Linksys - MAX-STREAM AC1900 Dual-Band Router with 4-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch - Black

Your household wants to play, stream and work online all at once. With this Linksys router, you can do it all without buffering or other interruptions. Use the Smart Wi-Fi app to get started, control, and monitor your home network from anywhere.

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    Overview

    What's Included


    • Linksys MAX-STREAM AC1900 Dual-Band Wireless Router with 4-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch
    • 3 Antennas
    • Ethernet Cable
    • Power Adapter
    • CD-ROM with Documentation Quick Start Guide

    Ratings & Reviews


    Overall Customer Rating:
    95% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (1976 out of 2093)

    Features


    Next-Gen AC Wi-Fi

    Enjoy online entertainment and complete home office tasks with data speeds of up to 1900 Mbps and a dual-band 2.4GHz/5.0GHz frequency.

    MU-MIMO technology

    Work and play online simultaneously. You won’t have to worry about slowdown or interference, even when multiple devices are in use.

    Beamforming technology

    Get clearer coverage. Targeted Wi-Fi signals will stream directly to each device.

    3 detachable antennas

    Expand your home network’s range. You’ll enjoy superior Wi-Fi coverage throughout a medium-sized house.

    Smart Wi-Fi app

    Monitor and manage your Wi-Fi network from anywhere, using your smartphone or tablet. Create a guest network, set up parental controls, and prioritize devices that need more speed.

    Built-in Ethernet and USB connections

    Connect computers, hard drives, printers, and more wired devices with 4 Gigabit LAN ports, 1 Gigabit WAN port, and 2 USB ports.

    WPA2-personal and WPA2-enterprise security

    With 64/128-bit WEP encryption to keep your information protected.

    System requirements

    Internet Explorer versions 8 and newer, Safari 5 (for Mac), Firefox 8, or Google Chrome.


    Customer rating

    4.6
    95%
    would recommend to a friend

    Pros

    Cons

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Great WiFi, with simple configuration options

      Posted
      emiliosic
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember
      • Top 500 ContributorTop 500 Contributor

