01 Jan

Linksys EA6900 802.11ac Wi-Fi router review: Too expensive for what's delivered

By WiFiNovation

The EA6900 can be configured to operate as a router, as a Wi-Fi access point, or–with a recent firmware update–an 802.11ac wireless bridge. Like the Asus RT-AC68U and theNetgear Nighthawk, the EA6900 supports TurboQAM, but I don’t count that as a major advantage because most adapters on the client side don’t support TurboQAM. As a router, the EA6900 proved to be much faster than the Buffalo WZR-1750DHP and the Trendnet TEW-812DRU, but well behind the aforementioned Asus and Netgear devices.

Linksys provided me with early firmware that enabled me to convert a second EA6900 into an 802.11ac wireless bridge, so early firmware might explain why TCP throughput between the two was relatively poor. It came in last at all four locations where I placed the bridge and the client.

My next test paired the EA6900 with the Linksys WUMC710 802.11ac wireless bridge, and it pretty much ran with the pack with the exception of reaching the client when it was in my difficult-to-penetrate home theater. It tied for fourth place at that location.

When paired with Linksys’s own WUSB6100 client adapter, the EA6900 turned in a respectable performance, taking third place overall. Compared to the rest of the pack, it performed better in the two longer-range tests than it did when the client was close by.

Linksys’s router wasn’t nearly impressive as a 5GHz 802.11n router, except when the client was at its furthest distance from the router. It took a first-place finish when the client was in my home office, 65 feet from the router.

The Linksys EA6900 delivered a surprisingly strong performance as a 2.4GHz 802.11n router, beating the rest of the field at three of my four test locations (the one exception being when the client was in the home theater, where the EA6900 placed third).

The EA6900 performed very well as a network-attached storage device. The Netgear R7000 crushed every other device, and the Asus RT-AC68U placed second, but Linksys took a very respectable third-place finish.

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