The Best-Selling 802.11ac Routers By Brand In Q3

The New Standard

Industry veterans in the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard router market, such as Netgear and Asus, are losing significant market share to newcomers like Cradlepoint, according to new data from market researcher NPD Group.

Although still the market leader, Netgear dropped 16.6 percentage points year over year for the third quarter 2015, while Cradlepoint rose 20 points from the year before. The average price overall for 802.11ac routers decreased 3 percent, from $152 in the year-before quarter to $148 for Q3 2015, which ended Sept. 15.

Following are the top eight best-selling 802.11ac router brands through distribution in the third quarter, according to Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group, which provides data from leading technology distributors. NPD Group's DistributorTrack sales database comprises primarily U.S. Global Technology Distribution Council members.

8. D-Link

The Taiwan-based networking equipment manufacturer was ranked the eighth-best 802.11ac router brand, capturing 3.3 percent of the dollar share for the third quarter. D-Link shares increased slightly, by 1.4 points, for the quarter compared with the same quarter the year before.

D-Link recently released its AC3200 router with speeds of up to 1,300 Mbps on its 2.4GHz band and 600 Mbps on its two 5GHz bands. One key feature is SmartConnect, which monitors what devices are on the network and moves those devices to the appropriate band to maximize bandwidth for all devices. The company also has its VPN routing line, which includes advanced security and management features such as IEEE 802.11n, secure wireless access and 3G WAN redundancy.

7. Amped Wireless

Amped Wireless was the seventh-ranked 802.11ac router brand, owning 3.6 percent of the market in the third quarter. The Chino Hills, Calif.-based company increased its market share by 2.8 points for the quarter compared with the year-before quarter.

Amped plans to continue its momentum through its new touch-screen AC1750 Wi-Fi router with automatic firmware updates, signal coverage control and a 4-inch touch-screen interface, to name a few features. With speeds up to 450 Mbps for 2.4GHz and 1300 Mbps for 5GHz, the dual-band router includes four gigabit wired ports, 12 amplifiers, two internal high-gain antennas and one external high-gain antenna.

6. Asus

Asus dropped 14.2 points for the quarter year over year -- from 20.3 percent market share in Q3 2014 to 6.1 percent.

Although the Taiwan-based company dropped in market share, Asus has big plans: It has formed a partnership with Google to launch the Asus OnHub wireless router with a feature called "wave control." The feature allows a person to adjust Wi-Fi speeds by waving his or her hand over the top of the Asus OnHub. The product works with Google's Android as well as Apple's iOS.

In October, Asus unveiled its new RT-AC88U -- its first eight-port Wi-Fi router capable of delivering up to 2.1 Gbps on 5GHz and up to 1 Gbps on the 2.4GHz band at the same time.

5. TP-Link

The Shenzhen, China-based company took in 9.8 percent of the dollar share for the third quarter, up 7 points from the year before.

The company's Archer wireless gigabit routing line was a big success in the quarter. The Archer C7 AC1750 4Port 1300-Mbps dual-band was the fifth-most-sold product in the market for the quarter, while the Archer C9 AC1900 4Port 1300-Mbps 802.11ac dual-band finished in sixth place.

TP-Link recently launched Archer C2600, which offers speeds up to 1733 Mbps over the 5GHz band and up to 800 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

4. Linksys Group

Linksys significantly increases its dollar share by 8.9 points in the third quarter year over year, and now owns 11.5 percent of the market.

The WRT1900AC 1300-Mbps 4Port 802.11ac wireless router was at the center of the company's market jump, being the seventh-most-sold product in the quarter. Linksys has since launched an updated version, WRT1900ACS, which delivers improvements in wired, wireless and network storage performance over the WRT1900AC, according to the company.

Linksys, a division of Los Angeles-based Belkin International, recently unveiled two new additions to its line of Wi-Fi range extenders: the AC1200 Boost Ex and the AC750 Boost. The company said the new extenders help boost Wi-Fi signal bars in areas of the home where they are weak.

3. Apple

Apple captured 12.1 percent of the dollar share, capturing third place in the best-selling list for Q3 2015. Although Apple received the bronze, its shares are down 6.3 points compared with the year before.

Its leading product in the segment is its ME918LL/A AC1750 Airport Extreme Base Station 802.11ac, which was the third-highest-selling product in the space during the quarter. Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple says its AirPort Extreme product line includes a built-in firewall that protects data from malicious attacks as well as an intelligent beamforming antenna array that delivers a stronger, clearer signal.

Earlier this year, Apple revealed a partnership with global routing and switching leader Cisco to optimize Cisco networks for Apple iOS-based devices and apps while also working to create a better business integration between Cisco voice and video environments and the iPhone.

2. Cradlepoint

Fast-growing networking company Cradlepoint nabbed 20.2 percent of the dollar share in the third quarter, up 20 points from the year-before quarter -- representing the largest market increase on the list.

Its IBR1100LPE-VZ 3Port 3-G/4-G LTE 802.11ac wireless router was the industry's most successful product for the third quarter. Its comparable IBR1150LPE-VZ 802.11ac wireless router was also one of the top-10-selling products for quarter, coming in at No. 9.

The Boise, Idaho-based vendor's COR IBR1100 Series router is designed for mission-critical connectivity in challenging environments, such as in police cars. The company hopes to continue innovating in the area as the Internet of Things market emerges.

1. Netgear

The San Jose, Calif.-based market leader took home about 31.2 percent of the dollar share in the third quarter, down 16.6 points from the previous year. Although it represents the biggest market-share drop on the list, four out of the top 10 best-selling 802.11ac routers in the quarter came from Netgear.

The downfall wasn't the fault of the company's R7000-100PAS 4Port 802.11ac dual-band wireless router, which was the second-highest-selling product for the quarter. Netgear growth was also driven by three of its wireless router products, the R8000-100NAS Nighthawk X6 4Port 600-Mbps 802.11ac tri-band, its R6250-100NAS AC1600 4Port 802.11ac, and the R6100-100PAS R6100 4Port 300-Mbps 802.11n dual-band.

In October, Netgear introduced its new Nighthawk AC5300 Smart WiFi Router it says delivers Internet performance with speeds up to 5.3 Gbps -- a new record for the home router. The company is also hoping to capitalize on the emerging Internet of Things market. " We are committed to investing significant R&D dollars in order to bring more exciting products to the rapidly growing Smart Home market," said Netgear CEO Patrick Lo, during a recent earnings call.