This year has seen the release of some super speedy Wi-Fi routers, using the latest and greatest technologies and chipsets. It seems that consumers just can’t get enough wireless bandwidth and manufacturers are keen to provide the solutions.
The two hottest new Wi-Fi technologies are MU-MIMO and AC5400. While we have reviewed several routers featuring MU-MIMO we haven’t yet seen one with AC5400 (or AC5300 if you choose to round down instead of up). Linksys has just updated their Max-Stream MU-MIMO range with an AC5400 device, the EA9500 (or if you want to give it it’s full name, the Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi Router).
AC5400/5300 is an update of the tri-band WiFi technology that we have seen in routers such as the TRENDnet AC3200, TP-Link Archer C3200 and ASUS RT-AC3200. The triband technology still uses a single 2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz bands, but it increases the speed on all bands to deliver 1000 Mbps over 2.4 GHz and 2167 Mbps on each 5 GHz band. Combined, this gives a total (theoretical) throughput of 5333 Mbps that rounds up or down to AC5400/5300. Now, you are never going to actually see these speeds, but the technology certainly provides a significant increase over the previous AC3200 standard.
We reviewed the Linksys EA7500 earlier this year and found that it was a great entry-level MU-MIMO router. With the EA9500, Linksys is aiming for the true enthusiast who is willing to pay to secure the latest and greatest WiFi possible. The EA9500 retails at $399/£329.99 making it one of the best value AC5400 routers available, but still costing more than twice the price of the EA7500.
Inside the EA9500, you’ll find the 4×4 Broadcom MU-MIMO chipset running at 1.4 GHz, backed up with 256 MB RAM and 128 MB Flash ROM. Linksys have kitted out the EA9500 with a whopping 8 antennas, an outstanding nine Gigabit Ethernet ports (including one WAN port), a powerful 60w PSU as well as the more usual two USB ports.
What’s in the Box?
The Linksys EA9500 arrives in a colourful retail box that is strikingly large. This allows for plenty of space to show off the features of the EA9500 and how they will benefit users with multiple wireless devices.