Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900 MU-MIMO Router - Testing and Final Thoughts

Article Index
Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900 MU-MIMO Router
Features and Specifications
Web Interface and Setup
Testing and Final Thoughts

Testing (Continued):

Wireless performance is done in two parts. First, we compare the wireless performance of the router when connected by its fastest mode to a wireless client PC. This is the way we've done all our wireless performance tests in the past as it shows the evolution of wireless performance and hardware. After the first router comparison chart, we will show the difference in speed when connected to a 2.4GHz network and a 5GHz network on a client machine. We also connected the EA7500 to another dual-band router as a wireless bridge to see how much faster the performance is when you have a client that actually supports data transfer over a multi-band network.

Wireless Network Performance

 

The EA7500 came in second place in wireless network performance - coming in behind the E8350 AC2400 unit. The best we could squeeze out of the EA7500 when connected to a Lenovo T540s was 358Mbps – which is a very solid showing. The E8350 managed an incredible 383Mbps. That is a very fast connection that should provide excellent performance.

 

As networking hardware continues to evolve, routers lead the way. The larger size allows bigger and hotter chipsets, larger antenna arrays and faster performance. Client hardware – usually limited to notebooks – is always a ways behind. We decided to hook a couple of routers together in a wireless bridge mode to see how fast the actual wireless throughput could be – if both sides have the capability to run multiple-bands at full speed. The results are below.

We show 2.4GHz and 5GHz performance connected to a client PC, then wrap up with the wireless bridge from router-to-router.

Suddenly we are running a wireless network at speeds over 775 Mbps. That is a big step in the right direction – thanks solely to a client device that has more antennae.

 

Final Thoughts:

Overall the performance of the EA7500 is quite fantastic. While the dual-core CPU seems to be a bit laggy when it comes to loading pages and data on the web interface, it certainly has enough power to run a loaded network. The router ended up being the backbone at our 2016 LAN event - VulcLAN and it kept up with over 80 connected devices. It managed traffic, connections, wired and wireless clients and even managed to pull some limited QoS. 

It did it all without a hiccup in the performance arena, without dropping connections and without slowdowns or crashing. I was impressed. I've used more expensive consumer-level routers in the past with poorer results. It was 100% solid.

What felt weak though was the limited Parental Controls and client devices that could be managed. You are allowed a total of 14 devices to manage - and while that won't be an issue on 95% of home networks, there are limitations and this is a bit of a setback. There was no way to block certain sites across the entire network and we had to add custom rules for specific computers. Again, for home use, this won't be an issue - but it is worth mentioning.

The Smart Wi-Fi interface takes some time to get used to, but it seems to work well. I had no issues with it at all and have learned to like it quite a bit. As previously mentioned, some pages loaded slowly, but it didn't actually affect network performance.

 

Pros:

  • Great wireless performance (best we've seen in a bridge) and great range.
  • Dual-Band wireless with separate configuration
  • Secure Guest Network
  • MU-MIMO lives up to the promise
  • Can handle small business networks as easily as a home network

 

Cons:

  • Interface can be laggy
  • Parental controls limited to 14 clients

 

 

While I'd like to knock some points off for the interface lag (yeah, it really bugs me), the truth is the router is super solid and was able to run a much larger-than-expected network without any issues. It's so solid that I can't give it anything less than a "Gold" Editor's Choice award.

I'd like to thank Linksys for sending this over to power VulcLAN and for the review. If you have any questions, comment or general feedback, please feel free to post in the forum at the link below.

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