much. There are documents that on the site for the guys that set the standards. From the one you can get for free most the feature that may change are not used by consumers...but then again a lot of this stuff is way to technical for me to be sure.
That said as you have found it does little good to by a fancy router if your nic cards do not support the features. I would leave your old G crap on the old router...running as a AP and move to a newer N device. The n66u is a nice router, i use it mostly because it has huge memory that you can do things with if you run dd-wrt or other third party firmware. I have heard the ac66u also have firmware but it is unclear how open it is.
I suspect 802.1ac will not be the magic fix everyone is looking for. First it only runs on 5g which does not have the same coverage as 2.4g. That of course is a benefit to those who live close to neighbors who are interfering but is also a pain since your internal walls also block the signal more. Then you have the issue to get the top speed you need to run at 8 channels. There are very limited number of groups you can use since your router will disable some if it detects weather radar (which can be on at random times). Pretty much everyone will use the 1 or 2 safe groups of channels and you are back to everyone interfering again.
I bought the n66u and am going to wait at least 1 more year and see how 802.11ac goes....prices I expect will drop massively when all the low end vendors get a standard chipset they can use. Even the n66u maybe too much router if your nic cards are old. I went with it mostly because of dd-wrt as a toy to experiment with..i do not even use it for my main router because my other one is more than fast enough.