      Interface: All the configuration was done via a web brower with a modern interface. There is a well organized network map widget that displays useful information about connected devices. The router will suggest you go through an assisted setup; or skip it and configure it manually. I tried manually first; and end up resetting and starting again with the assisted setup first; because the assisted setup provides better default options. Assisted Setup: - Note that assisted setup; which link sys calls ‘Smart Wi-Fi Setup’ won’t run unless the router is connected to the internet; so it’s best to connect it to the cable modem or an existing network first. Note that some cable modems need to be rebooted when changing routers in front of it. The link sys setup lets you ‘clone’ a MAC address of another device if you cannot reboot the cable modem. The first thing the setup does is to check for firmware updates. Then lets you configure both WiFi bands under the same name or select different names for each (i.e. homeNetwork or homeNetwork-5G). My preference is to set up both with the same name. Most AC capable devices will pick up the 5G network first and downgrade to 2.4Ghz as necessary. Linksys setup defaults to different names. There is no default admin password when using assisted setup (better security); so you’ll need to enter a new password for administering the router. If the assisted setup isn’t used; the default password is ‘admin’. At the end of the setup; the router will guide you to crearte a link sys account. This account (optional) can be used to access the router remotely (unless is in Access Point mode; see below). This is optional; and it’s in addition to the local user. This is also used by the mobile apps (iOS / Android). USB ports: There is one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 ports that can be used to shared storage (but not for printing). - Connect an external storage on USB ports and by default if’s open for windows shares with no password. Network Security: IPv4 and IPv6 SPI (Stageful Packet Inspection), IPv6 port filters, DMZ settings, IPv4 Port forwarding, triggers. Security concerns: - WPS is done through a button on the back of the router; or through its web interface; so you don’t need to walk to the router to pair a new device, if you have web access through another computer. - Firmware updates are not automatic in manual setup; but automatic updated are enabled if assisted setup is selected (Smart Wi-Fi). - Local management supports http and https but https is disabled by default. There is no way to load https certificates. - The default WiFi mode is WPA/WPA2 Personal. I can’t find a good reason for having the old WPA mode enabled. WPA2 is mandatory in WiFi devices in the past 10 years or so. Network: Local network: Allows to define a netmask so there is no pre-set limit of how many DHCP reservations it can handle. By default is only 50 devices when using a /24 mask (255.255.255.0); but can be set up to 155 devices when using this mask. For some reason; it leaves IPs 1-100 reserved. This is way better than other basic routers that don’t allow much flexibility; however the DHCP parameters are not configurable; except for external DNS servers (like Google DNS, OpenDNS or DynDNS). Configurable DHCP parameters are useful in some home offices with IP phones that sometimes need extra help booting. - Activity lights can be disabled; except for the power / status indicator; which is a bright white ‘Linksys” logo, and by far the brightest on the device. Advanced Network setup: Can toggle between NAT routing or RIP (but there is no way to disable RIP if NAT is not checked). It also supports static routes. QoS settings: Only allows three entries; that can be either a device, a range or ports; or defined applications (like Vonage, certain games, etc). This would give certain applications priority when competing for broadband access. I think it could be more comprehensive without making it more difficult but it’s sufficient for the most basic home applications. It’s ny no means required. Ethernet ports support VLAN tagging on ethernet WAN port and LAN ports 3 and 4; but it’s confusing on how it’s expected to work. There is nothing on the routing tab to define what to do with VLANs; so it looks like a hardcoded workaround for certain providers. Could not find a way to define different networks between VLANs nor any type of VLAN routing. VoIP: - It supports a SIP ALG. It’s either enabled or disabled. It’s disabled by default; which is probably good; since there is no documentation on what it does to SIP signaling, and no way of configuring ALG ports. Parental controls: - I was excited to test the advertised parental controls; but found them quite lacking: - It allows time of day settings per device (MAC Address) which is good; within a weekly schedule; in a nice chart interface to select the time ranges. - Then it allows a list of optional web sites to block; that’s it. It would be very easy for a teen to get around this very simplistic filter. - If you’re interested in some form of parental controls with this router, your best option would be to set MAC based time restrictions (if each restricted user has their own device), and set up a DNS based filter like OpenDNS for the whole household. Naming resolution: DDN Support: Dyn.com and NO-IP.com It supports bonjour but its name is hardcoded to ‘myrouter’. It does not match the UPnP / DLNA name; like any other service offered by the router. If the router is changed to Access Point mode; the hardcoded mDNS (Bonjour) name becomes ‘Linksys’ instead of ‘my router’. This seems like a double oversight. Network shares: It supports sharing via SMB (Windows shares) with local user names; and the workgroup advertised is ‘WORKGROUP’; which cannot be changed. It supports FTP but not SFTP nor WebDAV. This limits how data can be accessed; and offers no encrypted access. DLNA: It offers a DLNA media server, on the drives configured for network sharing. The only options are which folders are accessible through DLNA and selections on scan intervals. IoT: There is a setting to enable ‘AllJoyn Notifications’; which is disabled by default. There is no documentation on the router. What it is; as simply as possible; it’s a standardized gateway for IoT devices (like WeMo lamps; etc); which provides additional interfaces and security ( https://allseenalliance.org ). Access Point: Changing the router into an Access Point mode is an interesting process. It almost feels like a whole different firmware is running when in this mode: It’s done by changing the mode (Connection Type) on the WAN port; however; this setting is only available when logged in as the local admin user; it’s not possible to change it by using the Linksys account created during the initial setup; and there was no indication on the router’s interface about this. Once it’s in access point mode; it’s not possible to use any other additional feature; like the network map nor the USB ports; and it’s not possible to log in with mobile apps or remote access. Hardware: Remains rather cool; with plenty of ventilation. It has three removable external antennas; so it’s possible to replace them with high gain antennas. One gigabit WAN port and four gigabit WAN ports. One USB 3.0; one USB 2.0; power plug and a power switch!. It consumes between 5 and 6 watts. The power supply is a power brick type that is actually quite large (It takes what it amounts to four plugs on a power strip). The power supply is rated 100-240V; so it should be good for use in any country; with a plug adapter. WiFi Configuration: Very flexible configuration options. Allows automatic channel selection on both radios; or manual. Automatic channel selection is a nice feature on some newer routers that selects the least congested channels for each radio. This is the default mode. It has Network mode controls (i.e. which wireless protocols are allowed, like in most routers of this type) and supports Radius for WPA2 Enterprise; has MAC filters, and scheduler with hours and days of the week. As noted earlier; The security model enabled by default is WPA/WPA2 Personal. It would’ve been preferable to leave only WPA2 enabled by default. Wi-Fi performance: In my few days of using this product; Apple MBPs, iPhones, Amazon tablets, Surface Pro; etc all connected reliably. As a point of comparison, I’m also currently using older Apple routers (5th Gen ’N’) that are over three years old. I set up one Apple router next the Linksys, in a house that is two stories high plus basement; so set them on the basement; using different channels for 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz. Computers and tablets right above the router get about -20 dBm more with the Linksys than the older apple devices. Moving to the 2nd floor and on the opposite side of the house; the differences are not as pronounced. On 2.4 Ghz, the Linksys provides between -10 and -5 dBm more than the older devices. The newer radios in the Linksys should perform better when multiple devices are transmitting large amounts of data; yet I had no issues with either device with at least two Netflix streams and several other devices connected. I didn’t test performance outside the house; but this unit should reasonably be able to serve a medium size house with usable signal reaching outside the house; so I could replace the two 802.11N units at each side of the house with this; centrally located. Support: Tried to contact Belkin, d/b/a Linksys by email and I was surprised to find out I couldn’t open a support case by web or email. There are community forums, live chat, twitter support ?? or phone support (90 days complimentary); but no way to send them a detailed explanation on my questions. Phone support is nice; but email or web support would’ve facilitated more technical support exchanges that are simply not possible with current options.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great Router with slight solvable issues

