Your household is busy streaming media, working online, and playing games every day. This Linksys Wi-Fi Router will expand your network coverage, send signals directly to your devices, and deliver a lag-free connection, even when you’re all online at the same time.
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Router In A League Of Its Own
Posted by: ryanmcv from: Phoenix, AZ on
With dozens of Wi-Fi enabled devices in my home, I've long been searching for a router that can deliver maximum speeds to all devices with no interference. Having used mid-range ($150-$200) routers for the past several years, I thought I had reached the peak of Wi-Fi performance in my home. I've always been very skeptical of high-end ($300+) routers -- Can a tri-band router really make that much of a difference? As it turns out, yes it can -- especially if you have tons of devices and/or live in a dense housing development. Here's my take:
Setup and management:
- This thing is BIG, but it looks pretty cool. Eight antennas come pre-installed -- you simply flip them up-right.
- The Linksys EA9500 is a breeze to setup. If you're feeling super lazy, you can pretty much plug in the router, connect your cable or DSL modem, and be done with it. The router comes with a pre-set network name and password, which is printed on the bottom of the device. However, most people will want to customize these settings (along with a few others). This can be done easily by navigating to 192.168.1.1 in your web browser or by creating an account at the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi website. Creating this account allows you to manage your router's settings from anywhere in the world.
- The setup/administration interface is somewhat elementary, but it gets the job done. The Network Map feature is great to visualize all of the devices connected to the network and determine which of the three bands they are connected to (2.4GHz, 5GHz, or 5GHz). You can also set parental controls to limit the amount of time specific devices can access the Internet. Other options include security settings, guest access, and settings for external storage.
Performance and Features:
- The defining feature of the EA9500 is the inclusion of an additional 5GHz wireless band. Using a technology that Linksys calls "Smart Connect," the router intelligently assigns devices to one of the two 5GHz Wi-Fi bands for higher performance. The router will “steer” devices to the optimum band, effectively telling devices to disconnect and reconnect to the other radio within the 5GHz band as needed. This process is seamless and ensures that neither of the two 5GHz bands becomes congested. With 5GHz-enabled devices ('N' and 'AC') becoming the norm, a tri-band router like this will give you ample room to grow.
- When connecting via 5GHz, I consistently max out my Internet download and upload speeds (130 mbps/15 mbps). Transferring files between two 802.11ac-equipped laptops on the network is astonishingly fast: I clocked one of the local transfers at nearly 450 mbps.
- Performance on the 2.4GHz band is acceptable, but pales in comparison to 5GHz. Speeds fluctuate greatly and I struggled to reach more than 100 mbps on most tests. I think this is more a limitation of the 2.4GHz band than it is of the router itself.
- Wireless range is excellent. I only have a 1,200 sq. ft. apartment, but I receive a full signal anywhere I go.
- My favorite feature is the external storage capability. I plugged in a 3 TB external hard drive and stream video files to my Apple TV with zero stuttering or buffering. You can even enable an FTP feature to access an external hard drive from anywhere with an Internet connection.
I was skeptical of this ultra-premium router, but I think I've finally found "the one." The performance and feature set of the EA9500 are truly top-of-the-line, especially if you have tons of devices equipped with 802.11n or 802.11ac that can take advantage of the two 5GHz bands. The remote management and external storage features enable you to create your own personal "cloud." If you want the best possible WI-FI performance in your home, don't be put off by the price tag. The EA9500 looks to provide stellar performance for years to come.
28 out of 29 found this review helpful.
A Beast of a Home/Small Business Router!
Posted by: ITJim from: on
This is by far the most macho networking device I think I have ever had the privilege to integrate into my home network. To give you some context, my home network consists of multiple phones and tablets, laptops, desktops, two TVs, two network enabled audio receivers, an Xbox, Wii U, multiple 1GB network switches, a network area storage device, multiple smart BD players, guests that come over to borrow my bandwidth from time to time, and a bunch of other stuff that I’m probably forgetting about. My home isn’t quite a “smart home” yet but with the Internet of Things taking hold it won’t be long before we all will be investing in beefier networking equipment to keep everything connected. That is where the Linksys EA9500 AMX-Steam comes in.
