Before you plonk down $399 for this Linksys router, ask yourself how many Wi-Fi devices you have at home.
If the answer is fewer than 10, this router is probably not for you.
The Linksys EA9200 is a new tri-band AC3200 router that offers an
additional 5GHz Wi-Fi network over the typical Wi-Fi 802.11ac router.
In total, this router supports a single 2.4GHz network and two 5GHz
The extra 5GHz Wi-Fi network allows you to segregate slower client
devices, such as those running on 802.11n, from newer devices that
support the faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol.
Or to use a motoring analogy, it is akin to creating dedicated lanes
for faster vehicles (802.11ac devices) so that they will not be bogged
down by slower vehicles (802.11n devices).
But buying the Wi-Fi equivalent of parallel expressways is wasteful
if you have only a handful of Wi-Fi devices at home. Also, keep in mind
that AC3200 routers will not make your downloads any faster as almost
all 802.11ac Wi-Fi routers on the market top out at a theoretical
download speed of 1,300Mbps.
If you are persuaded to get an AC3200 router, the Linksys is a good
choice. Set-up takes just a couple of minutes and the Web-based
interface, like the one on the flagship Linksys WRT1900AC router, is
easy on the eye and easy to navigate.
By default, the two 5GHz Wi-Fi networks produced by the Linksys
router share the same network name. You simply connect your device to
this network and the router will automatically assign it to one of its
two 5GHz networks. The software powering the router will juggle client
devices between the two networks to ensure minimal congestion.
Generally, you can tell an AC3200 router from others by its six
external antennas. The Linksys EA9200 has only three. The remaining
three are hidden in the chassis.
The EA9200 lacks the usual front status indicators. The Linksys logo
flashes when it is booting up; and a steady light means all is good.
This router has all the features associated with a high-end model,
such as multiple guest networks, parental controls and media
prioritisation. In fact, all current AC3200 routers use an identical
Broadcom chipset. The Linksys even performs about as fast as its
rivals, chalking up an average download speed of 239Mbps.
This is the second AC3200 router I have tried. While I rate it more
highly than Netgear's Nighthawk X6, the EA9200 is relatively pricey.
With more brands launching their AC3200 routers soon, perhaps it is better to wait.
Ethernet interface: 4 x 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN, 1 x 10/100/1000 Gigabit WAN
Security: WPA/WPA2, WPS
Advanced firewall features: SPI, NAT
Value for money 2/5