Belkin AC1800 DB – Performance
The Belkin AC1800's appealing looks and functionality are also backed up by solid 802.11ac test results. In our test environment at 2m and 10m line of sight and 13m behind two standing walls the router recorded speeds of 35.5MBps (284Mbps), 27.7MBps (221.6Mbps) and 23.5MBps (188Mbps).
At 2m this makes the Belkin AC1800 the third fastest router we have tested ahead of the D-Link DIR-868L at 34MBps (272Mbps), but behind the Linksys EA6700 and Asus RT-AC66U, which recorded 36.7Mbps (293.6Mbps) and 39.1MBps (312.8Mbps) respectively. That said it drops behind all three at 10m and is actually slower than them and the WD My Net AC1300 (24.3MBps - 194.4Mbps) at 13m.
It was a similar story testing 802.11n over 5GHz (images in the gallery above). The AC1800's 2m, 10m and 13m speeds of 22MBps (176Mbps), 17.6MBps (140.8Mbps) and 10.2MBps (81.6Mbps) make it the second fastest router behind the EA6700 at 2m, but it slipped behind the Asus and D-Link at 10m and 13m only holding off the EA6700's bizarrely weak performance (7.7MBps – 61.6Mbps) at the latter distance.
With 802.11n 2.4GHz our fears about the AC1800's reduced number of antennas came to fruition. At 2m, 10m and 13m it produced highly inconsistent speeds of 9.3MBps (74.4Mbps), 5MBps (40Mbps) and 2.4MBps (19.2Mbps) with its 10m and 13m speeds 50-100 per cent down on EA6700, AC66U, 868L and My Net AC1300 meaning it actually placed closer to first generation wireless ac routers like the Linksys EA6500 and D-Link DIR-865L which seemed to treat 802.11n 2.4GHz as an afterthought.
Network performance over USB (graphs also in the gallery) was nothing to write home about either coming in at 3.9MBps (31.2Mbps) compared to 7.1MBps (56.8Mbps), 4.9MBps (39.2Mbps) and 4.8MBps (38.4Mbps) from the EA6700, 868L, My Net AC1300 with the AC66U (3.1MBps - 24.8Mbps) its only scalp.
Based on everything so far the answer would be 'maybe', but it depends on one critical factor the Belkin AC1800 sadly gets badly wrong: price. Belkin retails for the router for an astonishing £179.99 and surprisingly we haven't seen many cuts from online retailers.
This makes the it roughly £30-50 more expensive than its major rivals, which is hard to fathom. We contacted Belkin about this and while it admitted the gap will narrow with future products, it currently has no plans to drop the price any time soon. If you are a concerned parent thinking the AC1800's Norton controls are worth the extra expense we'd point you to this an array of free software alternatives that will do an even better job.
And if you just want a fast router at a good price, our best router round-up has plenty of excellent options.
The Belkin AC1800 DB gets many things right. It is nicely designed, has an appealing feature set and performs reasonably well, but unfortunately all this good work is sabotaged by an unrealistic price tag.