Before I go much further I was asked to give an honest review of this product by BB and I’m going to do just that. Physically, this device is massive. It is the largest piece of networking equipment I’ve seen for the Home/Small Office space. I’ve had a lot of home networking products over the years and this one wins on weight and size. The antennas are industrial looking and strangely attractive as far as antennas go. Be sure to pick a roomy, stable location for this device. The box had plenty of packing to protect it during shipping. My device arrived in a box that looked like it was kicked a few times and then run over. But the device and its contents didn’t have a scratch.
The initial setup process was fairly easy and straight forward. If you are part of the set and forget crowd, then simply follow the four-page quick setup guide that comes with the device and you’ll be up and running in about five minutes. For once the marketing matches the experience. However, if you want to dive deeper into your router for a more custom installation then you are looking at 30 minutes minimum setup time. I am impressed with the amount of work Linksys put into consumerizing the graphical user interfaces. It is fairly straight forward and accessible for a network device. I used the quick setup feature first and then did a deep dive into the advanced features. My network is fairly complex with a few older pieces of tech that simply would not work without some additional customization.
Setting up my wireless devices was very easy. I gave each network a name, set the password, and then added the information into each one of my wireless devices. I did have one challenge with a Samsung TV. The TV was incapable of speaking to an 802.11n that also leverage the 80hz band. I don’t know why since the router should have stepped the frequency down to accommodate the TV. The solution was to split the 5Ghz networks in two, assign one to a 40hz band, and then assign the TV to that WI-FI network. The other network was set to 802.11ac with an 80hz band for future technology. Maybe some future firmware update will address this issue.
My wired devices were easier. I have a pre-existing 8-port 1GB switch that most of my network runs through. My old router had a 1GB switch built in, however, it didn’t have enough ports to support my network. It was also a poorly performing switch. The separate switch removed the network load to behind the router so that the router could focus on internet and wireless communications. This setup served me well for over a year. The EA9500 comes with a built in 8 port GB Switch. Since Linksys chose to brag about how much of a beast this router is I chose to challenge their marketing gods. For my test I used a music library containing 43GB of uncompressed FLAC formatted music. To put this into context, a 3 minutes MP3 is about 7mb. A 3 minutes uncompressed FLAC music file is about 100MB. In find the larger files easier to monitor and measure. I chose to move the folder over the wireless and the wired networks using the router for all wireless communications. I started with the wired devices.
All devices performed admirably and in line with what I was expecting. At 10/100 speeds I was pushing 98mbs or roughly 11.3 MB/s. At 10/100/1000 speeds I was pushing 800mbs or roughly 92 MB/s. This is from source to my computer. To confirm my results, I hooked my 10/100/1000 network switch up (no router this time) and ran the same tests. I got the same results. The end result is I retired network switch and am using the router in its place. One less network hop on my network should improve performance slightly and now there is one less device that I need to manage. Win/win!
Performing this same test with my wireless network I found that my 802.11g 2.4gz connection was maxed out at 98mbs. That is better than the 56mbs 802.11g specification at this frequency. I also have several 802.11n devices on my network that range in top speeds from 300mbs to 450mbs. Both tests came in about half of the max specification. One thing to keep in mind is that network speed is governed by the slowest connection. In general, I have found that the 5ghz frequencies are not as consistent as the lower 2.4ghz frequencies in both distance and reliability and is completely dependent on location. The location for my router is in the worst possible place for my home; the basement. For these tests I was in direct line of site of the router but there is a lot of stuff in the basement that can generate interference such as electrical wires, my furnace, copper pipes that pick and absorb RF, concrete walls, the floor above, and boxes full of stuff that will often degrade and block signals. My disclaimer is that your personal experience may be much different from mine. Over all though I am happy with the results because the performance is already better than the router the EA9500 replaced.
I could not test the 802.11ac performance. I do not currently own any devices, other than the router, that are compatible with the 802.11ac specification.
One feature that is a head scratcher is the LED screen on the top of the EA9500. I haven’t figured out why Linksys wasted its time or treasure on this feature. It displays their logo and a bunch of white bars. When the router boots up the white bars are accompanied by some little blue bars. And that’s it! It’s pretty, but other than that it doesn’t server any purpose. The router does have a feature that allows the lights on the router to be turned off. I chose to turn this feature off. No sense in wasting electricity on a useless function.
