On Computers: New router scheme blitzes data

Jim Hillibish

Just when we’ve gotten our wireless routers all set up and working happily, here comes a new router standard.

This month, the first “AC” Wi-Fi routers will appear. The Netgear models promise gigabit wireless speeds and a tripling of the data flow over the once vaunted “N” routers.

Will this be important to you? Do screens denoting “buffering” in the middle of your streaming movie bug you? It could be the beginning of the end for that kludge.


The AC routers are powerful enough to send multiple streams of HD video across your network. That means you can stream junior’s “Killer Sardines Eat Australia” at the same time as mom’s “Killer Rays Eat Rachael Ray.”

You cannot even try that with the “old” routers. They will crash your net.

Another AC advantage: They all are dual band, meaning they are two routers in one. The device automatically switches signals to avoid conflicts.

When the first N routers appeared, they contained programming than was not yet an approved standard. Then the standards received the OK, and we had to upload and install new operating systems for them.

The same is true of the AC models. Apparently, the makers are progressing faster than the committee that approves standards. They will definitely need an upgrade when the final scheme is approved.


The Netgear entry includes two USB ports for attaching a printer or external hard drives. And it presents ReadyShare technology that allows printing from tablets and cellphones, and AirPrint for the iPad and iPhone.

Parents may find the AC security package useful. It offers them router-level control of content for their kids, supporting Macs and PCs.

The routers should be easily installed, as there is not even a CD needed for startup. Gone are the days of spending hours tweaking a router to life.

At least four other providers are readying AC entries in the router race. All should be online by the end of the year. The initial cost will be $200, about double the existing N dual-band routers. That should fall fast.


Junie asks, “I keep hearing about Windows Journal. What’s up?”

This is one of the best PC tablet apps almost unknown to users. It allows you to annotate Web pages or other documents before sending them to somebody else. There’s also an option to accept and organize handwritten notes. Do your editing with the red pen option.

Be sure to visit “Tablet and Pen Settings” in Control Panel before trying Windows Journal. It will help your tab understand your writing.

And then there’s Dictionary Power Tool, a free app that customizes your tab’s dictionary to your handwriting. Then check out OneNote, a way to record audio or video and attach it to your notes. This stuff never ends.