Before we jump into how well the AC1200 performed I did want to quickly go over what you get when you buy it hardware wise. For starters you get a USB 3.0 base with a long cord to reach from the top of your desk to your computer or somewhere else nearby to get the best signal. The base is a small round ring with rubber on the bottom and a small cutout for the cord to run under it.
You get two large antennas to get the dual bands and judging by the size of the antennas you should get a good range as well. They around about twice the size of a normal router antenna and are spot on for the old high range antennas you could pick up to extend the range of your router. Keep in mind that in order for a signal to be extended both ends have to have large antennas though.
Then of course we have the actual wireless AC1200 adapter. It comes with a cap over the USB connection but you will need to toss that to the side to get rolling. The two antennas attach to the adapter on the two connections on the sides. The adapter does have a WPS button as well as a small activity LED as well. The adapter as well as the base both have a gloss black finish.
With everything put together it all makes a little more sense. The base holds the adapter up and the antennas stick up on each side giving it a horns look. It remind me a lot of the old bunny ears we used to use on televisions, without the extending antennas.
Once I got everything together and set everything up I had to make sure I could test on a full wireless AC network. I know it might be ironic, but in the LanOC office we normally only have a wireless N access point along with our PFSense router. So for testing I actually had to dig out the Wireless AC access point that we use for the staff to connect to at our LAN events. I’ve put off the office upgrade because we haven’t had any wireless AC devices come in yet, but it looks like I need to finally make that jump.
Anyhow with everything setup I ran my main PC on wireless for a few days and ran a few tests. Performance ran nearly parallel with wired results, something that you could never do with wireless N. In testing I saw results that were almost exactly the same as our wired results. In some situations it was actually faster than wired, but it was very dependent on the distance from the router and the environment. In our office, we often struggle with issues with nearly any wireless device because there are just so many things interfering. To test range I tested the AC1200 adapter with my laptop and was actually able to connect and get great performance anywhere on the property. To some this might seem small, but typically I struggle to keep a good wireless signal over one room away from the router due to all of the interference and the thick old walls of our house.