      Posted
      Jsyschan
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember

      Please note that I received this router from Linksys in exchange for my honest feedback. Again, I received this router from Linksys in exchange for my feedback and review. Overview: The Linksys Max-Stream AC1900 EA7500 router is a dual-band Wi-Fi router, allowing operation at 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz represented as two separate Wi-Fi connections. It says on the back of the box that the 2.4 GHz channel can reach up to 600 Mbps whereas the 5.0 GHz channel can reach up to 1300 Mbps. Together, they can reach up to 1.9 Gbps combined. It's coverage is optimal for mid-sized households, and it can connect up to 12 devices without lag or buffering. It's dual-core CPU at 1.4 GHz allows for fast transfer speeds, and with the Smart Wi-Fi access, you can control your router from anywhere. I write this review today after spending some time setting up the router and running some tests with it. To be clear, I'm comparing this against my old VDSL router, which hosts 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity at the 2.4 GHz band. The equipment inside the box includes the router, AC adapter, three antennas, a very short Ethernet Cable, a CD-rom, and a quickstart guide. Setup: For the initial setup, it really was rather simple. I just disconnected my old router, attached the antennas, turned on the power, and plugged in the internet cable. Following the instructions for the smart-WIFI setup, it was easy to open my browser and set up the admin password. The physical properties of the router were a great leap forward compared to my old router, given that the AC1900 has three antennas and an actual off switch. I am glad that it has a switch. My old router lacked one. This was the first time I set up my own network, and the experience wasn't nerve-wracking. The antennas were easy to attach, though when I tried to adjust the black part, the terminal that attaches to the router twisted loose as well, so I had to twist it back in tightly. Make sure they're securely fastened before adjusting the black antennas. The CD-rom does not contain software. Rather, it holds only PDFs of the user guide and other important legal information such as warranty. The user guide just gives an overview of the router, basics of setting up, how to use the Smart Wi-Fi, and basic troubleshooting. It doesn’t go in depth into the hardware specifics, but it does come in dozens of languages from Russian to Chinese, which is nice. LinkSys Smart WiFi Dashboard: Viewing the Smart WiFi dashboard was rather interesting. I can get there by following the instructions in the quickstart guide by going to LinksysSmartWiFi.com or by typing in the IP address. After I configured my router, I was able to get on to the dashboard, and I was amazed at the various features. The dashboard allowed me to view the devices connected to the router and their relative signal strength for each channel. I really liked how the options allowed me to do lots of stuff with the router, such as prioritizing devices, adding external storage for sharing amongst the devices connected to the router, parental controls, etc. There are so many features here, and it's hard to list them all. I especially like how you can fine-tune each Wi-Fi connection to allow only a specific Wi-Fi protocol, specify a specific channel frequency, and increase the channel bandwidth. One issue I have is with the Smart Home Wi-Fi dashboard's speedtest. I couldn't get it to work. It says that it requires Adobe Flash 8, and I have Adobe Flash Player 21 enabled in my browser. However, it couldn't detect it even with two different browsers. Nevertheless, this wasn't a big deal to me. Another issue is that I need to be connected to the internet to access the dashboard to adjust my router settings, whether wireless or not. Luckily, when I try to access the dashboard, I can either log in with my Linksys Smart Wi-Fi account or I can access my router using the password I set up. This is helpful in trying to change settings to one or many devices. Testing: I tested this router by running a speedtest using Ookla at various locations in my house and using an app on my phone to check the signal strength for connectivity issues. Range wise, at the far end of my house, I was approaching around -70 dBm at 2.4 GHz and -80 to -83 dBM at the 5.0 GHz channel. Using Ookla Speedtest, the results varied, but I managed to get around a 1.3x to 5.5x speedup compared to my old router. This test wasn't the most accurate, but it did show that the new router was better. On the 5.0 GHz channel, I got up to 47 Mbps, so that was very surprising. However, I was surprised to learn that the speedtest through one of the Ethernet ports was slower than my old router. I was getting up to 19.76 Mbps whereas with my old router, I got 49 Mbps for download rates. My family uses only Wi-Fi, due to the router placement, so this isn't a big issue. However, as time went by, I found some quirks with it that I would like to address. While the 5 GHz channel is very fast, it's important that you take the time to figure out what hardware is compatible with 5 GHz. I thought my family's game system would be able to connect to the 5 GHz channel, but it wasn't rated for it. In another instance, Chromecast uses 802.11n at 2.4 GHz only, which forced my devices to also be on the same 2.4 GHz channel for it to work. Be sure to understand what channel each device uses. It would help if there was a guide on the CD-ROM explaining the different Wi-Fi protocols and how to determine what your device has. The next issue is the range of the signals. I had to do some research due to my unfamiliarity of the difference between the two frequencies to learn that 5 GHz is rated for a shorter distance than 2.4 GHz. Having the router placed on the first floor of the house caused some issues to happen at rooms on the second floor. My family’s Wi-Fi devices worked fine at 2.4 GHz. They claimed that the new router lets them have speeds just as fast as 4G-LTE, which was a big improvement over my old router. However, for me, being situated at approximately 60 feet from the router, I have connectivity issues. The 5.0 GHz channel is out of range, reaching at most 19 Mbps while the 2.4 GHz channel reaches at best 104 Mbps and 54 Mbps on average. As I tried to browse the internet on the 2.4 GHz channel, some web pages wouldn't load like Yahoo and Google. I found that performing a reboot on the router made the connection better, and I got a 9.06 Mbps download speed which is a 3x improvement over my old router. I believe the lesson here is to reboot your router every time you make a change to your settings and when you first configure your router. This brings up my next issue: switching between the two channels. It's a bit confusing and troublesome, but when switching between channels, I have to disconnect from the old channel before switching to the new channel. Once I am not connected via Wi-Fi to any channel, I can switch to the other channel. Normally, I would just double click on the channel SSID, but it can't switch automatically. Whenever I tried to do so, it just tells me that it can't connect. It's not a deal breaker, but it's something to be aware of. Final Thoughts: Overall, the router is a step-up from my family's old router. Having one band for 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz is good to have, though research must be done for each device’s Wi-Fi capabilities to get the most out of your router. The overall speedup shows that the router is much faster than my old one. However, be aware of range issues with the router, though the issue can hopefully be resolved by rebooting. I highly recommend this router for the average household as well as tech enthusiasts and first-time buyers. Once again, this is a reminder that I received this router from Linksys in exchange for my honest feedback of the product.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Powerful, Simple, & Reliable Wireless Performance

