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Linksys WRT1900ACS Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router, Open Source ready, eSATA / USB 3.0 Ports
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs Corporate musical chairs can be a good thing! 04/24/2016

This review is from: Linksys WRT1900ACS Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router, Open Source ready, eSATA / USB 3.0 Ports

Pros: Although Linksys is approaching it's 30th anniversary in business, they didn't make on to most people's radar until the ubiquitous WRT54G hit the market in 2002 (of which I have owned and hacked many). Then they were acquired by Cisco in 2003, subsequently practically run into the ground for 10 years, and finally sold off to Belkin in 2013. I expected this to be another downturn, but Belkin has done a good job of bringing the company back to it's core business and appeal that made it successful in the days of yore. This is reinforced by the classic shape and color scheme of the WRT1900ACS.

The beauty is far more than skin deep, though. As a career IT professional of more than 20 years, Linksys has earned a reputation with me since the Cisco acquisition as a mediocre to good brand with disproportionately astronomical prices. Although the WRT1900ACS is at the high end of their product line, it is no more expensive than most top-shelf routers and is thoroughly packed with great features and robust performance.

Setting the 2.4 and 5.2 GHz bands to the same SSID/encryption/key automatically enables band steering, a feature normally found only on enterprise-level standalone access points, and it works well. Wireless clients can then automatically switch between bands to the strongest one without the user having to manually jump between separate wireless networks or weigh the pros/cons and choose one.

The range is excellent, with both bands covering every corner of my brick 2100 square foot suburban split-level house easily, along with the 9000 square foot yard when using a TP-Link Archer T8E wireless adapter in a puny HP Pavilion P2-1033W desktop. My Lenovo laptop even had coverage a good ways down the street. It made syncing up the media library in the tiny Plex server in my wife's Venza for back seat passengers painless.

The external antennas are a good departure from other modern designs, and I credit them for the excellent range. They use standard antenna connections, so larger antennas can be installed for even greater range if it is needed.

Unlike a lot of routers, the USB3 ports actually do perform at USB3 speeds. SMB connections to SSD's and HDD's connected to them were relatively indistinguishable from being locally connected. The presence of eSATA was also cool, but I didn't test it and the rapid deprecating of eSATA to USB3 makes it primarily ornamental and little other than a marketing bullet point to all but the rarest of users.

Throughput on the internal switch is excellent and I have yet to saturate a port, no matter how demanding of a load I placed on them.

The firmware was a little buggy out of the box, but a new one was available and updating to it quickly stabilized all issues. It includes everyone's favorites, like port triggering and forwarding, good firewall controls, mac whitelisting and blacklisting, WPS, QoS, and a Guest WiFi. Awesome notable additions are an OpenVPN server (which I love and use heavily), built-in Ookla speed test, and a surprisingly accurate network map.

Best of all, Linksys is no longer making an active effort to lock users out of the firmware and are now actively advertising OpenWRT compatibility. Want to expand this router's usefulness WAY above and beyond factory? Pick your favorite WRT build and flash it in! Most of the good ones have already been ported to this model and it has CPU/memory to spare for them to include all features instead of you having to choose one with some features stripped out because it didn't fit into the EEPROM. Way to win back the hearts of the die-hard nerd set, Linksys!

For number lovers, my 300Mb/s cable pipe speed tested at 322Mb/s from BEHIND this router (on a wired connection through an uplinked Procurve managed switch). Excellent. The aforementioned HP desktop pulled down just under 300Mb/s over Wi-Fi with both bands connected. Not bad!

Cons: There's little to complain about, but some things do warrant mentioning.

It's as big as Texas and can't be stood on end. Plan a pretty big footprint on your shelf or desk for it.

Why the heck is the WPS button on the back? That's pretty inconvenient. It reminds me of Cisco-era designs.

Although feature-rich, the firmware is not the easiest to navigate. You can put your most commonly used sections on the main page, but you'll eventually spend more time than you should digging for that one setting. It's still better than most, but I wish it was better. The EA6500 I reviewed in March of 2013 had a better layout, and I'm pretty sure that was a Cisco-era design.

By no means were any of my complaints big enough to remove an egg.

Other Thoughts: It's hard to convey the gravity of how well this router has performed from the day it came out of the box. The entire infrastructure of our IT consulting business is based out of our home office, so the demands we have placed on this router have not been small, and it has delivered.

In fact, we are so impressed with this router that we have decommissioned our pfSense firewall in favor of it. Anyone familiar with pfSense will know what an endorsement that is of this router.

