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Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router EA6500 Review

The Linksys EA6500 Router is one of only a few ‘next-generation’ routers available today. We have previously tested the ASUS RT-AC66U router. Unfortunately we were unable to do any direct comparisons between the two as our Asus sample was returned to the company some time ago.

The user interface, or ‘Cisco Cloud Connect’ is fully featured and intuitive to use and while we did like the ASUS configuration pages, we feel the Linksys/Cisco approach has better features for most households. It is incredibly simple to set-up and use on a day-to-day basis. Cisco have even created mobile apps for both Android and iOS that make it very easy to change settings on-the-fly.

The design of the Linksys EA6500 is simple but clearly effective. I do personally prefer a router that rests vertically as it reduces the footprint. That said if space is an issue then this router can also be wall-mounted.

The addition of two USB 2.0 ports will be useful for most, but while we didn’t test them thoroughly the access times did seem to be slightly disappointing. This is the case with most routers … they certainly won’t replace a good gigabit enabled NAS.

In terms of the performance of this device, we were very impressed. The range is a vast improvement on any previous generation router, and within 10 metres of the router it is possible to get some exceptional speeds on the 5.0 GHz band between 500 Mbps and nearly 900 Mbps, while still providing up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.

Of course, our limiting factor was the Netgear A6200 USB dongle which seems to top out at 866.5 Mbps. Hopefully in the near future there will be a new USB dongle that can reach the theoretical maximum of 1300 Mbps and potentially rival Gigabit Ethernet.  However, this performance is very comparable with the ASUS RT-AC66U router we tested last November. There is more performance yet to be unleashed from both.

Overall, we were very impressed with this device. We like the simplicity and ease of access of the User Interface – the fact we were on the internet within minutes is ideal – but mostly, we love the performance. Couple this with the great features of the ‘Smart Wi-Fi’ and the Android and iOS apps and you have a brilliant router which will cope with the strains of all your media-loving devices.

The price point is also a little cheaper than that of the ASUS  RT-AC66U. The Linksys EA6500 can be purchased for £156 from dabs.com.

Pros

  • Blistering performance
  • Great Wireless range
  • Easy set-up and configuration
  • Useful app for mobile phones
  • Can cope with lots of devices simultaneously
  • Great price
  • Future-proof router

Cons

  • You have to upgrade USB dongles etc to get AC speeds
  • Not many devices (Laptops/tablets etc) can currently take advantage of these speeds

Kitguru says: A performance monster at a reasonable price point.
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Kitguru says: A future-proof router with more performance yet to be unleashed, ideal for households with lots of wireless devices.

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Rating: 9.0.

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