      Posted
      ryanmcv
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member
      • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

      Having used an Apple AirPort Extreme router for the past several years, I've come to expect simplicity and great performance from any router that approaches this price point. I was somewhat apprehensive when I ordered this Linksys router -- I didn't want to end up spending hours trying to setup my wireless network by drudging through some awful web interface. I wanted to just plug it in, set a network name and password, and be done with it. Surprisingly, that's what I got -- along with some killer performance and other great features. Here's my take: Setup and management: - The Linksys EA7500 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. 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 strength of the EA7500 is really on the 5GHz wireless band. Luckily, all of my devices support 802.11ac and can thus operate on the 5GHz band. When connecting via 5GHz, I consistently max out the speed of my Internet download speed (130 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. Final Thoughts: I was hesitant to leave behind my AirPort Extreme, but I'm so glad I did. The performance and feature set of the EA7500 are top-notch, especially if you have devices equipped with 802.11n or 802.11ac that can take advantage of the strong 5GHz signal. The remote management and external storage features enable you to create your own personal "cloud." To all of the die-hard Apple fans or those who are simply less than tech-savvy: Don't be scared -- you'll be pleasantly surprised, just like I was.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

      Great router for the regular home use

      Posted
      xKing
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member
      • Top 1000 ContributorTop 1000 Contributor

      It's a great little router for the average home use, it has a lot of features that normally found in the higher grade devices. Setup was extremely easy, basically you don't even need to set it up - plug it into the cable modem, power it on and connect to pre-defined wifi network! You'll need to access it's management interface to uncover it's full potential, there is a quick run thru it's features: Overall appearance - it's very well built, does not look or feel cheap - nice black plastic, adequate number of vents, enclosure does have a keyholes on the bottom for the wall mounting. There is a Linksys logo on the front panel that glows steady when everything is ok and flashes otherwise. All ports are on the back and there is an option in the menu to suppress all activity lights on the back so they won't bother you at night (it would be a nice touch if it would be possible to disable lights on schedule, put I guess I'm asking too much). Linksys logo will still glow though even activity lights are disabled. Included documentation - you'll get a printed quick start guide and a documentation CD with the very brief manual, I did not find it very useful, however online help in the management interface is very good, I would recommend looking at the online help if in doubt (it has a few quirks though and gives an impression like - don't touch anything unless you absolutely sure and called your ISP to verify :)). Router can be setup to function in multiple modes: as a regular "main" router, as a repeater to boost your existing WiFi network or as a bridge to connect to the existing WiFi and create a separate WiFi of it's own. Plus an access point (bridge) mode - router will turn into the "dumb" repeater - just adding a WiFi capability to your existing wired network. The primary use case will be as a "main" router of course. If you set it up like that - you have a wide variety of choices for your provider connection - regular DHCP, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP and fixed IP address, it has an ability to change it's ISP facing MAC address if your provider requires that. Once you get your devices to connect to this router - you'll be able to see the network "map" - a detailed look at your network showing all the connected devices, click on any device will give you an ability to look at the details, make a DHCP reservation, or setup a parental controls. Router also does support VLANs, just in case your provider uses different (tagged) VLANs for Internet and IP TV, ports 3 and 4 of the internal switch could be assigned for the special VLAN in that case. WiFi coverage - I'd say it's great for the small to average house, I had no problem at all in my small 2600 sq ft two story house and even in the backyard. My internet connection speed is 300/20 Mbit/s and devices on the second story had no problems getting the full 300Mbit/s bandwidth. Devices downstairs were showing about 200Mbit/s available to them which is more than enough. Router is capable of supporting 2 bands - 2.4GHz and 5GHz, you can name them the same or give different names if you like to do so, then point your fast devices to the 5GHz network and slow ones to 2.4GHz. Some more expensive tri-band routers will provide you with a seconds 5GHz network so you could set it up as 802.11ac only for extremely fast WiFi for the fast devices (laptops, for example). This router could only do 2 bands though. Both networks support WPA2-Personal and WPA2-Enterprise (which was surprising to find on this router, I was actually able to test it with my FreeRADIUS server and it worked flawlessly, normally WPA2-Enterprise is a feature on the higher grade devices). This router is also capable of creating a special isolated "guest" network which is not going to be encrypted, your guests will be presented with a web page to enter "guest" password (kinda like at the hotels, airports, also known as a "captive" mode). Parental controls - any device on your network could be limited by the access schedule (so you can make sure your kids don't spend more time online than they allowed to), plus you could setup a list of sites that are not allowed to be accessed from those devices. That web site list has to be setup one by one and I could not get it to recognize wildcards like let's say if I enter abcxyz.com - that website will get blocked no problem, but if I put something like abc*.com - that does not work. I wish Linksys gives that wildcarding capability and describes it in help better. Overall - not too bad, but could have done better (for example: setup a whitelist instead of the black list, OR setup a whitelist which is always allowed, graylist which is allowed only on certain times and blacklist which won't be allowed at all, just giving Linksys some ideas here :)). Media prioritization - if you have a slow internet access (and starting that download makes your Netflix buffer) - you can give some services a "priority" (little bit more bandwidth) which may be helpful. Router comes with a wide variety of pre-defined services/games or you could define your own range of ports. On-board USB ports, this router features one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port, so you could plug in your non-networked USB printer and/or a hard drive and share them for your network. USB ports can NOT be used for the 3G/4G/LTE dongle as a backup Internet line. Security features - this router has a standard packet - DMZ support, port forwarding, port triggering, UPnP support. I would like to mention that your typical home network is always behind the NAT so it's not accessible from the outside Internet unless you setup port forwarding so you don't have to worry about outside attacks. Looking thru the settings on the security panel made me look into the help, for example I would not have guessed that "Filter anonymous Internet requests" flag really makes this router to ignore incoming ping requests, I wish Linksys named it more self-explanatory (like "Ignore incoming Ping requests"). Troubleshooting and logging - router's management interface gives you an ability to send ping probes, use traceroute, backup and restore it's configuration and also e-mail your configuration to Linksys support just in case you are having problems. Logging is where it falls short a little bit in my opinion. All I was able to get was the list of IP addresses my devices accessed and service name. Like 10.0.1.10 accesses 1.2.3.4 for www. Plus some DHCP packet states. Router was not able to inform me about the failed WiFi access attempts (like invalid WiFi password used or invalid WiFi guest network password used, or parental control triggered). I want to see if my kids are trying to get to something they are not supposed to! There were also nothing on router's internal health, nothing like send logs to syslog, etc. I feel like all possible logs should be accessible to the end user for troubleshooting purposes. IPv6 - this router does support it, however it's a little bit raw, for example there is an ability to setup an IPv6 firewall rule to allow some traffic to your internal IPv6 network from the outside (for example to access your IP camera without setting up port forwarding), however there is no way of making sure that specific device will always be assigned with the specific IPv6 address (like DHCPv6 reservation). This technology is still pretty new so I'm hoping it will be improved/implemented in the future firmware updates. Other features - even though this router does not have VPN server on board - there is an app that lets you control your home network while you are away. It could be useful to see what is going on if someone at home complains about the internet access or stop your kid from going online :) My biggest problem with this router - is that in the "Bridge" mode it does not show any logs OR even network map. If I set it up as a simple WiFi bridge - I still would like to see my connected devices! It sounds like "Bridge" mode turns it into the pretty dumb access point. Conclusion: It's a great router for the average home user, strong WiFi performance, very fast processor and many features, yet simple setup makes it an ideal application. Remote access app (called Linksys Smart Wi-Fi) will definitely help in case you set this router up for your not so technology advanced friend or family member - you will have an ability to help them remotely. During the whole time I've tested this router - it never hung up on me or otherwise prompted for a reboot which is great. I do not tolerate unreliable network devices in my home. However - lack of the 2nd 5GHz band, on-board VPN server, backup Internet access via USB 3G dongle, poor logging capabilities - makes it not that attractive for the real tech person. Inability to show a network map in the bridge mode is kinda odd as well.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Solid router with good range and speed

