The next generation of connectivity, 802.11ac, is here. One of the top wireless adapters on the market, the Netgear AC600 dual-band Wi-Fi USB mini adapter provides seamless connectivity to networks running both the 802.11ac standard and its predecessor, 802.11n.
The 802.11ac standard provides connection speeds up to three times faster than 802.11n, but that increase becomes lost without the technology to support it.
Creating a Stronger Connection
Netgear equipped the AC600 with its Beamforming+ technology, which gives the adapter more direct connections to a router. With other protocols, the wireless signal broadcasts widely around the router. Beamforming+ focuses the signal directly between the router and the user’s device, leading to a more dependable and steady connection.
This eliminates jitter and ghosting while streaming high-definition videos, a problem that accompanies poor or unstable connections. Beamforming+ also boosts the router signal’s range.
The Netgear AC600 works as a dual-band device: For legacy networks such as 802.11b/g/n, the AC600 operates at 2.4 gigahertz; for more modern networks, such as 802.11a/n/ac, the device operates at 5GHz. This dual-band capability allows the AC600 to work at a greater range than single-band devices, including large offices or public spaces. The feature becomes important when many users, such as those in an agency office, try to connect to the same router. The AC600 reduces interference on each individual signal, improving connections.
Need for Speed
Netgear includes a small button on the AC600 called Push ‘N’ Connect, the company’s version of Wi-Fi Protected Setup. WPS lets users connect to a wireless network without typing the network name or password.
Instead, users can press Push ‘N’ Connect on the adapter and, within a two-minute window, press a similar button on the router, access point or gateway.
The two devices will sync, much like a Bluetooth pairing.
During tests, the AC600 shined when connected to 802.11ac-compatible routers. A notebook connected with an embedded 802.11n adapter to an 802.11n-enabled router averaged about 65 megabits per second while transferring a large movie file.
The same notebook equipped with the Netgear AC600 and connected to an 802.11n router managed just 35Mbps, but when connected to an 802.11ac compatible router, the download speed jumped to 158Mbps.
Netgear AC600 Dual-Band Wi-Fi USB Mini Adapter
802.11n Connectivity: 2.4GHz
802.11ac Connectivity: 5GHz
Weight: 0.28 ounces
Dimensions: 1.42x0.72x0.32 inches