Following Netgear's 802.11ac entry into the networking market back in April, Austin, Texas-based Buffalo Technology is now announcing the release of two 802.11ac products of its own: the the AirStation WZR-D1800H wireless router and the WLI-H4-D1300 wireless media bridge. Both are based on Broadcom's 5G Wi-Fi chips, offering speeds up to three times faster than the 802.11n standard. Buffalo is actually claiming first to market, as Netgear's solution doesn't arrive until sometime during this half of May.
"Operating in the 5 GHz spectrum, 802.11ac offers transfer speeds up to 1300 Mbps, ideal for uninterrupted HD video streaming and concurrent Internet access," Buffalo said on Monday. "Along with gigabit speeds, Buffalo's 802.11ac products with improved radios will feature improved reliability and produce better in-home coverage for ultra-portable devices such as tablets and smart phones. As 5G WiFi proliferates into phones and tablets, the WZR-D1800H will enable even better coverage as well as incredibly fast download times, improving the battery life of clients."
Buffalo said the router integrates a class leading 2.4 GHz 3x3 802.11n radio providing backward compatibility and offering speeds up to 450 Mbps. Add that to the speeds coughed up on the 5 GHz spectrum, and users have a total aggregate wireless throughput up to 1750 Mbps. This should be ideal for family members who typically fight over bandwidth for streaming seamless video from Netflix or Hulu.
For the uninitiated, a wireless media bridge serves as a huge dual-band Wi-Fi dongle, allowing users to connect up to four Gigabit Ethernet-based devices like Blu-ray players and gaming consoles. Like the router, it features 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz radios, the former providing theoretical speeds up to 1300 Mbps. This is the ideal spectrum if the connected devices are bandwidth hogs.
Even more, Windows 7 customers could attach a Windows 7-based PC to the media bridge, install Connectify, and use that PC as a network extension for wireless devices. The only drawback is that media bridges typically create a mini-network for all connected devices, and sends/receives network requests to the router via one set IP address. This makes transferring files between the two groups a little weird. Media bridges also don't connect directly to the Internet, meaning users still need the router.
Buffalo said that both products are backed by a limited three-year warranty that includes toll-free U.S.-based technical support available 24/7. The WZR-D1800H and WLI-H4-D1300 are available now at Fry's, Frys.com and NewEgg.com at estimated street prices of $179.99 each.