19 - 01 - 2018
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Linksys EA8500 Max-Stream AC2600 MU-MIMO Smart Wi-Fi Router Review

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   To my knowledge/understanding there are two types of consumers out there, the ones who rarely use wireless connectivity and only when they are nowhere close to their desktop computer (myself included) and the ones who rely almost entirely on wireless connectivity even when at home or at the office. Still with most households (and offices) having multiple mobile devices (for example between our notebooks, tablets and smartphones we currently have 12 in the lab) it's not a bad idea to invest on a good new generation Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) router capable of offering high-speed connectivity on multiple compatible portable/mobile devices. Linksys has released several powerful MU-MIMO compatible models in the market during the last year and today with us we have their EA8500 Max-Stream AC2600 MU-MIMO Smart Wi-Fi Router.

   The Linksys brand has pioneered wireless connectivity since its inception in 1988 with its leading innovation and engineering strategies, and best-in-class technology, design, and customer service. Linksys enables a connected lifestyle for people at home, at work and on the move, and with its award-winning products, simplifies home control, entertainment, security and Internet access through innovative features and a growing application and partner ecosystem. Linksys is part of Belkin International.

   When released roughly a year ago the E8500 was the very first router to use Qualcomm's MU/EFX Wi-Fi technology and more specifically their QCA9980 4-Stream VIVE™ 802.11ac chipset. Thanks to this technology the EA8500 can service up to three compatible devices simultaneously with up to 3x performance increase compared to single user MIMO (SU-MIMO) routers (the difference between MU-MIMO and MIMO is that the first delivers exactly the amount of speed supported by connected devices as opposed to the second which delivers the entire bandwidth). Of course the keyword here is compatible so whereas such devices can also enjoy longer battery life that does not apply for every device out there (although compared to when the EA8500 was launched there are many more compatible devices in the market today). Under the hood of the EA8500 we also find Qualcomm's IPQ8064 1.4GHz dual-core Internet Processor (features 2 Krait 300 CPUs clocked at up to 1.4 GHz and two network accelerator engines clocked at up to 730 MHz) with 512MB DDR3 RAM and 128MB of flash. In terms of features the EA8500 has a maximum combined data rate of 2600Mbit/s (1733Mbit/s on the 5GHz band and 800Mbit/s on the 2.4Ghz band), 4 dual-band detachable high-gain antennas (support beamforming), single internal antenna, 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, Gigabit WAN port, eSATA/USB 2.0 port and a USB 3.0 port.