Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900 MU-MIMO Router
|Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900 MU-MIMO Router|
|Features and Specifications|
|Web Interface and Setup|
|Testing and Final Thoughts|
Today we have a new router from Linksys on the bench that is not the fastest connected router we've seen lately, but it does claim some pretty impressive features. While many routers claim to have incredible speed when combining all of their wireless bands, the reality is that not many client devices have tri-band chips let alone quad-band chips that we are seeing in some new routers. The Linksys EA7500 is on our bench and this router claims to meet AC1900 802.11ac speeds, but it adds a bit of something different as a twist.
The Linksys EA7500 is a MU-MIMO router that supports multiple-input/multiple-output connections – as do many other MIMO routers, but this version adds a “MU” to the list. It's pronounced [moo-mee-mow] and the “moo” is for multiple users. Not only does the EA7500 support multiple-input/multiple-output connections – it does so for several users making the wireless performance in the real world potentially better. Let's take a closer look as we jump right in.
The EA7500 router has the same external styling as the E8350 – but lacks one of the antenna. The EA7500 has three antennae and is a full tri-band unit. Internally the router is a fair bit different as it houses a 1.4GHz dual-core CPU that claims to be capable of handling up to three separate MU-MIMO data streams. We pushed this router to the limit at a recent LAN event and attempted to use it as the backbone to over 50 computers as well as well over 30 wireless clients (tablets, phones, and laptops). It looks pretty robust on a specification and physical front.
In the bundle we found the antennae, a short Ethernet cable, the power adapter and of course a quick-install guide. All of these add up to a very basic bundle – but one that will easily get the job done. Although this MAX-STREAM router is part of the Smart Wi-Fi family from Linksys, it doesn't have an NFC card or anything similar to make connection super simple. Instead, you have to rely on WPS or entering a security key manually.
With the router now laid bare before us, there really isn't a lot more to explain as we tour around. The front is super non-exciting but the rear is a wee bit interesting. There are both USB2.0 and USB3.0 ports on the rear of the unit as well as a WPS button, recessed “Reset” button, and five GB Ethernet ports. One of these is marked for the WAN, and the other four are set for your local network. To the right of all of these ports is the power connector and a power switch.
The power switch is a nice touch as many routers require a very ungraceful unplug if they need to be rebooted or if you're going away on holidays for an extended period and you want to disable your network while you are away. The switch makes this process a little more eloquent.
On the next page we'll cover the features and specifications of the EA7500 before we carry on through setup and performance testing.
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