The Linksys XAC1900 is a breathtakingly fast ADSL modem router at a very high price
Modem: ADSL2+, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac, Stated speed: 1,300Mbit/s, USB ports: 1x USB3, 1x USB, Wall mountable: Yes
The Linksys XAC1900 is quite a large router, which is something we’ve come to expect from 802.11ac devices. Its size still came as a surprise considering the modem’s ADSL2+ modem is separate from the main router and is integrated into the power brick. The design of the XAC1900 is similar to Linksys’ other recent routers and combines matt grey plastic with a silver accent. There aren’t many indicators or lights to distract you, save for the Linksys logo that glows white to show it’s turned on. The router has three replaceable antennas and there are mounting points on its base if you want to attach it to a wall.
The large power brick modem connects to your telephone line as well as a power socket and your router via the WAN port. There are also four Gigabit Ethernet ports, so you’re well covered for high-speed wired networking. Thanks to the WAN port you can also use the XAC1900 purely as a wireless router, without using the ADSL2+ modem function; useful if you find yourself changing from an ADSL internet service provider to a cable or fibre service which comes with its own modem.
There are two USB ports on the back of the router, one of which is USB3. These ports can be used for sharing external storage across the network over SMB or FTP, and you can also create a DLNA media server to stream media files to compatible devices such as tablets or set-top boxes. You can also connect a printer to one of the USB ports and add it to your local network. You’ll need to install Linksys’ printer sharing utility on each connected computer and you may have to manually install your printer’s drivers. After going through this process our Samsung Xpress C1810W laser printer worked perfectly.
Setting up these features is easy thanks to Linksys’ easy-to-understand web interface. Unlike some of Linksys’ other routers, the XAC1900 lets you create a guest network on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and you can limit the number of devices that connect to each.
The XAC1900 is able to broadcast simultaneously on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and both networks have a default password set up straight out of the box. The 2.4GHz band has a theoretical throughput of 600Mbit/s and 1,300Mbit/s on the 5GHz band.
While other routers might struggle on the congested 2.4GHz band, the XAC1900 showed excellent speeds when tested with our laptop’s integrated 802.11n adaptor. On 2.4GHz at 10m range we saw 64.8Mbit/s, which is one of the best results we’ve seen. This dropped to 24.8Mbit/s at 25m, which is still well above average for 2.4GHz. After switching to 5GHz we saw speeds of 167.8Mbit/s at 10m and 104.9Mbit/s at 25, which are some of the best 802.11n speeds we’ve seen.
The router also impressed once we switched to Linksys’ WUSB6300 Wireless-AC USB3 adaptor (£37 inc VAT from www.ebuyer.com). With the router in 802.11n mode we saw speeds of 195.7Mbit/s at 10m and a huge 181.8Mbit/s at 25m. The router wasn’t quite so far ahead of the pack in 802.11ac mode, where we saw 209.7Mbit/s at 10m, but a 25m score of 181.6Mbit/s puts the XAC1900 among the best router’s we’ve tested.
The Linksys XAC1900 has excellent performance whether you use a laptop’s integrated adaptor or a Linksys USB model. If you want a router with a built-in modem and the ultimate in performance, and don’t mind spending a packet, it’s a great choice.
|Security||WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-PSK, WPA2-Enterprise, WPS|
|LAN ports||4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s|
|USB ports||1x USB3, 1x USB|
|Media server||DLNA, SMB, FTP|
|USB services||Print sharing, NAS|
|DDNS services||DynDNS.org, TZO.com|
|Price including VAT||£237|