Published on May 13th, 2017 | by Greg0
Linksys EA8300 AC2200: Three Bands At A Lower Price
Faster internet speeds haven’t always been able to keep up with all of the new devices that become part of our lives- if you’re like many people, you’ve added new smartphones, tablets, IP cameras, voice-controlled speakers, and even other appliances to the Internet of Things around your home or office. But with each great technological progress in your hand comes a need to support it with more bandwidth. And that means that you need to regularly upgrade your router.
Updating your home network is easy though, with wireless gear like the Linksys EA8300 AC2200 Tri-Band, part of their Max-Stream family. We checked out the top of the line last year, the Linksys EA9500, and still have it running smoothly in a commercial environment. More recently, we enjoyed the modular Belkin Velop trio of mesh routers, ideal for large spaces, across multiple floors. But their latest is perfect for smaller environments like apartments, a bit more compact in footprint, with four antennas (2×2), but still offering two 5GHz bands and a single 2.4GHz band to cover older devices.
Like most routers, there are four ethernet ports on the rear, along with a less-common USB 3.0 port that allows you to share files from a thumb drive or connect a printer. Inside is a pretty beefy quad-core 716MHz processor, capable of handling the MU-MIMO traffic. And while most of the feature set is fairly standard in this class, Linksys offers Seamless Roaming technology, allowing you to add additional access points and range extenders but allow supported devices to move between them without needing to change network names or connect to a new network. Creating a separate guest network is simple, and there are plenty of other advanced functions like QoS (traffic prioritization tools) and parental monitoring/management. In fact, you’ll probably want to look into customization a bit, since some of the options like band steering have trade-offs between mobile devices and PCs/consoles.
In terms of raw performance, this isn’t a true gaming router, but handled streaming media quite well and in real-world large-batch file transfers between desktop computers reached over 100 MBps, with peak rates on the 5GHz wireless band triple that under optimal conditions. We connected more than a dozen different devices to ours with no issues, and even briefly tested out the Alexa support (which basically can turn guest access on or off as well as read out your networking credentials). Available now, online and in stores, expect to spend around $199 for the Linksys EA8300, a decent deal on a mid-class router with plenty of bells and whistles.