There is a novel network map in the router’s interface. It is nice to see all of the active devices on the network. However, I would have loved to see a bandwidth meter of some kind showing how much bandwidth each device was eating up. This way I could tell who, or what, was killing my connection to my favorite game. On my old router I could tell at a glance if more than one person was streaming video or music. It may seem like a silly feature but it does come in handy. Once you’ve had it with other products you learn to rely upon it for valuable information about your network behavior. It can also help in finding trouble spots on your network.
Some of you are probably asking if you can stream movies and play games with the EA9500. I have a 15mb downstream connection and 1mb upstream connection. Definitely not the best. I streamed a Netflix movie on my computer, another Netflix movie on my tablet, a constant stream of full screen video from YouTube to my laptop, Pandora to my home theater receiver, put the wife on Facebook with her laptop, and then loaded up my favorite 24 player, multiplayer video game. The game showed a few moments where my ping was over 200ms but for the most part it was steady at 50ms. 50ms is average latency when this same game is the only traffic on my network. Under my own router the above scenario would net me a 400ms to 900ms latency. In the world of online gaming this is huge and is often the difference between a great game and terrible experience. The EA9500 did an excellent job of managing the network traffic and available bandwidth.
Final thoughts. Can I run a sophisticated, Internet of Things, home of the future with this thing? Yes. Can I operate that fancy new Samsung, uh Android, uh cool refrigerator that Best Buy sells? Without a doubt. Can I setup and satisfy the needs of a small office with this? I work from home a lot and do video conferencing, Voice over IP, remote server connection, and remote collaboration with my colleagues via a secure, encrypted VPN connection. So, yes! Do you need this? If you are a power user like me, have a family with high bandwidth demands, or have an eye towards future proofing your technologically advanced lifestyle then yes, I think you are the target audience for this device. If you have a small office with limited space, then this device will also fulfill your needs. If you live in a one-bedroom apartment with a laptop and a cell phone then no, this product is definitely overkill for you. You can get away with a smaller, less powerful model.
I went into this product skeptical that it was more snake oil marketing fantasy and came away a believer that this product is what it claims to be. It will be interesting to see what others have to say about. My experience thus far has been very positive and will recommend this for anyone who has a big home, small office with a few employees, or high bandwidth demands and a lot of old and new wireless technology that needs to coexist.
15 out of 15 found this review helpful.
Heads-up, the size is huge
Posted by: TforTiger from: on
Linksys EA9500 is a super duper router. It has a lot of non-removable antennas attached to the router and the size of this router is huge. It is not the size of our regular day to day home router, it is a 12" X 12" extra large size router. So, it is a heads-up if you don't have a big space for your existing router that you are planing to replace. You will need to make space for it.
I was a little intimidated to set this router up at my house, because I am not a network IT guy. I am just a regular dude who can only follow simple instructions. When I looked at this enterprise-grade router, I was a little worry that I am going to have a hard time. But, there is a paper in the box for easy setup instruction saying just unplug your existing router connection and plug the EA9500 to replace it. I tried that and that was it. It was up and running after some time of warming up and rebooting. Followed the Linksys Smart Wifi Router setup instruction using web browser on my laptop and all of my devices were all connected without issue. It was a relief and good that simple setup is actually simple.
The EA9500 has many bells and whistles. I can go "all-in" to set up multiple networks for each different kind of devices we have and set up different passwords for each layer of my network or I can opt for a simple route and don't bother with all the extras. I chose the simple way and I personally enjoyed the speed of this router and how it can handle a lot of Internet connections of many devices at the same time. My family has at least 15 internet devices (multiple laptops, smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, game consoles) in the house and easily half of them are connect to the Internet and working actively. My old router will occasionally drop some of my family's devices off the network or slow some of them down since it can not handle all of the connections at the same time. After I installed the EA9500, I don't hear any complaint from any of my family members. So, no news is good news.
The actual speed of my internet isn't really improving because it can go as fast as the speed I pay for from our Internet service provider. The advantage here is it won't go slower as multiple devices are online at the same time. EA9500 offers many advance customizations, settings and layers of security features for the user's liking. I like the simple setup option for now, but will try all those advance features when deem it is necessary. Also, the 3-year warranty and 3-year tech support is a very good peace of mind that Linksys will have my back if there is any wrong with it.