If you've got the budget and want a reliable, fast router or need good features for small enterprise, GET THIS ONE.

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Seagate Backup Plus 4TB Portable External  Hard Drive with 200GB of Cloud Storage & Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 - STDR4000100
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: I was shipped this unit some time back for testing, but a terrible car crash (danged drunk drivers!) nearly killed me shortly after the holidays and caused me to get backlogged on my Eggxpert reviews. It's a miracle I haven't been blackballed from the program.

This hard drive is extremely similar to a 1TB model that I was sent a few years ago, with some pretty big improvements. The case feels much more sturdy and rugged, the included cable is longer, the capacity is (obviously) four times as large, and it is considerably faster.

Because of my personal delays, I actually put it to more use than I usually do a test item before writing the review. This drive can perform all expected tasks of an external drive easily and with aplomb. I have used it to shuttle large amounts of data between my office and customer sites, used it with Backup Exec as well as Windows Server's integrated backup, imaged to and from it in Ghost32 from a DOS environment, all in various OS's including live ones like the WinPE builds on my Hiren's USB as well as a few Linux distros, and as I type this a backup of my domain controller is being written to it for use to run a bare metal restore to dissimilar hardware (we're upgrading, yay!). It never misses a beat no matter what I throw at it.

I haven't checked with a thermometer, but as far as I can tell there is no significant heat produced by the case, so it is dispersing the heat of the drive very well, but then again it's only a 5400RPM.

Being powered by the USB is a big plus, as I can just throw it in a briefcase and carry it around without having to fumble with a power cord. I can imagine some cheap hardware not having enough power capacity available on a USB port to reliably power it, but this hasn't happened to me yet in literally hundreds of computers I have connected it to. Even the USB3 port on a Linksys WRT1900ACS router had no problem with it (but that is a beefy router, YMMV with cheaper routers).

It also runs essentially silent, even when spinning up or under heavy load.

Cons: It's my job to find fault with the hardware I'm sent, but this is one of those cases where it was very hard to do. Considering the severe enterprise-level demands I have placed on this drive without a single problem, how can I complain?

The best I can offer is that the warranty is disappointing. Doesn't Seagate have more faith in their product than one year?

Other Thoughts: The price is good, the performance is excellent, and the capacity is as big as one can hope for these days without needing external power. I can't recommend this drive enough for practically any application that calls for easily removable external storage.

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iRULU U8 Smart Watch Bluetooth Google Android and Apple iOS Compatible Music Play Photo Function Fitness and Sleep Tracker - White
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • neweggOwned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: You know, if an item only has a few reviews and it's rating is low, the rating is automatically suspect. Any factory can barf out a few bad units when mass producing a product. Or just a few incompetent reviewers can skew the rating of a good product in the wrong direction. I have quite a bit of faith in the knowledge and talent of my fellow eggxperts, so surely the poor ratings were due to a few bad units, right? After all, this watch has handy features like a pedometer, altimeter, sleep tracker, fitness meter, and other goodies. It can even initiate calls on your phone, display and compose messages on the phone, and show you the phone's address book. It all works once you get it working, so it sounds great, right? Read on.

Cons: I think this thing came in a cereal box as the prize at the bottom. The construction was as flimsy and chitzy as any piece of electronics I have ever handled, toy or business-grade. The touchscreen was terribly prone to scratches and not particularly sensitive or accurate, so you often find yourself in the wrong app and trying to find your back to where you were. The text is generally painfully small to read on the screen and the resolution is low enough that enlarging it with a magnifying glass turns it into a blob of pixels. The app for connecting it to your phone is hard to find and tricky to configure (the QR codes included on the HORRIBLE instructions don't point to anywhere useful to someone who doesn't speak Chinese).

It just plain looks and feels like a toy on your wrist.

Oh, and did I mention that my first review sample was DOA and had to be replaced? That makes 2 eggxperts to have the exact same experience! Except that my second sample never died, although it might as well.

Other Thoughts: I really wanted to be the one who had some good things to say about this watch and raise the review average. Alas, I agree with the others. The only reason I gave it a second egg is because it does actually work if you have the patience to get it working, but I suggest waiting for smartwatch technology to mature a little bit and spending more than $20-$30 on it.

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Jason H.'s Profile

Display Name: Jason H.

Date Joined: 02/04/03

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  • Reviews: 67
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  • First Review: 08/18/11
  • Last Review: 04/24/16
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