What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

Linksys MAX-STREAM EA9500 Router Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
As we recently stated in the TP-Link Archer C3150 review, the home networking marketplace is in the midst of what is best described as a 'Megahertz War'. The reason for this ongoing battle is that two different mega-corporations have their own ideas regarding what the future of home wireless networking should look like... and neither vision includes the other's implementation. A lot of this tribal warfare is because the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association (IEEE-SA) - the organization responsible for releasing updates to the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard - moves at a downright glacial pace. So much so that the major manufacturers felt they had to go 'above and beyond' the standard in order to satisfy consumers voracious need for speed. We even saw glimpses of this in the Linksys EA7500 review.

As a result of this competition we are seeing a veritable performance explosion on the wireless front, with every major manufacturer of 802.11ac routers releasing models with undreamed of performance. Sadly, in order to get all this performance you have to choose a side, or potentially give up a lot of potential gains and settle for what the 802.11ac standard allows for. That is the downside, but what if consumers could give up some speed for better compatibility with their existing networks and yet still gain an incredible wireless network.

This is where the Linksys EA9500 AC5400-class router enters the equation. Unlike the recently reviewed TP-Link Archer C3150, this model is meant for the enthusiast and combines the latest Broadcom controller's capabilities with the best of their earlier generation. When we talk about this model's impressive capabilities what we mean is a 5GHz 802.11ac network capable of 2167Mbits/sec, and a 2.4GHz 802.11n network capable of 1000Mbits/sec. However, unlike the Archer C3150, the EA9500 also takes a page from older Broadcom models and offers a <i>third</i> network. While it can broadcast two 5Ghz 2167Mbit/s networks, few will care as it can also create <i>one</i> double-sized 5GHz 802.11ac network via what Broadcom calls XStream Technology. In basic terms, this combines two 2167Mbit/s networks into one massive 4334Mbit/s 5Ghz network. That is what we call a properly wide bus, and when you mix in eight external antennas, the EA9500 starts to resemble the older ASUS RT-AC3200... but on steroids!

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/intro.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>

So how is all this possible? It is all due to Broadcom's BCM47094 controller, which has boosted the QAM encoding from the standard 256-bit to a massive 1024-bits, uses massive 80Mhz channel bandwidths, <i>and</i> uses four spatial streams instead of the usual three. Now double the number of onboard controllers and that is precisely how it has two 5GHz networks capable of being combined into one ultra-high speed network. Of course, in order to make use of all this performance, consumers will need a network populated by wireless NICs capable of 80Mhz bandwidth channels and decoding/encoding 1024-bit QAM. Those are rather limited to say the least, but in the meantime it should be easy to obtain more realistic numbers as the dual network and 4x4 configuration does boost performance, just as the ASUS RT-AC3200 did. Overall, this $300+ Linksys EA9500 router looks like a big deal, and on paper it is everything the EA7500 was not.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/box_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


The packaging that houses the new Linksys EA9500 is best described as <i>massive</i>. We have literally seen motherboards ship in boxes. Beside from the increased box size, this is classic Linksys in that it is covered in all the EA9500 details anyone could ask for. It is also nice to see that the front has a large picture of the EA9500 so that prospective buyers will not be surprised by its unusual size. Before moving on, the front of the box also highlight's this router's three-year warranty, which is impressive and rather unusual in a marketplace filled with one and two year warranties.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/box_o_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


Opening up the box, you can see that Linksys has taken the time to attach all eight of the antennas to the router. All owners need do is remove it from its foam cocoon, plug in the power cable, twist the antennas into their upright position, and start the installation process. Brilliant stuff!

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/ang2_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


Of course, once we actually removed the EA9500 from its shipping container and took a closer look, the reason the antennas come pre-attached is that they are hard-wired to the router and thus are not upgradeable. In testing, these 'small' antennas did not hinder the overall performance, but we would have liked to have seen the ability to use even larger and more powerful aftermarket antennas.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/ang3_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


On the positive side, this router is drop dead gorgeous and the combination of a larger footprint and moderate-sized antennas actually makes this router rather easy on the eyes. To be perfectly candid, it is the most aesthetically pleasing 4x4 router we have seen to date and it will blend into a wide range of environments. This is rather refreshing as the industry seems to be in the midst of a bold and obtrusive phase filled with routers that are meant to be showpieces and standout from all the other electronics near them. The only down side is that this is a rather large router, and it will take up a lot more room that most. This router is also a horizontal only model, and it cannot easily be mounted to a wall. Instead, it is meant to be laid flat on a shelf, counter, or somewhere else with a lot of free space. Also somewhat unusual is that this router is also rather tall, it is nearly twice as tall as the EA7500 that we recently reviewed.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/bottom_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


