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Linksys Smart AC Router EA6500 Review

Watch The other day I was telling you that the new Linksys Smart Wi-Fi EA6500 router was already on sale in Spain, and that it uses a unit to realize an in-depth analysis, similarly to its younger sibling, the EA4500 router, which I tried out a few months ago.

Its complete name is Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 HD Video Pro EA 6500 – hard to say without a breath – and is Cisco’s first router to count on WiFi AC technology, which allows it double bandwidth at 450 + 1300 Mbps. Furthermore, it has two USB ports to connect our hard drives and turn them into network drives, and Smart Wi-Fi from Cisco’s Control Menu, which we can access remotely from any computer or smartphone thanks to Cisco Connect Cloud.

Now, let’s cut to the chase and see if AC technology has that much speed to offer, if the extra outlay that the EA6500 (219 Euro) says it’ll get is worth it along with the universal AC connector (129 Euro) compared to the 149 Euro the EA4500 model costs, since it’s a very good router with double N bandwidth (450+450 Mbps).

Before starting, I would like to share a short anecdote that could’ve tarnished the whole trial, and it’s that the installation program I downloaded from their website was corrupted – I couldn’t try the one from the CD because my Macbook’s Super Drive is dead – so I had to configure it manually through their IP address. Nothing too hard, but a small booklet with these instructions would be nice, so as to prevent these cases.

Speed Test

One of the biggest advantages that the EA4500 router provides with regard to my computer is higher speed and stability than the Wi-Fi network, something that the EA6500 performs just as well, although without a notable difference between one and the other, even with the universal AC connector connected to my computer through LAN, which is the first to use the AC 5Ghz bandwidth and up to 1300 Mbps.

Maybe with a connection with more than 10 real Mbps like mine would show a difference, but in my case, there were identical results.

The case changes when we want to make a backup in a hard drive connected to the router. Here, the EA6500 router tops the EA4500 router’s speed (45Mbps against 40Mbps), but it’s still too far from the speed that a hard drive connected directly to the computer by USB (250 Mbps). It’s a shame, not having a network hard drive to connect to the router’s Ethernet port; it would probably up the speed.

Remote Video Playback

When the difference is clear is when we use the hard drive as a multimedia disc, playing the content remotely from the console. The EA4500 router has jerks when playing videos in Full HD without much compressing, taking a long time to load and slowing down when we speed forward, while the EA6500 model has smooth playback, and we can speed forward or backward as though we were watching the video on our computer.

So if your thing is watching HD movies in your computer from the classroom, then the EA6500 might interest you, because you’ll notice a great difference between speed and comfort. For network backup, the difference is small with regard to the EA4500, although incomparable with my internet provider’s router, which is not at all easy to set up.

Other Interesting Functions

I haven’t wanted to emphasize all the functions that the EA4500 router already incorporates, such as parental control, the possibility to prioritize content and devices to use more bandwidth – perfect for video games, for example – or even the option to disconnect devices from the network at set times, plus the different apps that various developers have made to get more advantages out of it.

Nonetheless, the EA6500 router does include a very catching novelty, as it integrates an NFC card to share data from our network with other compatible devices (thinking mainly about mobile phones). So, when a friend comes home, he or she just has to pass the card for his compatible phone (there aren’t many yet) to get access to our network. Neat for those who tend to forget their Wi-Fi password.

Conclusions

Obviously, the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi EA6500 is a great router, with some extra functions that the EA4500 router doesn’t have, such as an additional USB port and, above all, greater speed, but is also much more expensive and more bulky.

If you want the best of the best router, then the EA6500 router with the universal AC connector is what you need. Now, if you’re looking for a good router at a good price, the EA4500 router is a better value, especially now that there are still few devices that include wireless network cards compatible with AC and make the need for a universal connector necessary, which, other than expensive, is just an extra to have on your desk or the TV table.

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