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Linksys WRT1200AC review

Richard Easton
15 Jul 2015
Linksys WRT1200AC teaser image
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
150
inc VAT

The Linksys WRT1200AC has decent 5GHz 802.11ac performance, but there are better routers for the price

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Specifications

Modem: None, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac, Stated speed: 1,200Mbit/s, USB ports: 1x USB3, 1x USB/eSATA, Wall mountable: Yes

Linksys routers typically fall into one of two categories: the sleek and stylish models such as its E1700 or the comparatively garish but more fully-featured models such as the WRT1200AC. While Linksys’ other models look to blend in with your décor, the WRT1200AC screams "router" with its array of blinking LEDs and two external antennas, all finished off in Linksys blue. If you like your tech to look geeky, you'll love it.

The heat-dissipating vents of the top of the router make it clear that the WRT1200AC is a serious piece of networking kit. It's a large router, but those looking to save space by placing any objects on top of it will be wise to heed the warning in the quick start guide, which explicitly states not to place anything on top of the vents due to an overheating risk. You do at least have the option of wall-mounting if you want to get the router out of the way.

Linksys WRT1200AC ports

The WRT1200AC has a rated throughput of 400Mbit/s on its 2.4GHz band and 868Mbit/s on its 5GHz band, and is capable of broadcasting both bands simultaneously. It doesn’t have a built-in modem so you’ll need to connect a modem or router through its Gigabit WAN port for your cable, ADSL or VDSL connection. There are four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the rear for connecting wired devices.

The router has a USB3 port for connecting external storage or a printer as well as a second eSATA/USB combo port. We found adding networked storage was easy and you can use SMB or FTP to access your files as well as DLNA for network media streaming. You’ll have to install the Linksys printer utility on each system you want to print from, as well as the printer’s driver.

The router has a setup wizard, but if you ever want to run through the wizard again you'll need to factory-reset the router, which is annoying. Like certain other Linksys routers we also found it inconvenient that the default admin username and password aren’t written on the router or in the accompanying documentation, so you’ll need to hunt these out yourself online unless you have an optical drive to run through the CD-based setup program.

Linksys WRT1200AC guest networks

The router admin interface is pretty typical for Linksys routers, with options tucked away under various tabs. When you delve into any of these, the descriptions for other tabs are hidden, which means it can get a bit confusing finding the options you want. We found accessing features such as the Dynamic DNS setup an exercise in trial and error.

Wireless performance when using our laptop’s built-in 802.11n adaptor was disappointing on the heavily congested 2.4GHz band. At 10m we only saw 9.8Mbit/s and a very slow 1.9Mbit/s at 25m, which are poor results for a router at this price. Throughput was quicker on the 5GHz band, but still lower than we were expecting; at 10m we saw 135.8Mbit/s, dropping to 53.6Mbit/s at 25m.

Performance improved markedly when using a Linksys WUSB6300 adaptor (£30 inc VAT from www.maplin.co.uk), where we saw 802.11ac speeds of 279.6Mbit/s at 10m and 233Mbit/s at 25m - some of the fastest speeds we've seen.

Overall, the Linksys WRT1200AC is an expensive router and its overall performance doesn’t quite live up to the price. For this money you'd be better served by the TP-Link Archer C9, which has more consistently quick performance for the same price. 

Hardware
ModemNone
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Bands2.4GHz, 5GHz
Stated speed1,200Mbit/s
SecurityWEP, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-PSK, WPA2-Enterprise, WPS
Upgradable antennaYes
WAN ports1
LAN ports4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s
USB ports1x USB3, 1x USB/eSATA
Wall mountableYes
Size323x117x241mm
Software
Guest networks1
Media serverDLNA, SMB, FTP
USB servicesPrint sharing, NAS
DDNS servicesDynDNS.org, TZO.com
Buying Information
Price including VAT£150
WarrantyTwo years RTB
Supplierwww.maplin.co.uk
Detailswww.Linksys.com
Part codeWRT1200AC