9 out of 9 found this review helpful.
Posted by: mikeheel from: on
I have used a variety of wireless routers (Apple, Netgear, and Linksys) in recent years, and I'm pretty picky about them. But the Linksys EA9500 really stands out. This is a beast of a router. If you don't mind the price, I wholeheartedly recommend this router..
When I consider a new router these days, there are a few things that are really important to me:
1. Of course, the basics: reliability, speed, range, security features, guest network,etc.
2. Dual band
3. AC standard.
5. Beamforming (or similar) technology.
6. Print server capability
7. Reasonable port selection
The EA-9500 has all the basics in spades. Dual band? Even better; this is tri-band. AC? Yes, but not just 1900 (like the Linksys I replaced with this one); 5400. MU-MIMO? Yes. Beamforming? Yes. Print server? Yes. Ports? Plenty; one USB 2, one USB 3, and 8 ethernet ports.
After using this router for quite a bit on my 300Mbs cable connection, I am impressed. It never sputters or strains. We use a variety of devices: two different gaming consoles, multiple laptops (Windows and Mac), desktop computers, tablets (Windows and Mac), connected home devices (Nest and such), and a variety of cell phones. But we have not experienced a single blip in signal since installing the router, and the coverage is phenomenal.
Setup is fairly typical for Linksys Smart WiFi devices, which I like in the current generation of devices (prior iterations of the portal were clumsy, but the current portal is relatively easy to use and gives lots of options for setup). One caution, when choosing your network name, it will also give your device this same name. You can change all the names later,. The network names are changed in the wireless settings, but the device name is changed via a dropdown menu in the top right of the screen (sadly, that took me a little while to find that particular menu).
However, if you've ever set up a wireless network, you'll find setup a breeze.
I have to admit, when I took this out of the box, it looked frighteningly huge. That's because it is huge. But it works beautifully. I am completely sold on this router and highly recommend it.
9 out of 9 found this review helpful.
Potential but not ready for prime time
Posted by: Pujones1 from: Sugar Land, TX on
I purchased this router to replace my Netgear X8 5300 AC router because I felt I wasn't getting the performance I wanted out of it. I was excited by the reviews so I took the plunge. I have an average of 12 devices connected to my network at any given time via WIFI and CAT6. I tested the speed results via speedtest.net on several of the devices wirelessly and wired from several different locations in the house. In my 3300 sqft home the signal strength was comparable to the Netgear X8 but the speed was 10 to 20% slower even while testing over wire. That part I really didn't understand. I decided that I would test it over the next few days but I had to remove it in a matter of hours because it really started to drop signals and the gamers in my home and the boss lady (who could care less about tech but just wants it work) complained to me so frequently that I had to stop what I was doing and connect the Netgear again. I updated the Linksys router as soon as I connected it so I was running the latest firmware. I loved that it had 8 ports on the router even if it didn't aggregate for my NAS but it just let me down. It's going back tomorrow.
14 out of 17 found this review helpful.
Best Tri-Band MI-MUMO AC5400 Router.
Posted by: Selva from: on
This is the first router introduced by Linksys in CES 2016 with MI-MUMO feature.
The setup was very easy and internet was up and running less than 5 mins.
I am extremely pleased with this purchase and router performance. I switched over from the Netgear R8500. I had some dead spots at my 2800 feet home and this router resolved all the issues. This is one the fastest router in the market delivering 1000mbps in 2.4 Ghz and it has 2 more 5Ghz and deliver upto 4.3Gbps. You can use one SSID for two of 5Ghz bands.
This router has many useful features. The most useful are beam forming, tri-band wireless and 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports. This is the first router with MI-MUMO feature which delivers maximum number of connections at the same time. Wi-Fi speeds are really quick and speed tests delivered more than 275mbps on Galaxy Note 5 phone. With wired connection the results are 360mbps download and 35mbps upload.
I have listed some of the features from this router
• Fastest speeds available up to 5.3Gbps
• Tri-band Wi-Fi delivers more Wi-Fi to more devices
• Efficient MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) technology** treats each of your devices as if each has its own dedicated router, ensuring everyone can enjoy Wi-Fi without interruption or buffering.
