Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router review
The Best all-round MU-MIMO router of the moment
- Eight Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Costs less than rivals
It does everything well and costs less than its rivals. The eight Ethernet ports are the cherry on top.
Price$ 500.00 (AUD)
This review is taken from a larger group test: AC5300 Router reviews: Linksys EA9500 vs. Netgear Nighthawk X8 vs. D-Link DIR-895L and also an investigation into whether Mu-MIMO makes a difference.
Price: $549 RRP (From $500 real world)
Stated Max throughput: 5.3Gb/s
Processor: 1.4GHz dual-core
Antennae: 8 external
Ethernet ports: WAN plus 8 Gigabit
Bands: 1 x 2.4GHz, 2 x 5GHz (combined via Smart Connect)
USB: 1 x USB2, 1 x USB 3
Other features: N/A
Warranty: 3 years
Linksys’ latest looks a bit like a massive upturned spider which can be a bit disconcerting in low-light and shadow-rich environments. It’s no looker, although the LED lights on the front have a certain Knight Rider quality to them. At the side are two buttons, one for WPS connection and the other turns off WiFi. They are not clearly labelled(!)
But it’s at the back where the magic happens. In addition to the USB2 and USB3 ports, there are eight (count’em) Gigabit Ethernet ports. If that seems like overkill, you’d be utterly and completely wrong. These days they can fill up quickly. It’s not uncommon to have a cable TV box, Apple TV, other media streaming device, TV, game console and powerline extender all connected – four ports can be constrictive and piling them all onto WiFi can be an unnecessary stress for even powerful routers like these.
Setting up requires making a Linksys online account which is a bit weird. Settings are displayed a bit more n00b-friendly than with Netgear but arguably not quite so well as the D-Link. Nonetheless, the near-interactive menu structure and status display is well laid out.
Parental controls let you simply choose devices and block them either permanently or at different times. It’s not as complex as Netgear’s offering but on or off are what many parents will want.
Linksys also makes use of Smart Connect (where one network ID is displayed for two bands) but only for the 5GHz channels – you can’t actually separate the two 5GHz networks but few people will need to.
All other settings including USB storage handling and sharing are standard fare.
In terms of performance the Linksys was the most consistent. (Full performance results can be seen here) It wasn’t always the fastest but it was often up there. At close range it held its own at 2.4GHz and at 5GHz (mainly using the MU-MIMO dongle). One floor up it saw consistently-strong performance even though it didn’t come first in any tests. At two floors up it arguably pulled away from the field as the Netgear couldn’t connect at 5GHz and the D-Link appears to have resorted to choosing the 2.4GHz band.
At $150 less than the competition, it’s a clear winner among its peers – the consistent performance at all ranges, the ease of use, those eight network ports all would have had it winning if it cost $700 like its rivals.
It’s hard to imagine anyone buying one of the latest routers and regretting it. They’re all good and they generally do the same thing.
Netgear offers a few more configuration options than the competitors, including more complex parental controls, open source software compatibility, port aggregation and a backup app but these aren’t earth shattering.
The clear winner is the Linksys. It would arguably win if it cost $700 like its rivals but it’s actually $150 less. The eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, the simple settings pages and consistently-strong performance at all ranges means that while it might not have won many of the tests outright, overall it’s the champion.
Finally, for more information on the MU-MIMO WiFi adapter that we used for testing, check out this review, here. We also reviewed Linksys' WiFi range extender, here. Finally, we investigated MU-MIMO itself and saw whether the benefits were worth paying extra for (at the moment), here.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Chips coming by June will herald the next generation of Wi-Fi
- Plume's 'routerless' mesh network blankets your home in Wi-Fi with an army of tiny pods
- Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router goes all the way to 11
- Can Wi-Fi and LTE-U live together? The tests are ready
- New wireless tech from MIT promises password-free Wi-Fi
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- FTProject Manager - Finance BackgroundQLD
- FTICT ManagerNSW
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectWA
- FTEnterprise Solution ArchitectNSW
- FTICT Change AnalystSA
- FTJunior-Mid Level Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- CCInfrastructure Test Lead - Contract 6-8 wks initially - IT Services - North RydeNSW
- FTSenior Android DeveloperNSW
- FTSolution ArchitectVIC
- CCInfosphere ConsultantACT
- FTRelease Coordinator - Project ManagementQLD
- FTSecurity Lead / ConsultantNSW
- FTSenior Java DeveloperQLD
- FTWEB DesignerQLD
- CCOrganisational Change LeadNSW
- FTField Hardware Deployment EngineerNSW
- TPSystems ManagerQLD
- CCLead SAP SRM DeveloperACT
- FTSenior Applications Support AnalystSA
- TPSalesforce Functional AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Java Developers (Several positions available)QLD
- FTIT Project Manager. Ciritical permanent roleNSW