As you can see on the top and bottom of the unit, another benefit to this large footprint is that the E9500 is downright breezy with all the ventilation built into it. All these little holes combined with the equally impressive internal heatsinks – more on this in a moment - easily kept the EA9500's four main processing units cool and comfortable.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/ang4_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


When we spun the EA9500 around and took a look at the back, we were equally impressed by the fact that this additional room has been put to very good use. Not only are the various ports and switches nicely spaced out, but the sheer number of options is amazing. Usually, home routers come with 4+1 RJ45 10/100/1000 ports, but this model bucks this minimalist trend and includes a grand total of <i>nine</i> ports in all!

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/back_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


Yes, eight LAN ports and one WAN port will make power users very happy with the freedom that these additional ports provide. Rounding out the included I/O options are a nicely-sized power switch, a USB 3.0 port, and a USB 2.0 port.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/side_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


Two 'missing' features from this rear I/O panel are a WPS button and a wireless LAN on/off switch. This is because Linksys has made the decision to move these two critical options to the side of the EA9500. This not only declutters the rear I/O, but makes reaching for these two features a lot easier. The only minor critique is that we do wish that both buttons were not the same shape, as it is easy to hit the wrong one, but since they are on the side you need not blindly grab for them like you would rear-mounted buttons.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/ang1_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


Before cracking open this rather impressive router, there is another feature worth noting. At first glance it does appear as if this router does not have a diagnostics LED panel. However, nothing could be further from the truth. On the top of the EA9500 is a dark plastic cover that protects three clusters of LEDs from harm. The center large white LEDs blink if there is an internet connection error (ie: a problem with the WAN or your ISP) and are off if the Wi-Fi is inactive. Above and below these white LEDs are a bank of blue LEDs. If a pair of these LEDs are on that means a MU-MIMO capable wireless device is connected to the router, but if only one is one that means a device is connected, but it is not MU-MIMO capable. This status array is not as good as a full blow diagnostics panel, but it still is very decent and well worth the tradeoff for eight LAN gigabit Ethernet ports.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/open1_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


The internals of the EA9500 are as impressive as the outside. Not only are the internals well laid out, but Linksys have actually taken the time to include an internal sub-chassis to increase the robustness of this router and to further increase the protective abilities of the EA9500's chassis. Basically, this internal frame further reduces the chances of something harming the internal PCB.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/open2_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


Having said that, this is only the tip of the iceberg. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and we can easily think of that many adjectives to describe the massive heatsinks that Linksys has used. In fact, this top-most heatsink is only one layer and the heatsink over the SoC actually hides the silver aluminum heatsink underneath it. Yes, they put a heatsink on a heatsink so that the heatsink can sink some heat while sinking some heat. Pimp My Ride mechanics have nothing on Linksys engineers! Bloody brilliant. Needless to say, while we would have loved to have seen an active cooling solution, this is easily the best, most robust, most impressive passive design we have seen on a networking device.
 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Setup and Installation

Setup and Installation


<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/1_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


Since the EA9500 is part of Linksys’ Smart Wi-Fi group of routers, it came as no surprise to see it follow the exact same installation process as that of the EA7500. To be precise, its installation is a truly straightforward and painless endeavor. Just plug in the router, attach the various cables, and type "linksyssmartwifi.com" or "192.168.1.1" into your web browser. The router will then walk you through a setup process which is almost completely automated, and requires very little user input. As an added bonus, this can be accomplished without plugging in an Ethernet cable as the EA9500 comes with a basic network preconfigured for the sole use of setup and installation.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/3_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


When the wizard is finished, you will be left with two fully functioning networks, and all that will be left to do is either start using your basic 802.11n and 802.11ac networks or customize the more advanced features. Those advanced features should only take a few moments of configuration time as Linksys has opted for their classic easy to use, easy to navigate and highly intuitive interface. We will get into the various features this router has to offer, but the list is rather long and detailed as would be expected from a $300 wireless device.