• 8 high performance antennas to amplify and maximize range
• 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports
• Linksys Smart Wi-Fi to control and monitor devices in home network.
It is one of the best and fastest router in the market with many great features. If you are looking for faster internet and longer Wi-Fi range, Please buy this router without any hesitation.
10 out of 11 found this review helpful.
Beast Router: Ridiculous Range!!!
Posted by: Dragonhunter281 from: on
The EA9500 Linksys router may just as well be the best router I have personally used. At its cost, however, it might be out of range for the average user, but let not deter you from considering all that it has to offer. Granted, if you have a large home and having a plethora of devices connected all at once is a necessity, then the EA9500 might just fit your needs. Speed is written all over this insane device. For me personally, the router was a life saver. Previously, the Wi-Fi in our home was horribly slow and inconsistent. It was so bad that even just one room over from where the old router was located, you would be lucky to even get a consistent strong signal. On the opposite side of the house, coverage was almost non-existent. Traditionally, I have always been skeptical at networking claims of improved speed or range as so many factors contribute to the overall experience. That all drastically changed with the EA9500.
From the minute you open the box, the size of the EA9500 and sheer weight of it screams quality. The size of the EA9500 will require a relatively large flat, sturdy surface to store this router. It is also quite heavy for a router, weighing around 3-4 pounds. Furthermore, the plastic chassis was constructed quite well. It did not feel too cheap. The eight antennas will need to be carefully moved to the upright position. Overall, they felt pretty flexible but I would strongly caution that once they are situated upright, they are left alone afterwards. On the back of the unit, there are eight Ethernet Gigabit ports, along with one labeled internet for your original source connection. Furthermore, one USB 3.0 and one 2.0 port are available for sharing various devices. It was also nice that the two USB ports support the NTFS file system for storage. HFS and FAT are also supported. In addition to the physical aspect of the EA9500, for wireless capabilities, it features a triple channel design that is split up by 2x5 GHZ channels and one regular 2.4 GHZ. The 4x4 MU-MIMO facilitates the use of multiple devices on your network. Thus, the EA9500 allows four data streams per band. In addition, setup was straightforward and I did not have any issues connecting the router. I connected the main internet cable from our PACE modem to the port labeled internet and then I connected my laptop to the first Ethernet port. I was able to access the Smart Wi-Fi website and connected using the included password. The main screen shows all the various devices connected and was fairly straightforward. One feature I personally liked was the ability to split the two 5 GHZ channels by disabling an option called band steering. As a personal preference, I liked to see where I am physically connected to, thus I chose to disable it. Overall, the web browser configuration will require you to tinker with it so you can familiarize yourself with it. It was quite simple.
The range of the EA9500 was perhaps the greatest improvement over our previous Wi-Fi setup. In our 2700 sq ft home, any room other than the study where the actual router was located received only three bars or less. Furthermore, latency and inconsistent drops plagued the whole house even in the study. In our TV room upstairs, which usually has a decent signal as it is directly above the study, I noticed our Sony BDP-S3500 bluray player kept bouncing connection strength anywhere from 20%-95% and kept spiking inconsistently up and down. Throughout the whole house, phones, tablets and laptops displayed similar behavior. Our speed test in my upstairs bedroom showed 13 MBPS download and around 34ms in latency. Immediately repeating the same test, I barely received 5 MBPS and a spike in latency over 150ms. The EA9500 was then connected and night and day does not even scratch the surface of the improvement. Every single room is literally full Wi-Fi signal strength, and consistent speeds of 20-22 MBPS were noted in almost every single test I performed. In addition, I noted latency was around 24 ms or lower. Fortunately, in almost every test I performed, the results were nearly identical to the one before it regardless of location. The bluray player showed consistent 90-100% connection strength and rarely went below 98%. Furthermore, in the kitchen where previously WI-FI signal would be so poor that some devices would disconnect altogether, we now had full strength and consistent speeds as if we were directly in front of our EA9500. Lastly, in our backyard, where before I couldn't connect at all, I was able to pick up almost full signal on the 2.4 GHZ channel. On the 5 GHZ channel, I was expecting a much weaker signal since by default it does not reach as far as the 2.4 GHZ one. However, I was still able to pick it up and connect to even at poor range; ironically, it ran exponentially faster and consistent than even a full set of strength bars on our old router. Absolutely stunning! I am confident you would see similar range improvements as well. Furthermore, I would caution that while speed improvements may correlate with improved range, most speed improvements are influenced more heavily by ISPs and your particular speed. Thus, while you may see an increase in speed, do not expect it to be exponentially faster than what your ISP has you capped at. For us, the EA9500 brought consistency to our network, and we are finally receiving our correct speed that is listed in our service.