      Posted
      CraigB
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member
      • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

      I am posting this review after about a week of use. If I find anything more significant after posting I will add it as a reply to my original post. Be sure to check there for additions. I needed to upgrade my WiFi because the internet service in my area was about to be upgraded to exceed the capacity of my current wireless N solution. This router seems as if it was marketed towards moderate power users as well as people with less technical skills who need an upgrade. Packaging is minimal the same as most routers today. It comes with a CD for documentation but it is not used for setup. This is a good thing because as an AC router most people upgrading to this would have newer devices, few of which have an optical drive. For the non-technical This is not very hard to set up. You plug power into the only spot it fits. There are three antennas that screw into very noticeable spots on the back. And the internet plug is clearly labeled. The instructions tell you what to do in a few steps to get the device to take care of the rest. It also has the wireless already set up if you are afraid to do it and even comes with a sticker with the information so you will know what the password is to get on the WiFi. It already has a guest WiFi too but there is a separate login so someone can’t just borrow your internet without you giving them the password. If you feel more comfortable there are apps for iPhones and Android phones to control the device. Speed and range are very good but if you can it is always recommended to install it as close to the center of your house and avoid metal. The router can pretty much take care of itself after that and it shouldn’t require any further work. For the technical people If you are looking for a device with tons of granular settings, this might not be the device. Of course the power users I am referring to would probably be better suited sticking with the WRT series. I doubt this device will ever see an aftermarket firmware. It attempts to have a clean interface but that means it will feel slower than a power user router for some settings changes as transitions and animations run their course. Setting changes that require a reboot happen nearly as fast as the fastest routers out there. Although the stock firmware attempts to look fancy and simple it still has a decent amount of settings for all but the most extreme power users. The antennas use a standard connection so if you wanted to upgrade to larger ones later that is possible. Hardwired speed has been very good. I’m just a casual gamer but this hasn’t slowed me down at all and I cannot tell the different hardwired from my old gaming router. Wireless speed is actually very good as well although I was never able to achieve the 1300Mbps link speed advertised even right next to the unit. I maxed out at 900Mbps and it is possible that is related to my AC devices. My old router would drop down to the 39Mpbs on the opposite side of my house whereas this one can maintain at least 177Mpbs and often more. So far during my ownership the stability of this device has reminded me of the old Linksys routers how even the cheap ones never locked up. I’m hoping it stays this way. If you want to change settings, you can do so the standard way most technical people do via the IP address or it has a built in URL. Thankfully it doesn’t require some odd application for initial setup. Unlike standard routers, this one is cloud connected when you choose so meaning remote access is passed via the cloud. It does support some dynamic DNS options but they seem more to push you towards connection via their cloud. Fortunately, this is optional except if you want to take advantage of the built in USB ports and access files remotely. I don’t have a spare drive to test right now so unfortunately I could not test the NAS performance. It does have a very basic QoS which allows you to set up to 3 services or devices as high priority but that’s pretty much it. It has some newer options but then oddly has more old services, such as Real Player and Rhapsody. Pros Large, replaceable antennas Great Range Reliable Gigabit Ports Fast Processor Status lights can be turned off Decent amount of features for all but the heavy power users Doesn’t require a special application for setup or CD Has USB ports for attaching a hard drive Offers automatic firmware upgrades to keep security up. Good for keeping non power users safe (Can be turned off) Documentation is thorough if you need help. You just click help on the top bar Major changes that require a restart are almost unnoticeable to users as it restarts fast Has WiFi secured by default and requires a password to be configured during setup. This is good if you are buying one for family and just want it secure without needing to help them. It even has a handy sticker with device specific WiFi passwords so someone can’t just look up a default WiFi password for the unit and borrow internet. Cons Interface tries too hard to be attractive slowing it down with animations Only supports 2 Dynamic DNS providers. QoS settings seem to cater to power users but offer little customization QoS rule changes require moving service or devices boxes around and the interface jumps quickly between sections. This often causes you to accidentally move something you didn’t intend to. Included “Apps” are of limited usefulness and only work on iOS and Android which leaves out anything Windows (No Windows 10 Universal Apps) and no Mac. No configuring your router with touch, like via a Surface, using a Windows App. Final Notes Higher end units near this price point I have owned have had large aluminum heatsinks to dissipate heat. This one has one very small heatsink. I suspect heat stress will be higher on this unit and might be why this case has such a large open cavity you can easily see straight through the vent holes. I suspect longevity will be lower but only time will tell. So the unit has not felt very warm so fingers crossed.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Impressive speeds at a reasonable price point

