Buffalo AirStation 1750 review

The world's first 802.11ac wireless router is the Buffalo AirStation 1750 WZR-D1800H. We put this breakthrough new statement in Wi-Fi technology to the test. Read more wireless router reviews.

We’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of 802.11ac, the latest development in wireless data tech. With 11n still usually performing slower than last century’s 100Mbps wired ethernet, a truly nippy wireless system is long overdue.

Several big-name router manufacturers pledged support for the emerging higher-speed 11ac standard earlier this year, but Buffalo was the first to deliver a working 802.11ac product into the UK. 

But 11ac is still a fledgling technology and not complete: as of August 2012, the products we’ve seen so far are specified to Draft 2.0. If it’s anything like the development of Draft-11n, it could be several years before we see the final ratified version: it’s currently scheduled for sign-off in February 2014.

That doesn’t stop equipment from being used today of couse. And Draft-n hardware was upgradable to the final version through firmware or software patches, so early adopters of 11n products were not left with obsolete hardware.

The Buffalo AirStation 1750, also known as the WZR-D1800H, is a dual-band wireless router that operates on the common 2.4GHz frequency used by 11b, 11g and 11n, as well as over 5GHz optionally used by 802.11n. 

There’s also the option here for 802.11a, although this old standard is rarely since it became outclassed in speed and range by 11n and even 11g.

Of most interest on the Buffalo router is of course its 802.11ac capability, for the vaunted gigabit speed. In fact, in its current top-spec form, 802.11ac is described  with speeds up to 1300Mbps. 

Our real-world tests of the Buffalo AirStation 1750 fell far short of any four-figure speeds. New samples were supplied in case the first were faulty. The results from the second set were close enough to the first to conclude that the only fault here lies in the way the technology is being marketed. 

The ‘1750’ in the name refers to the sum of the notional speeds from both 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios added together. That’s 450Mbps plus 1300Mbps to make 1750Mbps.

Buffalo AirStation 1750: Hardware

The Buffalo AirStation 1750 usually stands 214mm high in its upright state, although some cunning removable platform feet mean you can equally lie the AirStation 1750 down flat, where it stands 52mm high. Long fixing screws are included to wall-mount the unit.

It looks as well suited in its landscape orientation as portrait, except for the light-up white Buffalo logo, which undermines the effect as it looks like the router’s fallen over.

Buffalo 1750 on its side

The Buffalo AirStation 1750 can take it lying down thanks to its adaptable feet

Smart and businesslike with its matt black sides and gunmetal-coloured surround band, the Buffalo AirStation 1750 is surprisingly light notwithstanding its all-plastic casework.

Running up the rear edge are the necessary wired ins and outs – gigabit ethernet for WAN, four more of the same for LAN, 12V DC power, and USB 2.0 for printer or storage sharing.

Buffalo 1750 front and back

The Buffalo Air Station 1750 front and back showing smart metal-effect band

As a premium product it would deserve faster USB 3.0 ports to benefit connected USB drives when shared over gigabit wired networks.

As with many modern consumer wireless routers, all antennae are hidden inside, contributing to a less alien aspect to the living room.

Buffalo AirStation 1750: Software 

Setting up the AirStation 1750 is relatively straightforward if you’re familiar with the basic of a router’s webpage interface. Buffalo uses primarily text-based admin pages, somewhat dated looking, but it gets the job done.

By default the router sets up a local network of the form 192.168.11.x. Wireless setup is made confusing by Buffalo’s choice of names for the two networks – by default something like BUFFALO-334455_A for the 5GHz waveband and BUFFALO-334455_G for 2.4GHz. We’d suggest changing these when setting up to something with more meaningful suffices such as BUFFALO-2.4 and BUFFALO-5.

Delving into the advanced configuration pages there’s enough to keep technical dabblers busy, although we can appreciate why the WMM-EDCA Parameter page is headed ‘Please do not change these settings’ in red letters. Suffice to say, there are deep settings available to suit more technical users.

Changing settings through the admin interface could become tiresome, as most adjustments forced the router to reboot each time, adding delay to each change of settings.

