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Powerful, Simple, & Reliable Wireless PerformancePosted
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
Great Router with slight solvable issuesPosted
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
Solid router with good range and speedPosted
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
Impressive speeds at a reasonable price pointPosted
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
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 bac