All told, the automated procedure will take a few minutes if the default passwords and SSID for 2.4GHz and dual 5GHz networks are used. Naturally, setting things up manually will take a bit longer if any customizations are made, but even then the installation wizard will walk you through it with very few hassles.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/4_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


If you so choose, you can also opt for a totally manual setup, but unlike the automated process this one does have a few quirks. In order to progress through the options, you really should have the router connected to your ISP as on the surface you cannot continue the manual installation without. Thankfully, Linksys has included a fail-safe / backup error page that if you read <i>carefully</i> will allow you to login and manually configure without first plugging it in… as long as you find the small hotlink buried in the warning. This is a nice upgrade from the EA7500, even if they do make it harder than it should be to manually configure the darn thing.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
EA9500 Router Interface

EA9500 Router Interface


Much like the setup and installation is refined and fairly painless affair so too is navigating the new Smart Wi-fi user interface. When you first open up your web browser and navigate to the EA9500's landing page you will be greeted with an interface that is best described as combination website / desktop. Much like a website there is a quick navigation vertical bar along the left side and the rest of the page is taken up with large “apps”. This double list of options gives you two ways to properly navigate the User Interface.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/5_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


The application icons are not only moveable but are entirely configurable as well. The basic layout of options covers most of the more popular options and selecting any one of them acts much like navigating to one of the sub-menus in the navigation bar, and running one of the “wizards”. If a given option is not needed, you can remove it, and if you mistakenly remove one you can easily restore it via the subsection. To do the latter all you need navigate to the given subsection and click on “Add App to Main Menu”.

With that said not every option can be pinned to the start screen and there were two very curious options that were obvious by their absence. For example, you cannot add in the connectivity / administration section as there is no App' for it to pin. The Troubleshooting subsection can’t be added either.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/6_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


If this new application navigation is not to your liking the menu list to the left can be used. For all intents and purposes this is a classical navigation option with the topmost menu being the Network Map section. When selected, the right portion of the screen changes to this subsection and a new network map section opens. In the Network Map section you can quickly and easily add a new device to the network.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/7_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


The next section is aptly named Guest Access and as the name suggests this is where to configure short term, and / or limited networks separate from the main 2.4 and 5.0GHz networks. As an added bonus there can be more 50 guests per guest network.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/8_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


The parental control tab is a fairly basic implementation of basic firewall designs. It allows users to block access to a few sites, or completely block Internet access during specific periods.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/9_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


The Media Prioritization page is Linksys's way of implementing Quality of Service (QoS). If there’s an absolute need to prioritize access for a certain application or game on a congested network this section is critical. While better than previous iterations Media Prioritization still feels a touch clunky and the interface will take time to work with. To use it, simply create a rule and then drag it to the list. When done you can reorder these rules any way you wish.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/10_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


External storage section is fairly self-explanatory since it allows for the configuration of any storage devices connected to the router. In a nut shell if you want to turn your expensive router into a basic NAS, FTP, or media server, this is where you will be spending some time. As with the EA7500 the options are fairly basic but you can get decent control over any USB device attached to the router.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/11_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


The oddly named Connectivity section is where you will find the basic router options, administration options, LAN, and even Internet connection settings. Once again Linksys has all the basics more than adequately covered and most consumers will be more than satisfied with what the EA9500 has to offer.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/14_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


The troubleshooting section is one of the better and more fully featured sections we have seen in a long while. Not only can you view the logs but you can even export them to another browser window. This in combination with a good set of troubleshooting tools really does make tracking down the occasional gremlin a lot easier. We honestly wish that all the other sections were as well thought-out and implemented as the Troubleshooting section.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/15_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


The Wireless section deals exclusively with configuration and viewing of any wireless network you have created. While not spectacular in its abilities, the included MAC address filtering and WPS options are more than adequate for all but the true networking enthusiast. Though to be honest, having WPS in this section and not the Network map is certainly odd, but every manufacture's UI has their own design quirks - and this just happens to be one of Linksys'.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/16_sm.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>


The last area is the Security section and as the name suggests it allows you to modify any of the various security related features this router has available. While some of these features do overlap with other sections, being able to quickly view and then modify them all in one location is certainly a time saver.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Testing Methodology

Testing Methodology


Testing wireless devices is not as easy as you might think. Yes, you can simply connect to it and push a bunch of files across the network while timing the transfer, but this only tells half the story and does not explain <i>why</i> speeds can vary. To obtain a clearer picture of how good – or bad – a networking device is, more is needed in the form of a multi-step testing approach.

The first step consists of accurately measuring signal strength. A good strong signal is a prerequisite of high performance wireless networking. If a device can barely send or receive a signal, the transfer rates will be very low as both devices will opt for a slower connection speed to compensate.

To test signal strength, we use inSSIDer, a program which can graph the signal strength of all wireless signals being received by the computer’s wireless NIC.

