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Linksys XAC1200 review

Richard Easton
8 Nov 2014
Linksys XAC1200 front angle
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
140
inc VAT

The Linksys XAC1200 is a well-designed ADSL modem router, but its long-distance speed is below average

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Specifications

Modem: ADSL2+, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac, Stated speed: 867Mbit/s, USB ports: 1x USB3, Wall mountable: Yes

For its new XAC1200 router Linksys hasn’t strayed too far from its standard design. Its combination of matt grey and silver will be familiar to anyone who has seen any of the company’s recent routers. The XAC1200 has a reasonably small footprint for a wireless-AC router as the ADSL2+ modem component is, unusually, built into to the router's large power plug.

As well as the mains, this plug connects to your telephone line, and the other end of the power lead splits into a DC jack and an Ethernet lead to connect to the router’s Gigabit Ethernet WAN port. The router also has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports for wired networking. The router has a very clean and uncluttered design, with no LED indicators aside from the green power light, which can also flash or pulse to indicate when the router is booting or waiting for a WPS device to connect. 

Although the XAC1200 is branded as an ADSL2+ modem router, you can also connect it to your existing cable or fibre modem, and the installation wizard walks you through the setup process. The installation wizard also lets you set up the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks, although these do have default SSIDs and passwords set straight out of the box. The router’s 2.4GHz band has a theoretical throughput of 300Mbit/s and 867Mbit/s on the 5GHz band. You can create a single guest network on the 2.4GHz band, and limit the number of connected devices from between five and 50. 

There is a USB3 port on the back of the router that allows you to share an external storage device over SMB or FTP. You can also create a DLNA media server to share music, photos and videos to compatible devices such as network media streamers. There’s also no eject button on the router, so you’ll need to access the web interface to safely remove your storage device. You can also connect a printer to share across your network; you’ll need to install Linksys’ printer sharing utility on each computer you want to use for printing.

The web interface is identical to the one used on many of Linksys’ other routers, with all the options broken down under various tabs. The layout generally makes sense, although some occasionally-used settings are tucked away behind a number of sub-menus. Changing the router’s Dynamic DNS settings is an example; it’s hidden behind an ‘Apps and Gaming’ submenu. Quality of Service (QoS) is provided through a ‘Media Prioritization’ menu that allows you to easily prioritise network access for specific machines and applications, which is useful if you want to prioritise network performance to your gaming system, for example. 

Wireless performance using our test laptop’s built-in 802.11n adaptor was a little disappointing considering the router's price. On the 2.4GHz band we saw speeds of 42.2Mbit/s at 10m and a middling 13.3Mbit/s at 25m. Performance was significantly better on the less-congested 5GHz band, where we saw a reasonable throughput of 104.9Mbit/s at 10m but a poor 25.8Mbit/s at 25m distance. 

We also tested with Linksys’ WUSB6300 802.11ac adaptor (£37 inc VAT from www.ebuyer.com), which produced much faster speeds. With the router set to 802.11n 5GHz mode we saw a fast 195.7Mbit/s at 10m and a huge 139.8Mbit/s at 25m. Switching to 802.11ac mode led to an increase at 10m to 279.6Mbit/s, although 114.8Mbit/s at 25m was less impressive.

If you’re looking for a wireless router with an integrated ADSL2+ modem, the Linksys XAC1200 is a fair choice thanks to its compact and attractive design. Wireless performance is very quick at medium range, but long-range performance is disappointing. We'd recommend using a quicker router such as the the D-Link DIR-868L and using a cheap ADSL router as a modem instead. 

HARDWARE
ModemADSL2+
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Bands2.4GHz, 5GHz
Stated speed867Mbit/s
SecurityWEP, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-PSK, WPA2-Enterprise, WPS
Upgradable antennaNo
WAN ports1
LAN ports4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s
USB ports1x USB3
Wall mountableYes
Size256x40x184
SOFTWARE
Guest networks1
Media serverDLNA, SMB, FTP
USB servicesNAS
DDNS servicesDynDNS.org, TZO.com
BUYING INFORMATION
Price including VAT£141
WarrantyTwo-year RTB
Supplierwww.kikatek.com
Detailswww.linksys.com
Part codeXAC1200-UK