Switching to the 2.4 GHz band, transfer speeds were again very fast. Speeds of 134 Mbps leave us with no complaints from an AC1200 router, in terms of performance.
So it’s clear to see that file transfers on the Linksys WRT1200AC, both wired and wireless, are handled well, but this router does so much more. Let’s take a look at the additional features that Linksys hopes will persuade you to upgrade.
Simple and clear user interface
Firstly, the WRT1200AC’s user interface is fantastic. It’s clear, concise and lets you see the information that’s the most important to you. Each section of the web-based management console has a widget that you can choose to place on the home pages, allowing you to customise the view and focus on the items you look at most often.
The Network Map shows you a list (a big one in my case) of all network devices in your home and how they are connected. The list can be filtered to show as many or as few of the various device categories you’d like to see. Need to know what’s using your 2.4 GHz bandwidth? Turn off the other categories and see only those devices.
You can rename individual devices to make it easier to know what is what – you can even change the icon for each device too, a nice touch in my opinion.
Now I don’t know about you but I have lots of friends and family that pop over from time to time, and with the mobile signal at my house being terrible they all want to use my Wi-Fi. Not a problem, of course, but my wireless network password (supplied by my ISP years ago) doesn’t exactly roll off of the tongue! While I have it memorised, I have to repeat it to my guests at least four times until they finally get it right (or just enter it myself). Furthermore, handing your wireless password out isn’t the most secure (even to friends) – the Linksys WRT1200AC certainly makes things simpler here with a section dedicated to guest user access.
Guests can have access to both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands, and you can also limit the total number of guests. You can enable a password of your choice, make it as simple as you like and upon attempting to connect to your guest network, users will be provided with a log-in page – much like a wireless hotspot. They enter the password and will be automatically connected to your guest network. Better still, they won’t have to enter the password again on future visits (as long as you don’t change it, of course!). As before, you’ll find a simple widget which can be placed on your main router page, so it’s quick and easy to activate the guest functionality as required. No guests around? Switch off guest access in a second.
The parental controls on this router are also very granular, allowing you to limit the times individual devices can access the Internet at large or you can lock down specific websites. I find Parent Controls to be a great option to limit my PS4 Internet access, so it’s not using up all of the available bandwidth when the family needs it. So if you don’t have any little people at home that you want to keep away from the darker side of the web, Parental Controls can be tailored for other uses too.
Now this is a feature I hadn’t come across on my existing router. Media Prioritization allows you to give priority to individual devices and apps on your network so they always have the bandwidth required to perform their tasks, e.g. steaming music, TV shows and movies from online services Netflix and, of course, online gaming. A number of applications and games are preset and can be enabled quickly, but you can add anything else you may have.
External Storage/NAS Capabilities
As we all seem to have exploding media collections nowadays, it’s handy to be able to share the media we may have stored on external hard drives. Using the USB or USB/eSATA ports on the rear of the WRT1200AC, you can connect an external hard drive and give access its files across your wired and wireless network. If you choose to do so you can also access these files from remote locations.
While the concept sounds great, I had a number of issues sharing data. Firs,y whenever I plugged in an external drive, the WRT1200AC’s wireless signal completely cut out. I tried a reboot of both the router and the PCs I was trying to work from but it didn’t make any difference. As soon as I disconnected the external hard drive (in this instance it was a 2 TB external USB 3.0 powered drive formatted in NTFS) the Wi-Fi came back to life. Even with the latest firmware onboard, the WRT1200AC suffered from what looks like a pretty nasty bug.
Our review continues over the page.