Another aspect of the EA9500 I would like to mention is its Max-Stream capabilities when paired with extenders; in my case, I had the pleasure of testing the RE7000. I would like to mention that when the range extender is connected to the EA9500, it automatically detected that my EA9500 was Max Stream ready and asked if I would like to enable the feature. Similarly, like the band steering I mentioned earlier, the range extender and the EA9500 are essentially merged under the same SSID, except here it's worth noting that it is obviously two physical devices as oppose to two channels. I want to strongly caution that your results will vary here depending on how you setup the range extender (i.e. wirelessly or as a wired access point), internet speed of your service, and the physical location of the router and extender. Nonetheless, the feature did work as intended and I noticed on the Smart Wi-Fi utility home page the RE7000 was listed with Max Stream enabled.
The EA9500 has pushed our network to a place I never thought possible by one device. No longer do we have inconsistent speeds, lag spikes, or stuttering on any device. The solid construction and premium feel to the router itself has made this an unbelievable experience. It has more than improved our range and we are now able to consistently access the internet anywhere in the house. Although the router itself does come at a cost, it has more than lived up to what it was designed to do. However, it is no secret that EA9500's target audience is firmly positioned for the enthusiast crowd or power users who want the absolute best. It absolutely performs like a top end product as its cost should indicate. Consequently, though, it is not for everyone and the majority would perhaps benefit by looking at cheaper alternatives. I strongly recommend the EA9500 and believe it is an exceptional product, but caution equally that cheaper routers do exist. In the end, if you still desire the best, the EA9500 may just serve you a satisfying full course of internet.
8 out of 8 found this review helpful.
Best MU-MIMO router I have used!
Posted by: jhancock from: on
This is the best router I have ever used (I have owned and have used over 20).
It was super easy to install. Unpacking and setup required less than 15 minutes. I read and followed the easily understandable instructions. I then configured the LINKSYS EA9500 MAX-STREAM™ AC5400 TRI-BAND WI-FI ROUTER using their Linksys Smart Wi-Fi software. I was able to prioritize my attached devices, allocating bandwidth where needed.
I now have faster and more consistent connections than ever before. I live in a very electronic “noisy” area with over 25 networks visible at any given point in time. The centrally located router reaches my entire location except for one dead spot. I corrected the dead spot by using a Linksys MaxStream RE7000-AC1900 Wall Plug-In Range Extender with MU-MIMO to obtain complete coverage.
Simple install, great build quality, great technical specs, great performance and great management software.
The Technical specs are cutting edge at this time.
This is what computing should be – “it just works!”
8 out of 8 found this review helpful.
Doesn't quite live up to the hype yet
Posted by: GrizzlyD from: on
Overview (Firmware 18.104.22.168212)
I very recently acquired the Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router as a replacement for my Netgear R6300v2 Smart WiFi Router AC1750 Dual Band device. I was quite happy with my Netgear, but an opportunity presented itself to give this new Linksys device a try. First, it should be noted that I am a happy Netgear fan. I’ve used Netgear equipment for years. The last time I owned a Linksys was prior to the Cisco purchase. Back then those devices would fail on me every 365 days like clockwork, and I’d replace it with another Linksys until one day I happened upon Netgear and I’ve been a happy user ever since with nearly zero fails in over a decade of using their products. That being said I decided to go into this with an open mind, especially since I didn’t have to pay the massive $400 price tag for this beast. I’ve been using the device for 4 days now, and here are my findings:
• Tri-Band is slick
o At first glance you think “oh big deal, it has 3 bands…why would I want to have 3 SSIDs in my household”. Well here is where I was pleasantly surprised. This device has a function called Smart Connect band steering where it essentially automatically moves devices from one 5GHz band or another without any user intervention, all on the same 5GHz SSID. This is fantastic!! However, I’ve yet to realize any real performance advantage to this. Theoretically this should increase performance though. I just don’t believe the average consumer taxes their Wi-Fi enough to realize it.
