Some background: We live in a 3-story 3,700 sq. foot home. Office is in bottom front corner of the 1st floor. We have a Linksys WRT54GS router (I know!) paired with a cable modem. We have a desktop wired to the router, a plasma TV across the room connected to the cable and a PS3. We also have an iPad, two iPhones, and a MacBook Air (2012), plus whatever devices guests bring into the house.
We have trouble streaming on devices on 2nd and 3rd floors on the opposite side of house from the office. Plan on adding a NAS in near future, primarily as a local backup and to share pictures, music, movies, etc.
Not sure if one of the routers above is the way to go for whole house coverage? Seems like the AC version is probably way beyond our needs, but not sure. Is there a cheaper way to go than either that will still provide the coverage we need for a large house? Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.
The AC is not needed unless you need to wirelessly bridge to a media server, as your other devices do not have AC adapters.
It would be cheaper to install a wireless access point upstairs that is connected to the main router by an Ethernet cable if at all possible. If cabling is not feasible, you can use MOCA or powerline adapters to make the connection if it is only for low bandwidth use.
If you want to stream HD video over wireless and cannot make an Ethernet connection to the AP, then consider the AC -- but you need two, one as the main router and the second upstairs in media bridge mode like THIS.
Usually not, as the price on the AC units will come down substantially after they are out for a while, which should more than offset any savings by trying to future proof. Moreover, since they are the first generation, improvements will be made that you will not have if you buy now.
The only good reason to buy AC now is still for the high speed wireless media bridge capability -- the dual N units are getting pretty cheap and will work just as well at this time for other uses.