Linksys EA6500 review: A user-friendly 802.11ac router with good performance
Cisco arrived late to the 802.11ac party, nevertheless its Linksys EA6500 (it’s difficult to state the whole name—the Linksys Video Pro AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router EA6500—in a single breath) is a surprisingly strong, easy-to-use dual-band router with 1 distinctive, gee-whiz feature.
This feature is known as SimpleTap, plus it utilizes near-field correspondence (NFC) development to allow you to join NFC-enabled mobile equipment to the network by tapping them with a offered plastic card. That simple bodily action quickly delivers the device with all the router’s protection credentials. Unlike with WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), we not should touch the router whenever utilizing SimpleTap. It does, yet, need we to install a Cisco application found on the mobile device. However you call it a gee-whiz feature considering fairly some mobile equipment are NFC enabled (Samsung’s Galaxy S III smartphone being the many notable). The SimpleTap card is anything of the safety risk except we lock it away, as well as the feature is conveniently disabled should you don’t like to utilize it.
The EA6500 remains simple for inexperienced consumers to set up whether or not we can’t take benefit of SimpleTap, though this entails installing software about a customer PC plus creating an online account with Cisco. Experienced consumers that don’t wish To employ this cloud-based answer could log straight into the router to do its initial configuration without setting up an account, however they won’t be capable to take benefit of Cisco’s Smart Wi-Fi cloud service. The Smart Wi-Fi cloud service lets you manage the router remotely from anywhere we have Internet access. It moreover allows you to remotely access information stored about an connected USB device (the EA6500 has 2 USB 2.0 ports, to share both storage along with a printer about the network. You don’t require Smart Wi-Fi to help local customers to employ connected USB equipment.)
Linksys furthermore has the assortment of Smart Wi-Fi apps. These run found on the router and/or the mobile equipment to supply evertyhing from parental controls (to control whenever a youngsters may go online, where they will go, plus what they will do when they’re there) to media aggregators, device monitors, plus IP camera audience. These apps are a far easier alternative to jiggering port-forwarding, static routing, DMZ, plus alternative settings, however, Cisco doesn’t avoid more advanced consumers from configuring any of these settings manually.
The dual-band router arrives within the factory with easy-to-remember, pre-assigned network names for the 2.4- and 5GHz networks: Ours were called OrangePanda plus OrangePanda5, respectively. Wireless safety is disabled by standard, however you’re warned of the at the outset plus establishing protection is regarded as the initially methods inside both of the assisted setups. If you’re installing the router about your, you’ll need to look for the safety settings considering they don’t live beneath the Security tab where you’d anticipate to locate them (you need to click on the Wireless tab, instead).
The Linksys EA6500’s 802.11ac performance was very similar to this of the present favorite router, the Asus RT-AC66U; in actuality, it was somewhat quicker whenever the router plus customer were at close range (9 feet aside plus inside the same room). At this place, the EA6500 delivered TCP throughput of 460 megabits per next (mbps) compared to the RT-AC66U’s 449 mbps. The Linksys was somewhat slower—171 mbps versus 190 mbps—when the customer was inside the house theatre (35 feet within the router, with many walls inside between), however both routers delivered 232 mbps whenever the customer was inside the house workplace (65 feet within the router with many walls inside between).
With the customer running found on the 2.4GHz network, nevertheless, the Linksys router was over 25 % slower about average than the Asus product whenever you benchmarked the 2 equipment at the same 3 places.
In terms of reading plus composing to a USB difficult drive connected to the router (you utilized a 500GB Western Digital My Passport drive), the Linksys held its own up against the Asus whenever reading both a single big file along with a assortment of little files, nevertheless the Asus clobbered the Linksys whenever composing those files to the connected difficult drive.
The Linksys EA6500 delivered performance about par with all the Asus RT-AC66U whenever reading files from an connected USB difficult drive, nevertheless the Asus crushed it whenever composing those same files to the difficult drive.
If we intend to utilize a USB difficult drive for backing up networked customer PCs, you’ll be much happier with all the Asus. If you’re seeking to stream media from a drive connected to the router, either model can do (except you’re searching for an iTunes host, because we’ll discuss next).
Cisco provides far fewer qualities with all the EA6500 than Asus does with its RT-AC66U. Both routers help UPnP plus give a DLNA-certified media host plus an ftp host, for example, however Asus furthermore offers an iTunes host, a SAMBA host, an onboard download manager for automated BitTorrent downloads, plus VPN pass-through for secure remote network access.
And where Cisco delivers a customer network about just its 2.4GHz band, Asus lets you run guest networks about both frequencies simultaneously. With the potential exception of the iTunes host, though, many mainstream customers won’t miss those advanced attributes plus would prefer the EA6500’s relative simplicity plus ease of employ.