• 8+1 Port Gigabit Switch!
o Well it’s about time! I’ve had to use a Smart Switch and Router combo for years because vendors never bothered to put enough wired ports on these things. This saved me an extra power outlet!
• 8 External Antennas?
o Well in theory this is a major pro, but I’ve not seen the increase in range at all. I have a 3k Sq Ft 2-story home with this device installed in a rack on the second floor and it’s simply performing no different in terms of signal strength to my old Netgear device. Maybe I didn’t aim the antennas right?! At any rate, I expected better, but I’ll go ahead and drop this in a Pro column for now. I mean who doesn’t like 8 antennas?
• Smart Wi-Fi interface
o It’s pretty basic and easy to use, but the really nice thing about it is the simplistic interface. You can get in and get stuff done. On top of that remote management is a piece of cake with the smart phone app.
• Firmware Help menu isn’t useless
o This is yet another nod to the Firmware interface. The help isn’t completely useless, and it does a decent job of explaining settings and their purpose.
• Auto Channel detection works
o Well this is a nice feature! Saves you the time of having to walk around the house with a wireless device doing AirSnort trying to determine who’s doing what on what channel. This device just fires right up and picks the correct channel based on what it sees. Nice one!
• Network Map is somewhat handy
o The Network Map tool built-in to the Firmware isn’t too bad. I find it helpful to be able to look at a glance at what is connected. Not only that, but you can edit the names to make sense. Child’s Laptop, or Kindle rather than Android%Device#123. Good for simple housekeeping.
• Using custom DNS non-functional on DHCP lease
o I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I rely on OpenDNS. I find it performs better than that which is provided by my ISP. However, in this version of the firmware I find that I cannot get the DNS addresses I input to stick. When a client gets a DHCP address from the router it simply shows its DNS address as the routers address rather than the 3 OpenDNS addresses I input. WTF?! Interface bug maybe? I dunno but this sucks…Fix it Linksys! ...Fix it now!!
• Huge bug in Media Prioritization feature
o Well this should have been a selling point. The ability to do QoS for packets on specific devices. Sign me up! I’d love to have my 4K TV, my Shield Tablet, or my Ooma get priority on the line, but nooooooo! What I discovered was that this little feature is 1) very limited. You may only specify 3 devices to get Priorty…Well that sucks!! And 2) Turn this on and it immediately drops the bandwidth of all other devices in the house to 1/3rd of the usual rate. Turn it back off and you’re off to the races! WTH?! This is a silly bug to have made it into production. QoS shouldn’t neuter all other devices in favor of 3 devices...especially if those other devices aren’t even powered on at the time! Huge bug…Fix it now Linksys!! Seriously…Fix this!
• Massive size with no wall mount capability
o I dunno...I mean 8 Ethernet ports and 8 antennas…I guess it’s going to be slightly bigger than other routers. But dang!! This thing is the size of a small laptop and twice as thick as one. What’s worse?! There’s no wall mount bracket or holes on the back for mounting it. The only option is to sit it on a flat surface. Well that sucks! So right now it’s parked on top of an equipment rack enjoying a cool breeze from the rack fans. This is something I’d like to remedy at some point. I hate blocking my exhaust fans in my rack.
• Parental controls are useless
o Seriously?! What the heck is this? I can select a device to block Internet access Never, Always, or at Specific Times. Or I can also choose to black list specific sites. Well this is lame. It may not be pretty, but at least Netgear’s parental controls utilize OpenDNS and have some level customization to them. This is rubbish.
• App Center is barren wasteland
o I really don’t know what the purpose of this is. I mean maybe at some point they expect someone to write a Kodi server app or something so you can host apps on your router using the external storage, but right now it’s completely empty save a couple junk parental control type apps. And those apps only seem to appear from a mobile device using Smart Wi-Fi not within the router itself.