NEXT PAGE: Performance >>

Buffalo AirStation 1750: Performance

Due to the current dearth of any laptops or other mobile devices with 802.11ac facilities, we were not able to test this router in standard fashion by measuring data throughput from router to notebook computer.

Buffalo loaned us a second unit, a Buffalo AC1300/N450 Gigabit Dual Band Media Bridge (£110) with which to test the AirStation 1750’s 802.11ac performance.

This bridge unit, also known as the WLI-H4-D1300, is essentially the same as an AirStation 1750, with WAN port removed and slightly different software.

Linking the two units for radio connection, we used Buffalo’s WPS one-button system, which it calls AOSS. Linking just requires pressing one button on the router, then on the bridge and waiting one minute for the units to sync.

We ran close- and long-range tests, at 1m and 9m with two plaster walls between host and client, using zPerf to measure data throughput.

At 1m, and with the 11ac units tried in various parallel and perpendicular orientations to each other, the best result we recorded was 417 Mbps. By 11n standards, that would be a good result that approaches the given speed of 450 Mbps. But when 1300 Mbps was promised, you would be forgiven for thinking something was amiss.

We tried experimenting with even shorter distances, to see if closing the gap could bring out better results.

With no other wireless tech broadcasting on the 5GHz band, there’s little excuse about unwanted RF interference. But to be sure, we also disabled Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 2.4GHz radio sources at the test location.

Moving the units closer together, we measured a data transfer speed of 443Mbps, averaged over 30 sec and at a range of 10cm.

Slighty better performance was found with a second pair of router/bridge units, which gave best results of 461Mbps, at 1.0m. That was over a 10 sec slot; averaged over 30 sec the result was at 432Mbps.

Speed at the 9m distance held relatively well, at 345Mbps. That suggests a more consistent connection at the greater distance; 11n on 5GHz tends to drop rapidly in performance after around 5m. 

Buffalo AirStation 1750: Back to 11n

Until 802.11ac becomes available for laptops, tablets and smartphones, the AirStation 1750 is likely to be used as much or more in legacy 11n mode.

We measured data throughput using the AirStation and an Apple MacBook Pro Retina as client, making use of the Mac’s Broadcom 4331 chipset with three-stream capability.

At 1m over 5GHz, we saw best figures of around 300 Mbps, with the Mac indicating a nominal Transmit Rate of 450.

At 1m over 2.4GHz, the best the combination could muster was 137Mbps.

Moving to 9m, data throughput was up to 152 Mbps over 5GHz. We were unable to test over 2.4GHz due to some network flakiness from the setup; either the Buffalo SSID would vanish, or the zPerf benchmark tool would quit.

There was one final test we ran, again in a bid to find the maximum possible speed for the Buffalo’s all-11ac connection at minimum range. We disabled the WPA2 encryption, to see if this was creating any overhead that could slow performance. There was a tiny increase, only very slightly to 462Mbps, within the bounds of error of the initial result.

Buffalo AirStation 1750: Specs

  • Dual-band 11ac wireless router
  • 802.11b/g/n/ac
  • concurrent 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios
  • IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u, IEEE 802.3ab
  • 1x gigabit WAN
  • 4x gigabit ethernet
  • WPA2-PSK(AES, TKIP), WPA-PSK(AES, TKIP),128/64-bit WEP, Mac Address Filter
  • USB 2.0
  • 212 x 183 x 34mm
  • 510g
  • Dual-band 11ac wireless router
  • 802.11b/g/n/ac
  • concurrent 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios
  • IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u, IEEE 802.3ab
  • 1x gigabit WAN
  • 4x gigabit ethernet
  • WPA2-PSK(AES, TKIP), WPA-PSK(AES, TKIP),128/64-bit WEP, Mac Address Filter
  • USB 2.0
  • 212 x 183 x 34mm
  • 510g


The AirStation 1750 is Buffalo’s premium home router, and sports the latest 802.11ac wireless standard in Draft 2.0 form. Used with a desktop media bridge as the client receiver, we saw performance reach 462Mbps, a little over one-third the advertised speed of 1300Mbps. This lowly result compares with the wide gap between advertised and real speeds of 802.11n. But if you need to build a wireless data connection across a few metres, the Buffalo’s 11ac mode should give you around 400 Mbps, which is just about better than 11n.

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