Published on November 30th, 2014 | by Greg0
Linksys AC2400 E8350 Router: Powerful Hardware
Black Friday has come and gone, and Small Business Saturday is almost over. But still to come is Cyber Monday, the ideal time not only to shop online but to fix your internet woes. Upgrading your connection- changing ISPs or boosting your cable or DSL speeds- is one easy way. But adding a new router is probably going to make as large of a difference in your quality of service at home or work, since it handles every part of your traffic including the internal streaming and file transfers between computers. Especially if you’re using a “bundled” modem/router, you’ll find a huge benefit to a separate router- and your ISP might even be charging you for a rental, meaning you can save some money too.
The new Linksys AC2400 E8350 Wireless Router is a top-of-the-line, high-powered unit with impressive specs and four highly visible antennas that provide plenty of range. Boasting of some of the fastest processors in any consumer router, it’s got a dual-core 500MHz chip inside and a separate dual-core 1.4GHz, capable of supporting a full 1733Mbps on the 5GHz 802.11ac band and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. That’s where the AC2400 comes from, though like with all networking gear, you can’t expect to take full advantage of those speeds. USB 3.0 ports have become fairly common on routers to connect to printers or serve as storage adapters (just add a thumb drive)- but they’re still nice to have, and the extra and unusual USB 2.0/eSATA port was a bonus.
Still, our real-world tests showed that the E8350 is incredibly capable, even with dozens of devices and a full list of simultaneous transfers to Apple TVs, Android tablets, five or so smartphones, Roku boxes, and OSX and PC laptops. It was a better performer for Airplay than most competitors, and didn’t get too hot or need regular reboots like many others on the market. On the other hand, its software wasn’t quite as well-liked, with some writers commenting that it felt responsive but lacking in some features that you’d expect at this price point. For instance, instead of multiple guest networks, you’re limited to a single one on the slower 2.4GHz band. And it seemed like some security settings (including password requirements) were less-than-optimal, and a step backwards from some firmware that we’ve seen, despite the interface’s overall look and feel appearing identical to previous versions.
Ideal for HD streaming and serious gaming, it’s easy to appreciate the long-distance power that Linksys’ latest can provide- and you’ll be future-proof and ready for next-generation MU-MIMO technology (currently there aren’t any clients that support it but we expect some not long after CES early next year). We were able to reach a few hundred feet from the router with our MacBook Air, a new record. And though 2.4Ghz transfers were nothing to write home about, large file transfers on the 5Ghz band could exceed 100 Mbps, very solid numbers. We’ve seen many other wireless routers in the past, from Linksys among others- but this is the fastest one yet, with great adjustable antennas and exceedingly long range, plus features that we can’t even test yet. Add the cutting edge to your home network, and get the Linksys E8350 for only $199, online and in stores now.