Tuesday | September 27, 2016
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Linksys EA9500 Router Review (Tri-Band AC5400 feat. RE7000 and WUSB6100M)

Linksys EA9500 Router Review (Tri-Band AC5400 feat. RE7000 and WUSB6100M)

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Linksys EA9500 Router Review – Enhancing the Network

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Linksys EA9500 Router Review – Setup

Setup of the EA9500 is a very simple process. We connect to the router and that auto-launches the setup wizard in our browser. From there we are walked through the process. This includes setting up an admin password, choosing our security and making a decision about remote access.

Linksys EA9500 Router Review – Software

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Once up and running we monitor and maintain our router through the above interface. It uses the same layout and features the same functionality as we have seen in previous Linksys products which is no bad thing. All the key options we would expect are present starting with a summary of the router status as well as quick enable/disable options for guest access and parental controls. We can take a look at the network map which is a handy way to see which devices are connected and a speed test lets us confirm if our connection is performing correctly. The parental controls allow us to restrict specific devices from accessing sites and this can be configured down to specific times of day too. File sharing, print sharing, media prioritisation and VPN configuration are all available as is a panel which allows us to manually update firmware, disable the LEDs or tweak our security. Troubleshooting assists us with solving any issues that may develop and we can also configure the routers firewall as well as configure how it behaves with specific apps/games, prioritising those heavy eSports sessions, as one example. Mobile apps are also available, allowing us to manage the router from our phone/tablet etc.

Linksys EA9500 Router Review – Conclusion

We’ll get to the EA9500 in a moment but first a few words on the extender and USB adapter that we also tested. On the extender our experience was very positive. It is compact, feels solid, offers good performance and is very simple to set-up. Essentially plug in, hit WPS and we are done. As for the WUSB6100M (which is a Windows only product currently), we get that Linksys want to show off the MU-MIMO functionality and performance of the EA9500 but for the average user, the performance from this adapter is pretty average. With a limit of 433Mbps on 5GHz, the adapter is slower than many WiFi adapters pre-installed in systems. The Intel AC 7265 which HP use in their Ultrabooks is significantly faster. It is easy to connect, though. Just plug in, select the WiFi network and click connect. So those who have an older WiFi product at the moment will find it to be a quick and easy upgrade to a product with the latest features.

As for the EA9500… it is probably worth noting that upon unboxing it the majority of those who saw it responded with some form of expletive, in a positive way. This thing is huge, but it is impressively huge. There is no denying that it draws attention thanks to the chassis size and those eight antennas. The overall styling is decent, the port and button layout is good and there are no garish LEDs.

On the software front, we’ve been fans of the Linksys control panel and mobile app for a while now. To see them present here is great. Responsive, intuitive and feature packed. They allow us to manage the device with ease. We were also pleased to see that Linksys have implemented auto firmware updates so that the router is always running the latest version, without any interaction from us. The setup process is also fast and simple, taking less than 10 minutes from unboxing to having a working WiFi network.

So that brings us to performance, where the EA9500 was flawless. The router handled everything we could throw at it. Streaming multiple 4k content streams which gaming, surfing, downloading and uploading from multiple devices concurrently… we noticed no slowdown. In fact, the only limit we hit was that of our internet connection from the ISP. That will likely always be your limit, not the EA9500. Ideal. We were also pleased with the seamless roaming process which worked flawlessly as we wandered around.

Summary: Fantastic performance, huge capacity for devices, great features and a solid control panel. A worthy winner of our Performance Award.

Performance Award

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Linksys EA9500 Router
Author Rating
5

About Author

Stuart Davidson

Stuart Davidson is Senior Editor at HardwareHeaven having joined the site in 2002.