IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Linksys today announced that it has started shipping the new WRT1900AC, which will be available for sale at Best Buy stores throughout the US or at the Linksys.com store. The new WRT features four external antennas for optimal wireless coverage throughout the home and has been certified for the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard. The new wireless standard delivers best-in-class performance and includes intelligent technologies such as beamforming to further improve the wireless signal range. The design of the new Linksys WRT1900AC Dual Band Wi-Fi Router is inspired by the iconic WRT54G that was introduced 11 years ago. The new WRT has been equipped with powerful hardware such as a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, 128MB flash memory, eSATA and USB ports. The new WRT ships with Linksys Smart Wi-Fi setup and management tools, and Linksys has also been collaborating with OpenWrt to make sure that an open source alternative is available in the coming weeks.
Additional features have been added to the new WRT in the development process after the initial announcement at CES. Next to the extremely powerful router functionality, the new WRT now can be configured as a range extender or wireless bridge. Software features have also been added including support for the No-IP dynamic DNS service. Linksys is also planning to add Wi-Fi Scheduling and an OpenVPN-based VPN server to the WRT in a future firmware update to enable users to establish a secure remote connection to the router from anywhere in the world.
Like other 802.11ac routers, data is transmitted to wireless clients by the WRT using three spatial streams. Unlike other 802.11ac routers the new WRT is equipped with four adjustable and removable antennas. The router automatically selects and utilizes the best three out of the four antennas to transmit and receive data to connected devices, depending on their location in the home. This antenna diversity technology helps provide greater range and coverage compared to more traditional three-antenna devices, so all connected devices can achieve the best performance wherever they are located.
With the launch of the new WRT, Linksys has added a new Smart Wi-Fi tool called Network Map in the browser interface of Linksys Smart Wi-Fi. Network Map is a visual representation of the home network displaying the router and its connected devices. The tool enables users to see what devices are using the most bandwidth, how strong the signal is to a device or to which wireless band it is connected. Network Map provides a more intuitive and graphical approach to monitor and manage a home network.
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. For more information, visit linksys.com, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or watch us on YouTube.
*The maximum performance for wireless is derived from IEEE Standard 802.11 specifications. Actual performance can vary, and might result in lower wireless network capacity, data throughput rate, range and coverage. Performance depends on many factors, conditions and variables, including distance from the access point, volume of network traffic, environment building materials and construction, operating system used, mix of wireless products used, interference and other adverse conditions. To achieve maximum performance, routers must be paired with coordinating adapters/and or computers in both the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz band such that the maximum performance can be maximized for each GHz band.
The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1900 (WRT1900AC)($328.98 at Amazon)(Opens in a new window) is without question the most ambitious consumer wireless router networking hardware available. The unit is a big, beefy router, with a big, beefy price to match. You get a lot for your coin, however, including very good performance. The WRT1900AC offers other goodies, too, such as the ability to flash the firmware with soon-to-be-availale OpenWRT (giving networking geeks the potential for complete network control), excellent performance as a NAS (with a USB drive attached to its USB 3.0 port), wonderful QoS, great range in the 2.4GHz band, and easy, well-honed remote access and management.
A caveat is in order, however, when it comes to the router's excellent performance: Testing with a second WRT1900AC router set up as a bridge produced amazing wireless throughput, the likes of which we'd never seen. But that throughput is only achieved using another 802.11ac device as a bridge. You won't see such speeds with most of the mobile devices and wireless adapters you're likely to own.
Four short, fat dipole antennas attach to the sides and the rear of this router. I really like their sturdy construction. My focus on the antennas may seem strange, but many times when we review routers with external antennas, they're so flimsy, they flop over or end up breaking. The WRT1900AC's antennas are not only solid, but they are also designed with three-stream spatial architecture that allows the router to use the best three out of its four signals to transmit and receive data.
Once the power LED stops blinking, you connect to the preconfigured network on the router. This is done by connecting wirelessly (the SSID and passphrase are printed on the bottom of the router) or by connecting a computer to one of the LAN ports on the router via an Ethernet cable.
The router includes most of the features typical home network users would need, such as USB ports that support printer and USB drive sharing. However, besides a few advanced capabilities such as VLAN tagging and support for Dynamic DNS (including NoIP), there aren't many small-business-class or advanced features in the WRT1900AC. For example, there is no full VPN, although VPN passthrough is supported. Also, you can't really tweak wireless settings granularly. There is no option to set the 5GHz band at 802.11ac-only mode at a channel width of 80MHz. But that's okay, because there aren't yet enough wireless devices that support 802.11ac-only. Instead, you can run 5GHz in a mixed-mode setting which includes 11ac and 802.11n/a; you would then set the channel width to auto.
WRT1900AC PerformanceWhen I tested the WRT1900AC's wireless performance with another WRT1900AC set up as a bridge, it turned in the highest throughput I've ever seen in a wireless device review: 449Mbps at 5GHz. This may not sound like much when a router's theoretical combined maximum throughput is 1,900Mbps, but this is amazing throughput testing in our very real-world wireless environment in a high-rise building with many, many access points. The throughput in a home or small-business environment with fewer APs around should be phenomenal.
In 2.4GHz mixed mode at 15 feet from the Linksys router, wireless throughput averaged 83Mbps. Turning the 2.4GHz band into N-Only mode, the throughput averaged 78Mbps, beating the Nighthawk's 69Mbps average, and besting the Asus' average of 65Mbps.
While the RT-AC66U and Nighthawk both clocked better performance at the 5GHz band, there isn't enough difference between the three routers' numbers to make the wireless throughput speed at the 5GHz band wildly different, no matter which of them you chose. In environments with the lots of HD video streaming, the Asus's nimbler performance might make a slight difference.
But what about everyone else There is no question that you get an excellent router in the WRT1900AC. It's very easy to set up and manage, and it's powerful. Yet, for the price, you really aren't getting any better performance when connected to the current-gen wireless clients or adapters. Most are not built to leverage the full speed of triple stream 802.11ac. They are coming, but they're not here yet. You will see performance just as good from slightly cheaper routers, such as the Asus RT-AC66U or the Netgear Nighthawk, although the WRT1900AC has the edge in range.
We researched over 100 different products, then bought the 10 most promising WiFi routers on the market in our quest to find the best one for your networking needs. We extensively tested the performance of these products head-to-head, rigorously measuring performance through a series of objective tests. We also compared and scored how convenient and easy to operate each router is and tried out all the different features. Read on to find out which router is the best of them all, which is the best bargain option, and which one excels for heavy-duty applications.
Of all the WiFi routers we tested, the ASUS RT-AX86S (AX5700) was the best overall. It is a dual-band router that offers exceptional performance where it matters the most, especially with regard to 5 GHz throughput. You can rest assured that your modern devices will be supported with this router. High-priority devices can receive dedicated bandwidth, and your kids can be safe with robust parental controls. Getting this router set up in your home is also super easy, so you'll be able to use devices quickly with very little disruption.
All around, the TP-Link Archer AX55 is a great performer. It outperformed the majority of the WiFi routers across a large number of our test metrics, including our 2.4 GHz speed tests, where it was the absolute best model for the band. TP-Link also helps you get up and going with simple setup procedures and then helps you keep things reliable and safe with great QoS options and robust parental controls.
For this review, our experts purchased 10 of the best WiFi routers, basing the purchasing decision on in-depth research and ratings. Our team spent hundreds of hours comparing, measuring, and evaluating the top models for 2.4 GHz throughput, 5 GHz throughput, range, and user-friendliness. Our testing simulated real-world uses and applications to collect accurate data and inform our expert recommendations. 59ce067264