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Linksys WRT1900AC review

Kat Orphanides
16 Jun 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
230
inc VAT

It's expensive, but this router's blistering wireless performance means you could leave cables behind forever

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Specifications

802.11n dual band, 4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports

The Linksys WRT1900AC’s angular blue and black chassis harks back to the company's popular WRT54G, which could be customised thanks to the use of an open-source operating system. The WRT1900AC is also promoted as being compatible with third-party Open WRT firmware, although open source drivers for the router's Marvell 802.11ac wireless chipset are not currently available.

Linksys WRT1900AC

Even you’re not interesting in customising your router, the WRT1900AC has plenty of other features to justify its high price. As well as the expected bank of four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, there's a USB3 port and, unusually, a dual-function USB-cum-powered eSATA port. This increases your options for adding external storage if you want to use the router as a simple NAS device, but we suspect many people would find a second USB3 port more useful for this. There are also plenty of ventilation holes in the chassis, and it’s raised up on sturdy legs, so you shouldn’t have any problems with cooling. There’s even an exhaust fan inside the WRT1900A, just in case the router is put under heavy load.

LOG IN CONVENIENCE

Linksys has developed a unified login system so that you can connect to your home network, monitor it and control it remotely using mobile apps. If you have no intention of accessing your router remotely you can log into the WRT1900AC’s web interface with a local username and password.

Linksys WRT1900AC

The interface looks good and is easy to navigate

The main interface is designed to look slick and friendly, and has a number of widget panels that let you see if you're connected to the internet, view any external storage that might be plugged in and see if parental controls are enabled. You can also see if the router's Media Prioritisation feature is enabled. This feature ensures priority is given to applications or devices that need low network latency to work smoothly, such as online games, smart TVs with streaming features or video chat clients.

The router's built-in parental controls are very simple. There's no content filtering here, just settings to block internet access from specific devices at certain times, or to block any URL you put in the blacklist.

HYPERSPEED

The WRT1900AC router is dual band, so you can set up wireless networks on the less congested 5GHz band as well as the 2.4GHz band. However, you’ll only experience the WRT1900AC’s fastest speeds on the 5GHz band, as that’s the band used by the faster 802.11ac standard. The WRT1900AC’s 2.4GHz-band networks conform to the 802.11n standard.

The 802.11ac standard is built for speed, and is designed for users who play games over a network, or who stream media from the internet or their local network. We expected the WRT1900AC to perform well, but weren’t prepared for just how well it would perform.

Linksys WRT1900AC

When we connected to the WRT1900AC’s 2.4GHz-band network with our laptop, we recorded an average throughput of 60.6Mbit/s at 1m, 32.7Mbit/s at 10m and 13.5Mbit/s at 25m. These are excellent results. With our laptop connected to the router on the 5GHz band, we recorded truly phenomenal average throughputs of 181.8Mbit/s at 1m, 167.8Mbit/s at 10m and 72Mbit/s at 25m. Even if you don’t have an 802.11ac compatible device or PC, you’ll still experience high speeds.

To test the WRT1900AC’s 802.11ac performance we used a Netgear A6200 Wi-Fi dongle and connected to the 5GHz band, where we saw an astonishing average throughput 209.7Mbit/s at all distances. This is supremely fast.

The Linksys WRT1900AC is an excellent router, with a clear user interface and remarkably high performance, making it a clear Best Buy award winner.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
Modem typenone
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
Draft 802.11n supportyes
Draft 802.11n 5GHz supportyes
MIMOyes
Turbo modechannel-bonding
Stated speed1,300Mbit/s

Security

WPAPSK (TKIP, AES), ENTERPRISE, RADIUS
WPA2yes
Firewallyes
MAC address filteringyes
DMZyes

Physical

Size120x322x242mm
Antennas4
Internal/external antennasexternal
Upgradeable antennayes
Number of WAN ports1
Ethernet ports4
Ethernet connection speed10/100/1000Mbit/s
Other portsUSB3, eSATA/USB
Wall mountableyes
Power consumption on2W

Other Features

Dynamic DNSyes
Universal Plug and Play supportyes
DHCP serveryes
MAC spoofingyes
Port forwardingyes
WDS Supportyes
USB device supportyes
QoSyes

Buying Information

Price£230
Warrantytwo years RTB
Supplierhttp://www.broadbandbuyer.co.uk
Detailswww.linksys.com