      Posted
      Batlacit
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® Elite MemberElite Member

      I'd previously used a Linksys router that I'd been very happy with right up until it died of overheating. It was a very good router for everything I needed, but had a very poor design as far as heat dispersal went. It left me a little cautious with the brand ever since, so I was not expecting to be quite so impressed with this one! First up, as you might imagine the first thing I was watching for with this thing was heat. I'm pleased to say that they obviously learned their lesson - the heat dispersal is vastly improved, and it's never gotten much more beyond "mildly warm" to the touch. The new case might not look as sleek as the previous designs, but it's far better in terms of performance. The downside though is that this also means it's substantially larger. This occupies about twice the footprint of my old Linksys, and about 50% more than the router that replaced it. I'm more than willing to put up with that for something that gives me a substantial performance boost without making it prone to suicide, but it is something you might want to consider if desk space is at a premium for you. Speaking of performance, WOW, the new AC standard is a step up in regards to speeds! Advertised rates go up to 1.3 gbps, but that's really just a measurement of burst speeds. In real world conditions you generally don't get anything near advertised rates, so once I'd set it up and made sure it was running cool I went and started running some benchmarks to see what I actually was getting. And it's very good indeed! On the 5ghz band I was easily maintaining speeds of about 900mbps. These routers really are to the point where they're comparable to a wired connection in terms of speed, and so far my attempts to get it to choke as far as reliability have been thwarted every time. The connection is fast and stable. Going a little deeper, the router maintains networks on both 2.4 and 5 ghz bands. I'm liking this feature more than I thought, as it lets me separate out my devices into the networks best suited for them to make sure that routing speeds aren't negatively affected by a few older devices. This is made very easy through the highly customizable and very accessible router interface, which lets you be as technical or simple as your skill level requires. Some of my favorite features here include a prioritization system which lets rank the three most important devices on your network in terms of bandwidth priority, which is great if you've got a network under heavy load from a dozen bandwidth hungry devices but really just want to watch Netflix, and the very clever feature which gives you a dimmer switch for the onboard lights for the router, even letting you turn them off entirely! Were I still living in a place where my router was located in my bedroom this might have almost been a deciding factor alone in choosing this router. The MuMIMO feature, of course, is a big selling point. I'm sorry to say I can't quite say for sure if it's all that it's made out to be based solely on my tests. Things were improved, yes, but not so much so that I can rule out the possibility that I'm just seeing the results of the higher bandwidth capacity. I give this feature a cautious thumbs up for now. It's probably not going to blow your mind on its own, but it certainly won't make your performance worse with multiple devices. There are really only a few nitpicks I can offer. While the case design is improved, there's still some niggling issues I noticed. First is the antennas. Like the rest of the router they're big, solid, and serviceable. But maybe a little too solid. There are pivot points allowing you to adjust the angle of the antennas for the best reception - but the resistance on them is pretty high. Higher, in fact, than the resistance of the screw holding them in their socket. The right antenna kept popping off on me when I was trying to make adjustments. Second is that all of the link lights and status indicators are on the rear panel of the router, making them pretty much impossible to see. I understand this was probably to cut down on light pollution, but if you're already adding a dimmer switch, why not put them somewhere where they'll be visible without having to lift up the router? And finally, there is the size issue. I don't think I've seen much in the way of small AC routers, and I think this is going to cause a lot of people some annoyance as we've all gotten used to being able to hide these things out of the way. There's really no hiding this thing. It's about the size of a lower end commercial grade access point. The performance you get in terms of speed over 802.11N is probably worth it in my view, but if you're looking for something you can hide behind a houseplant and don't have a lot of in-network traffic, you might want to stick with the N standard for now and wait for the AC tech to get a bit more mature.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Solid Router

