MojoKid writes: Wireless routers are going through somewhat of a renaissance right now, thanks to the arrival of the 802.11ac standard that is "three times as fast as wireless-N" and the proliferation of Internet-connected devices in our homes and pockets. So, what is the big deal with AC and should you care? First off, it's backwards compatible with all previous standards and whereas 802.11n was only able to pump out 450Mb/s of total bandwidth, 802.11ac is capable of transmitting at up to 1,300Mbps on a 5GHz channel. AC capabilty is only available on the 5GHz channel, which has fewer devices on it than a typical 2.4GHz channel. The trade-off is that 5GHz signals typically don't travel as far as those on the 2.4GHz channel. However, 802.11ac makes up for it with a technology named Beamforming, which allows it to figure out where devices are located and amplify the signal in their direction instead of just broadcasting in all directions like 802.11n. Also, while 802.11n supports only four streams of data, 802.11ac supports up to eight streams on channels that are twice as wide. HotHardware's AC Router round-up takes a look at four flagship AC routers from ASUS, TRENDnet, D-Link and Netgear. All are AC3200 routers that use the new Broadcom XStream 5G platform. Netgear's Nighthawk X6 tends to offer the best balance of performance in various use cases, along with some killer good looks. However, all models performed similarly, with subtle variances in design, features and pricing left to diffentiate them from one another.