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Linksys EA8500 Max-Stream Wi-Fi router review: MU-MIMO works (more or less)

Michael Brown | May 22, 2015
It's too early in the MU-MIMO life cycle to buy a MU-MIMO router, but the EA8500 makes a fabulous host for a NAS drive.

I then repeat the process, first moving the single 10GB file back from the portable SSD to the desktop, and then the 10GB collection of files from the portable SSD to the desktop. These are read tests, because the files are being read from the portable SSD and written to the SSD on the desktop. In all four tests, the EA8500 soared over the other four routers I compared it to, in some cases delivering quadruple the performance of the competition. Very impressive.

Should you buy a Linksys EA8500?
Given that there are no MU-MIMO 802.11ac client adapters (or smartphones or tablets, for that matter) on the market today, the biggest benefit you'll get from a Linksys EA8500 today is phenomenal performance when sharing a USB hard drive over your network. You also get great performance with multiple clients hardwired to a second EA8500 configured as a wireless bridge.

Apart from those two scenarios, you'll get higher performance from an admittedly more expensive tri-band AC3200-class router, such as the Asus RT-AC3200U or the Netgear Nighthawk X6. Personally, I've been very satisfied with the Linksys WRT1900AC, even though it's "only" a dual-band router; I've been using it in my own home network since it came to market.

The latest and greatest isn't always the best. I'm giving MU-MIMO some time to mature before giving it a "buy" recommendation.


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