      Posted
      aarondr
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® Elite Plus MemberElite Plus Member

      Overview: The device itself is quite quick. Linksys’s smart wifi software runs quite well, and the interface is snappy. I’ve found performance to be quite good, with some of the best speeds I’ve seen at short range (87MB/sec over SMB2 on my Mac). More on that later. Firmware wise, you’ll find the standard Smart WiFi interface. This interface is a far cry from the WRT-54G days of yesteryear. The last Linksys device I purchased was the E2000 back in the Cisco days, which sported an interface that was a slight update over the old 54G’s interface. Here we have a modern single page web app, with JQuery, Ajax, and -gasp- HTML5. The user experience is much better than other brands of consumer routers I’ve used. Hardware: Hardware wise, we have the 1.4GHz IPQ8064 from Qualcomm (sporting CPUs fit for a smartphone), 256MB of RAM with both 2.4 and 5GHz radios in a 3x3 antenna configuration (so N600Mbps, AC-1300Mbps respectively). Around back there are 5 gigabit ports (1 WAN, 4 LAN), 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, a WPS button, reset button, power switch, 12V power in, and 3 external antennas. Around front the glowing Linksys logo is the only status you get. It pulsates when booting, and is on pretty much all the time otherwise. One minor compliant is that the antennas don’t seem to tighten down easily, leaving them a bit floppy if you adjust them much. No real concern here once you get them positioned like you should. Features: I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of features, including a network map, guest network access, static DHCP reservations, VLAN setup, wireless schedules, external storage access via SMB (windows share), FTP, and DLNA. QoS appears to work well if that’s a need. Basic parental controls that allow blocking sites/internet access (including internet during certain hours – to keep that pre-teen from browsing the web on their tablet all night). These controls impressed me quite a bit with the granularity possible. IPV6 was front and center too, with decent support and firewall controls. I was disappointed that there was no VPN functionality. OpenVPN is becoming more and more common in enthusiast class routers, including Linksys’s own WRT series. Perhaps that feature is reserved for that series, but at this price point it would have been the icing on the cake. Performance: Quick note before going deeper in this section. I tested almost exclusively the 5GHz AC wireless. Honestly if you’re spending the money on this router, chances are you have devices that connect wirelessly through AC. If you’re primary use case is 2.4GHz this router is overkill. That said, I’m more interested in the AC performance because that’s what this router is all about and consequently that’s what I’ve tested. When I went to test performance, I used the Broadcom based wireless in my MacBook Pro 15”. I saw great pings and throughput at almost any distance in my home (including through 2 walls and a floor). I would peak my Comcast connection at 170 Mbps down/10up. Remember, this is the range limited 5GHz network I’m testing, in a 3200sqft home. Expect that this router can cover most homes sufficiently. This is great to see, and maxing out the Internet speed is most people’s concern. But of course, theoretically this router can deliver much more. To push the performance, I tested copying files to my home server (a Windows Home Server based NAS). I generally max out gigabit around 110MB/sec wired, so I was curious what sort of throughput I’d get wireless. Below are my results (taken about 10 ft near line of sight): Down: SMB2: 86.6MB/sec (693Mbps) down peak (around 60MB/sec avg) Up SMB2: 67.4MB/sec (540Mbps) up peak (around 50 MB/sec avg) At 30ft through 1 floor and 3 walls. Down: SMB2: 52.2 MB/sec (417Mbps) down avg Up: SMB2: 30.4 MB/sec (245Mbps) up avg Not to shabby real world performance. Sure AC should give us ‘gigabit’ wireless, but seeing about 700Mbps is exciting to see. AC Wireless is the true promise of high throughput at range and the EA7500 delivers. I also test the USB function using both SMB and FTP. FTP provided the best performance by far reaching near the maximum of the connection. Writing is slower me to believe that while reading/writing to a disk the device is CPU limited. SMB takes a lot more CPU which is why it’s slower. This might seem a bit unfortunate, but in the realm of embedded devices, even dedicated NAS hardware can be slower than this router when reading/writing to a USB drive. Seeing 75MB/sec over WiFi for a router’s NAS function for read is pretty impressive. Local Read/Write (USB 3.0 HDD direct to computer) 120 MB/sec / 85-120 MB/sec Network Read/Write (SMB) 21-30 MB/sec / 14-22 MB/sec Network Read/Write (FTP) 67-75MB/sec / 35MB/sec Support Linksys responded quite quickly to my request for the GPL source code. The firmware is available at http://www.linksys.com/us/support-article?articleNum=114663. I reached out to Linksys over various channels, and they got right back to me. It definitely seems like they are attune to their customers. Conclusion The EA7500 is a fast router, probably the fastest I’ve had the chance to use. It packs some pretty impressive hardware with great software to match. Almost every function has a nice polish to it, and the interface is snappy. WiFi performance is excellent even without MU-MIMO clients, and there’s a promise of even better performance with supported clients. The NAS function works wonderfully well for reading files over FTP, and sufficient for normal SMB/Windows share. This router does lack VPN, and does lack the promise of open source support like WRT models, but if those things don't matter to you, this router is a sweet piece of equipment.

