If you're wincing at the prospect of the cost of buying an 802.11ac router and an 802.11ac bridge to go with it, Belkin has a less-expensive alternative for you. With a street price of £130, the 1200 DB represents a decent saving compared to most 802.11ac routers at the moment. See also: Group test: what's the best wireless router?
However, it also has lower specs, too. The 1200 DB supports only two spatial streams on each frequency band. As a result the theoretical maximums are 867Mbps and 300Mbps, for 5GHz and 2.4GHz respectively. See also: Group test: what's the best modem router?
The network cable come labelled and already connected to the router's WAN port, making it quick and easy to set up. Wireless security is also pre-configured so you can start using it once the quick setup wizard is finished. Note that there's no built-in ADSL modem (just as with all the routers on test) so you'll need one if you have ADSL broadband.
We like the glossy, modern styling of the AC 1200 DB. It sits vertically, which should result in better range than routers that sit flat on a surface, even though its antennas are hidden inside. Two USB 2.0 ports on the back support network-attached storage and a shared printer.
We noticed in our brief tests that the AC 1200 was much slower than other 11ac routers at writing large files and small files to an attached USB hard drive. It was also pretty slow at reading those files from the attached drive.
The AC 1200 provides a DLNA-compliant media server, parental controls (Norton branded) that let you block access to unseemly websites, and a rudimentary quality-of-service engine that Belkin dubs Intellistream. There are no manual settings for this, and it didn't work too well in our tests.
The AC 1200 delivered disappointing performance at close range, being even slower than the D-Link DIR-865L. It matched that router at 10m on 2.4GHz, but outstripped it and matched other rivals at this distance on 5GHz. Testing 802.11ac throughput was disappointing though, as it couldn't even break the 400Mbps barrier.
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