The second step consists of synthetic bandwidth testing to show the potential performance of a given wireless configuration. For this test, we have chosen the LAN Speed Test utility. This free program can measure both transmission and reception performance, and do so in an easy to use and highly repeatable way. For clarity's sake, we have averaged both the transmission and reception performance into one aggregate number.

The last step is real-world testing. In this test, we have taken 10GB worth of small and large files and transferred them from one wireless connected computer to a second computer connected via wired Ethernet. This test was done via the MS RichCopy utility. For clarity's sake, we have averaged both the transmission and reception performance into one aggregate number.

If the device supports wired transmission, wired Ethernet to wired Ethernet real-world performance will also be included using the same 10GB of data used for the wireless test.

If a given wireless device is labeled as “entertainment” or marketed as being entertainment centric, a secondary real-world test will be included in the form of using the device for wireless HD media streaming. This test will be a pass/fail affair.

To test all sections, we have further created four unique and distinct scenarios in which all testing will be done. The first test is labeled “Zone A” and it consists of a twelve foot ‘line of sight’ distance between the router and the wireless NIC with no walls or obstructions between the two. This replicates having the router in one end of a small room and the wireless device at the other. It is unlikely to be encountered all that often but it will test a best case scenario performance of the device being tested.

The second test consists of an eighteen-foot separation with a single interior non-load bearing wall separating a wireless device and the router. We have labeled this “Zone B” as it is much more common and is still a very optimal setup for a wireless home networking. This test replicates you having your wireless device in an adjoining room to the router.

The third test is labeled “Zone C” and consists of having the router in the corner of the basement with the wireless device trying to connect in the second story room at the extreme diagonal end from the routers location. This is still a fairly common occurrence in home networks with numerous walls, floors, pipes, wires, etc. and even other electronic devices in the intervening distance. This is not an optimal configuration but a very common one none the less. This will test the abilities of both the router and wireless NIC to connect and communicate with each other.

The fourth test is labeled “Zone D” and is an extreme test. While the router is still in the basement we have paced off 400 feet from it outside the testing facility. This replaces those times a person is outdoors and wishes to use his home network to connect to the Internet or other devices connected to the home network. With fewer walls but much greater distances this test is extremely demanding and many will not be able to successfully complete it. Thus it will separate the truly good from the merely adequate devices.

For all tests, four runs will be completed and only the averages of all four will be shown.

When possible both 5Ghz as well as 2.4GHz Bands will be used for all tests with each getting their own separate results.

All tests, unless otherwise noted, is carried out via a “clear” network in order to maximize repeatability and minimize factors outside of our control.

For information purposes here is the theoretical maximum each network connection is capable of:

10Mbits/s = 1,250 KBytes/s
100Mbit/s = 12,500 KBytes/s
150Mbit/s = 18,750 KBytes/s
300Mbit/s = 37,500 KBytes/s
450Mbit/s = 56,250 KBytes/s
1000Mbit/s = 125,000 KBytes/s
1300Mbit/s = 162,500 KBytes/s
1734Mbit/s = 216,750 KBytes/s
2334Mbit/s = 291,750 KBytes/s
2400Mbit/s = 300,000 KBytes/s
2600Mbit/s = 325,000 KBytes/s
3200Mbit/s = 400,000 KBytes/s
5400Mbit/s = 675,000 Kbytes/s

Processor: Core i7 5930K
Motherboard: Asus Sabretooth TUF X99
Memory: 32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3333
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780
Hard Drive: Intel 1.2TB NVMe 750
Power Supply: Corsair RMi1000

<I>Special Thanks to Corsair for providing the Ram and PSU used in this review </i>
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Signal Strength, Synthetic & Real World Performance

Signal Strength Tests


<i>A good strong signal is a prerequisite of high performance wireless networking. If a device can barely send or receive a signal, the transfer rates will be very low as both devices will opt for a slower connection speed to compensate. To test signal strength, we use inSSIDer, a program which can graph the signal strength of all wireless signals being received by the computer’s wireless NIC. Unlike in most tests, the lower number, the better the performance.</i>

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/sig_5.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/sig_2.jpg" border="0" alt="" />​

Those antennas may not be the largest to ever grace a wireless router but if they do handicap this router it is not noticeable. Based upon these results this router really could be called the 'Long Ranger' as it reach is rather impressive.


Synthetic Tests


<i>We use synthetic performance testing to show the potential performance of a given wireless configuration. For this test, we have chosen the LAN Speed Test utility. This free program can measure both transmission and reception performance, and do so in an easy to use and highly repeatable way. For clarity's sake, we have averaged both the transmission and reception performance into one aggregate number.</i>

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/lan_5.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/lan_2.jpg" border="0" alt="" />​

We must admit that we were expecting good performance from this router but these results did blow us away. Simply put this is the fastest router seen to date.