      I would recommend this to a friend

    • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

      Great router for home usage

      Posted
      BillFromKC
      • Tech Insider NetworkTech Insider Network
      • My Best Buy® MemberMember
      • Top 250 ContributorTop 250 Contributor

      Disclaimer - I received this router from Best Buy in exchange for an honest review. The TL;DR synopsis: The Linksys EA7500 is definitely worth its price for what you get. On top of being a great dual-band wireless router with terrific range in both the 2.4 GHz (B, G, and N) and 5 GHz (A, N, and AC) bands, it’s also functional as a network file server, network printer server, and DLNA media server - just attach an external USB storage device and your USB printer that doesn’t support WiFi connectivity and you're ready to go. There are a couple of features that advanced users and those looking to put one (or many) in a small office may miss, and there could be a couple other features added to make life easier, but overall it’s a great router for the home. And the rest of the review: In terms of setup, it couldn’t be easier. The router walks you through the initial configuration, which includes setting a router hardware password. After the basic configuration is done and internet connection is verified, it does ask you to setup a Linksys Cloud account, which allows you to configure your router from anywhere, including disabling wifi (you’re welcome, parents; sorry kids). Keep in mind this cloud account is optional and only used for remote access to the router. From this point on, you can change advanced settings using either software provided from Linksys on your mobile devices, or the web interface on your computers. In terms of settings, you can change almost everything in the router that you’d want or need to - enable and disable file and media servers, security settings, IP ranges and connectivity modes to your internet provider, and more. The only setting I'd want to be able to change but I'm not able to is wifi signal output; the reason for this isn't to turn up the strength of the signal, but to turn it down so not every one of my neighbors sees my wireless network. When it came to testing wifi, it covered the entirety of my lawn (200’x200’) from just about anywhere in my house with the 2.4 GHz signal. The 5 GHz signal was nearly as good while located in my office but not as strong in my side yard (west side of the home) from the kitchen (east side of my home). In terms of receiving that signal, I was able to walk around 250’ away from my house before the 2.4 GHz connection between my iPhone and the router became unstable. Compared to my current router (Apple Time Capsule 3rd Gen), this triples the 5 GHz coverage and nearly doubles my 2.4 GHz coverage. With that wireless connectivity comes speed. It connects to Wireless AC devices at up to 1300 Mbits per second, Wireless N devices (2.4 and 5 GHz) at up to 600 Mbits per second, and is compatible to legacy A, B, and G devices; unlike some older routers, connecting a legacy device doesn't slow down the connection speed of newer devices. This is a great thing, especially for those with ultra high-speed connections (fiber and >250 Mbit cable internet) or that do a lot of streaming from a media server, especially with 4k resolution media. It’s also very stable. Testing while connected to Google Fiber didn’t cause this router to become warm. Considering that most routers I’ve owned or used over the years tended to become warm with heavy use, this is very reassuring. Transfer rates are also great - I was getting regular wired speed test results over 900 mbps and transferring large files over the internet at speeds close to what you’d see on a local network with Google Fiber. Being that the only wireless AC devices I had to test with were limited to the devices' own top wireless speeds, I can tell you that both phones pegged out their speed tests at 180 mbps each while running those tests simultaneously (Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6s). For connectivity on the router itself, it marks off the important checkboxes - USB 3 connection for a hard drive or flash drive, USB 2 for a printer or another flash or hard drive that doesn’t need to transfer data as fast, a gigabit ethernet connection to whatever your internet connection is brought into your home with, and a 4 port gigabit ethernet switch. The second USB port not being USB 3 is a little bit of a detriment if network printing is something you don't want to use this router for. It also doesn’t have an eSATA port like some higher-end routers do, but as fast as USB 3 is, you won’t miss that connection at all. Keep in mind this router supports hard drives and flash drives formatted as either FAT, NTFS (Windows), or HFS+ (Macintosh). exFAT and Linux file systems aren’t supported by this device. Network printing requires either Windows or Mac OS X (Lion 10.7 or later). Linux isn't supported and I didn't get a chance to see if the print server emulated established network printing standards. This router also won't act as an AirPrint server, so you won't be able to use your USB printer with your iOS device or Android device without either AirPrint server software on your computer or a printing solution for Android. One thing this router really has going for it is style. It’s something that will look good sitting out in the open, with sleek, smooth lines, and the Linksys logo being the only light on the front of the unit, glowing in white. While ultimately not as stylish as Apple AirPort or Google OnHub, it’s still a step above everything else on the market right now, including Linksys’ own WRT line, in terms of style, and it easily outperforms both the AirPort and OnHub. I do have to knock the firmware for the router for not supporting exFAT with external storage devices, the reason being that households with both Mac and Windows computers are more likely to have external hard drives and flash drives in this format due to larger file support and universal compatibility between the two OSes; exFAT is also a common file system for SD cards larger than 64 GB, used by Android phones. I also have to knock this router on the configuration pages; many advanced settings are buried. For those of you used to looking at Linksys configuration pages like what’s included in the WRT54G among others (what looks like a web page from the late 1990s or early 2000s), you’ll be disappointed, not because it’s easier on the eyes, but because the settings you’re used to seeing are two, sometimes 3 clicks deeper than they were in the older firmwares or just not there at all (such as the ability to set signal strength). For beginners or those looking for an easy to use router, however, you’ll be pleased that its basic settings are the only things shown and the interface is actually pretty easy to navigate in that regard. Overall, this really is a great router for home usage. It supports connectivity to a lot of things at once, it has incredible transfer rates, and it’s a quality product. Advanced users who want more control over their router may want to look at the step up from the model (the Linksys WRT series), but for 90% of everyone out there, this is a router that you’ll probably never outgrow.

      I would recommend this to a friend





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