Is it a good idea to buy a Draft 2.0 802.11ac router?

  1. Have any "Draft" 802.11n wireless routers been upgraded to the final version of 802.11n in the past, with a firmware update? Is this even possible, or does it require changes to the hardware? (Especially for 802.11n routers with DD-WRT).
  2. Historically speaking, were the high end, expensive Draft 802.11N routers reliable, especially compared to the final version of draft N?

I need to buy a new router, because the current one has been far too unreliable for my needs. Money is not such a problem. I prefer buying an expensive, future proof, reliable router now than a cheap one that will be more trouble than it's worth and need to be replaced in 1 or two years. I've had many bad experiences with unreliable routers, and have decided that whatever I buy, I'll want a rock solid, reliable one with the best wireless range possible. After some research, I've read that Netgear and Apple seem to be the two most reliable brands (if the routers are not DOA) - so I'm wondering if I should buy Netgear's top range router: R6300. I'm asking these questions to evaluate if it's a bad decision.

  • We cannot tell you what will and will not be supported by DD-WRT. I suggest you remove those questions from your question since they cannot be answered. As for those draft "N" routers, many of them could not be updated, and most were slower then the routers that came after it. I have never seen "Netgear" and "reliable" in the same sentence before.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 4, 2013 at 15:39
  • @Ramhound What is the most reliable router you would suggest? I think, as long as the router supports DD-WRT, it should be much more reliable, no? Anyway, please let me know on your opinion, I'm very much interested.
    – David
    Feb 4, 2013 at 16:36
  • 1
    How is this question not constructive? The answer given is backed up by facts.
    – David
    Feb 4, 2013 at 18:58
  • Because we cannot speculate on what will happen in the future.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 5, 2013 at 0:09
  • I think that after your edit, this question should not have been closed. I've voted to re-open.
    – Spiff
    Feb 5, 2013 at 4:33

1 Answer 1


802.11 chipset vendors don't release chips until the draft standard is at a phase in the IEEE standards process where all future revisions can be handled in firmware. There was no measurable difference between draft-N and the first generation of final-N gear.

The real danger of draft-standard gear isn't so much that the standard isn't complete, it's more that you're sure to get a really early rev of the silicon. Chips have bugs just like software does, so when you're buying an early rev of a chip, its bugs have to be worked around, sometimes incompletely, in microcode/firmware/software.

The first round of draft-AC gear that came out in May 2012 from vendors like Netgear and Buffalo was all built around the very first version of Broadcom's BCM4360 chip (the "A0" rev in Broadcom versioning terms). Broadcom makes some great chips, but they're also famous for their A0's not being truly ready for prime time. Look for something based on a "B0" or later rev. Unfortunately, that's a pretty low-level detail that's hard to determine in the field.

You can tell the 2012 crop of 802.11ac gear was rushed to market, because everyone had APs, but no one had real client adaptors to go with it! You have to do 802.11ac on both ends in order to see any benefit. The 2012 APs all do 3-stream VHT80 802.11ac (1300mbps max PHY rate), but the client adaptors all seem to be only 2-stream (867mbps max PHY rate), and they all seem to be USB 2.0 dongles, so they'd be limited by USB 2's 480mbps PHY rate. Garbage. No laptop-internal PCIe-mini cards either. The only 3-stream AC card out there is one from Asus, but it's full-size PCIe, for desktops only.

  • I would be more concerned by the "dual-band" routers. This is what happen to "N" routers, the first wave of these routers are significantly slower then the routers currently on the market because they are single band.
    – Ramhound
    Feb 5, 2013 at 0:11
  • @Ramhound I don't understand your comment. I think you're having problems with English verb tenses. The first wave of AC routers are all dual-band as far as I've seen. The first wave of N routers weren't dual band because dual-band was rare before N because 802.11a (and the 5GHz band) never really caught on before N.
    – Spiff
    Feb 5, 2013 at 4:29

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