Real World Tests


<i>For real-world testing, we have taken 10GB worth of small and large files and transferred them from one wireless connected computer to a second computer connected via wired Ethernet. This test was done via the MS RichCopy utility. For clarity's sake, we have averaged both the transmission and reception performance into one aggregate number.

If the device supports wired transmission, wired Ethernet to wired Ethernet real-world performance will also be included using the same 10GB of data used for the wireless test.</I>

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/real_5.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/real_2.jpg" border="0" alt="" />​

This router is not merely optimized for synthetic tests, and rather its real world performance is easily the best that we have seen from any consumer-oriented router. Color us impressed.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Performance Testing: USB 3.0 & Multi-User

Performance Testing: USB 3.0


<i>While USB ports have indeed been a mainstay on Wi-Fi routers for as long as we can remember, these last few years have brought forth high performance routers that also support high speed USB 3.0 ports, and not just the slower USB 2.0 variety. As most consumers know, USB 3.0 brings numerous enhancements to the table including higher bandwidth potential and increase power delivery capabilities. Having said that, as we have seen many times in the past, there are numerous devices that claim ‘USB 3.0’ support but that actually perform at the same levels as their previous USB 2.0 counterparts.

To see exactly how well the USB 3.0 port performs, we devised a very simple test that you can easily recreate. We connected an empty Seagate GoFlex Slim 320GB external hard drive to the router's USB 3.0 port and then configured it as a network drive. The next step was simply to MS RichCopy utility to transfer data and measure the performance via wired, 2.4GHz wireless and 5GHz wireless connections. </I>

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/usb.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>​

Thanks to its extremely powerful controller the rather good USB storage performance comes as no surprise.

Performance Testing: Multi-User


<i>Very few home networks consist of only a single device connected at any one time. Instead, most contemporary networks have multiple devices connected at all times. As such, we have devised two new scenarios to show the performance with multiple concurrent wireless connections. The first test will be using between 1 and 6 devices simultaneously in our standard Zone A, then the testing is repeated with the devices in Zone D. This should show the best case and as worst case scenarios when it comes to performance.</i>

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/multi1.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/multi2.jpg" border="0" alt="" />

And just like that the Linksys EA9500 has take gold medal in all of our scenarios and tests. Yes, this router's performance is actually bigger than its footprint and it easily justifies its rather high asking price.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
13,264
Location
Montreal
Conclusion - A New Router Revolution?

Conclusion - A New Router Revolution?


There are no ifs, no ands, and certainly no buts about it; the Linksys EA9500 is easily the best wireless router we have tested to date. Everything from its incredible performance, to its excellent range, are damn near perfect. Even its drop dead gorgeous looks – that somehow doesn’t look ugly even with eight antennas sprouting from it – are the best we have seen to date. If all that was not enough its backwards compatibility and ability to play nice with ancient equipment is everything any consumer could ask for. Sure older networks may not be able to fully take advantage of 2167Mbit/sec speeds but they certainly will be able to take advantage of the second 5Ghz network! This extra network really does make the difference and can help balance the loads in even a heavily congested network.

This however is only part of the reason we like this router so much. The other half is its asking price. With an online average asking price of only $200(USD) this router is not priced outside the realm of reason. Two hundred dollars may be right at the extreme edge of what most people are willing to spend on a router but compared to older routers it is a damn sight easier pill to swallow. Basically when compared to older, and slower, routers released even last year this router has <i>value</i> to burn.

Equally important this value is not just on the amount of hardware consumers hard earned dollars can get them, it is also nets an excellent User Interface that is razor sharp, easy to use, and basically the best revision Linksys has created to date. Put simply this is a router that even novices will not mind entering and using to tweak the settings. Mix in a painless setup that is not so simplistic as to be useless and this router really does tick all the boxes for us.

This value really is why the EA9500 not only impressed us but actually made us want to replace our existing (ASUS RT-87U) with it. More importantly it will be the router that we will be recommending to friends and family – and that is the highest accolade we can bestow on <i>any</i> piece of hardware. Color us impressed… and a believer that Linksys is back and better than ever! WRT who? That is how good this new EA model is. Now if they would only offer a quad band router with dual 802.11N bands and we would be first in line to sign up for official fanboi status.

<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/EA9500/dam_good.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
</div>​
 

Latest posts

Twitter

Top