• Speed Test doesn’t work
o There’s a Speed Test widget built-in to the router Firmware, but I’ve no idea what it does or looks like because it won’t run in Chrome or FireFox. It throws some junk error about installing Adobe Flash 8.0 and let’s be real…I’m not going to do that, and pretty much all modern browsers have Flash APIs built-in. This should just work…Fix it Linksys!
• Firewall too basic
o For those that pay 400 large for this beast be prepared to be annoyed that you don’t get any finite control of the firewall. It’s either on or off. meh
• Logging far too basic
o I turned logging on for a few minutes. There were only entries in the about IPs attempting to connect or not. But nothing really about protocol or anything of any real value. So I turned it back off because who wants to waste CPU cycles on useless data. What would be ideal is a log of the sites being accessed externally from a given IP internally or even what protocols or types of attacks are being seen on the external IP.
I’d like to think I was pretty fair here. I tried my best to flush out as many Pros as Cons. In summary, this device so far doesn’t provide a whole lot of value add over my trusty old Netgear R6300v2 which sells for $150. Yeah this device has Tri-Band and Smart Connect optimization. I mean that sounds cool, but again I haven’t realized the true value of this. I have over 35 wireless devices on my network and nothing is performing any better or worse really from when I was using the older router. Even with 8 external antennas my signal strength is no better or worse than with my old router?! That’s odd. Of the two biggest wins here 1 is realized and the other is theoretical. 8 LAN ports is just AWESOME!! Tri-Band Smart Connect is cool, but does it really work?! /shrug
This device is 400 big ones! It should be spectacular, but I’m left feeling rather underwhelmed. I’ve never spent that kind of money on a consumer grade router, and likely never will. There’s some pretty serious bugs and imperfections in the firmware that need to be sorted out ASAP. If you’re a Linksys brand loyalist and need 8 LAN ports, then why not?! If you’re simply in the market for a new router your wallet might be better served holding out and snatching up a less expensive variant for the time being.
6 out of 6 found this review helpful.
Easy to Setup, Easier to Use Tri-Band Router
Posted by: BravoMan from: Sacramento, CA on
First and foremost, this router is BIG, bigger than any typical router that most people will buy for their use. But with this size, it provides a total of 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports to connect up to 8 devices to the router, one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port to connect external storage devices to share with the rest of your network, 8 antennas which can be adjusted in several different positions (which provides excellent range/coverage), and so forth. Of course with a router of this size, it can be difficult to find a good area to place it in while still being close to your Internet modem. The overall build quality of the device is great and what you would expect for something like this router.
The process of performing the initial setup to accessing the internet took about 20 minutes. From getting the router out of the box, adjusting the antennas, removing the protective film, and getting it in place with the various Ethernet cables and power. With this router, the antennas are already in place, so you don’t have to connect them to the router or anything like that. You just need to adjust them how you like it and they are ready to be used.
To finalize the setup, I accessed the router with the computer that was connected to it with an Ethernet cable and followed the prompts. There was about 7 or 8 prompts to go through and that was it, I was up and running with two different Wi-Fi networks (one for 2.4 GHz and one for the dual-band 5 Ghz). The only thing that I had to adjust after the setup had been completed was the name of the 5 GHz Wi-Fi network, as I was forced to just append the phrase “_5Ghz” to the 5 Ghz network name (the field with the name was greyed out), but I wanted to use something else for that network.
This router comes equipped with the ability to have a separate “Guest” network so that people visiting your home can access the Internet through your Wi-Fi, but are separated from your private network. You can also prioritize up to three devices utilizing the “Media Prioritization” configuration so that specific devices have a higher priority than others on the network. This is great for when you have multiple people accessing the Internet, playing online games, streaming videos/music, and so forth through this router at the same time.
Overall, this router is perfect for home use, especially if there is a lot of Internet connected devices in the household. Having a Tri-Band system that provides two 5 Ghz bands and one 2.4 Ghz band for Wi-Fi devices makes it convenient to have all sorts of devices connected to the Internet through one router. The range provided by this router is superb, so you don't have to worry about losing Internet access anywhere in your home. The online Control Panel is both easy to use and navigate so you’re able to make a change to any setting with just a few clicks of the mouse.
DISCLAIMER: I received this product at a discount in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.