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Linksys E8350 AC2400 4X4 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router, Optimal for HD Video Streaming and Lag-Free Gaming
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Fast, fast, fast. If you aren't getting high speeds with this router, you don't have the right client equipment. Paired with a dual-stream 802.11ac 867Mbps USB 3.0 adapter, I hit a downlink speed of 26.1MB/s and an uplink speed of 22.4 MB/s. Folks, if you think you could hit that with an older 802.11n router or even low-cost 802.11ac routers, think again.

Also, mounting a high-speed USB3 thumb drive via a wired connection provided high-speed throughput: downlink was 44.4MB/s and uplink 28.5MB/s. Yes, that's way, way faster than any directly-connected USB2 drive could achieve, and it's nearly "NAS-class" speed.

As an aside, I found 802.11n 2.4GHz speed to be out of this world, achieving between 7MB/s and 14MB/s. But you shouldn't be buying this router for use only with 2.4GHz clients, as most clients will be far too weak to take advantage of this. It's just a nice perk if you have a few older devices with robust 802.11n wireless capability.

Compared to the Linksys EA6900 router I have, 802.11ac routing was similarly-fast (limited no doubt by the lack of any clients capable of hitting the speeds of the E8350), but 2.4GHz routing was much faster, as was the mounted USB3 drive.

Cons: This router is big! At 10.25" x 7.5" x 2", it's definitely biggest router I've ever used. And that doesn't include the four antennas mounted around the edges!

Also, I was a bit surprised that the E8350's USB3 port doesn't allow drives to be mounted directly from within the Networking menu in Windows (which I did with its predecessor the EA6900). Instead, I had to run an app offered in the Direct Connect software on each of the PCs I wanted to have access to my USB3 drive. That is pretty inconvenient, to say the least, and I know it didn't have to be this way, since Linksys provided direct mounting on previous products.

And just a concern about the marketing of all the latest AC2400 products - there are no quad-stream 802.11ac 1733Mbps clients available, so the most you'll ever get unless you bridge two routers together is 802.11ac 1300Mbps, and even the triple-stream clients required for that are rare. Overall, the roll-out of clients is lagging WAY behind router technology at this point, so I question the value of moving to 1733Mbps at this point.

Other Thoughts: I'm pretty shocked at all the terrible reviews of this product, along with just about every 802.11ac router on the market. I think users often don't realize exactly what the benefits of new router technology is. The 802.11ac band wasn't designed to provide greater distance - in fact it trails off much faster than 802.11n. Instead, it provides ground-breaking speed, and the four antennas provide quad-stream operations (not longer range). In my tests, there's just no question that this router achieves 802.11ac-class speed.

By the way, people complain about the lack of a front-mounted status light, but what's ironic about that is that people also complained about the older EA6900 actually having a front-mounted status light. I guess Linksys just can't win here.

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TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT High-speed AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit, up to 500Mbps
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Good alternative where wireless doesn't work 01/31/2015

This review is from: TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT High-speed AV500 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit, up to 500Mbps

Pros: Worked on the other side of the house from my wireless adapter, where I just didn't get reliable wireless on the 802.11n band. Setup was incredibly easy - just plug one adapter into a wall near your router, using one of the included ethernet cables to connect it to the router, and plug another adapter in near your device, connecting it to your device with the other ethernet cable in the box. Perfect for PCs and home theater equipment, since it doesn't require drivers. You can "pair" the devices for added security, if you wish.

Cons: Speed varies a lot. I've found everything from 35-65Mbps for both uplinks and downlinks, depending on the time of day. It seems to be worse at night, perhaps because more lights are on in the house. This was tested on both the Internet and my intranet, so it wasn't the fault of my Internet service, which is actually 120Mbps. My high-end 802.11ac wireless devices are capable of 200-250Mbps when in range, so this Powerline kit is much, much slower.

Other Thoughts: There's some confusion reflected in the user reviews about the speed rating of this device. The Mbps rating never reflects real life throughput, regardless of the networking product you're using. For instance, even ultra-high-end 802.11ac 1.3Gbps products only achieve 300Mbps. Put simply, buy a Powerline product to provide networking where wireless doesn't work, not because you want something faster than wireless that does work as designed.

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TP-LINK Archer C9 Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

3 out of 5 eggs A value play in the AC1900 field 01/05/2015

This review is from: TP-LINK Archer C9 Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router

Pros: Sleek, upright design makes it easy to position out of the way, and hides the bundle of cables extending out the back somewhat. Includes both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. Easy to set up.

Cons: Performance simply isn't good enough at this point in the game. Across my intranet, using a triple-stream 802.11ac bridge placed about 40 feet from the router, I achieved the following speeds:
Downstream: 17.3MB/s
Upstream: 24.0MB/s

Yes, this is fast, but not fast enough. It doesn't match the 20.5MB/s and 24.4MB/s I measured using a competing AC1900 router from a big name that costs just slightly more.

More concerning was the implementation of file sharing. Using a ultra-fast USB 3.0 thumb drive (plugged into the USB 3.0 port) I was only able to get 11MB/s read speeds via a hard-wired connection to the Archer. That compares to 20MB/s over wireless that my other router achieved. Furthermore, TP-Link uses a limited-access file sharing method - it functions as a media server, but you cannot mount the drive or write to the media, meaning it will not work as a backup solution.

Other Thoughts: TP-Link is relatively new to the AC1900 arena, where other big names have been operating for quite some time. It's a difficult place to compete, with many of those big names fumbling badly and withdrawing products from the market. That being said, there are some established players that have proven themselves worthy. I've been using an AC1900 router from another manufacturer for over a year that has performed well for me, other than the occasional dropout, and that's what I've compared the Archer to here.

For TP-Link to really distinguish itself, it either needed to compete on performance or compete on price. In my opinion it hasn't really been aggressive enough on price, given that it's not bringing any more performance to the table. Coming out a year after its competitors, this AC1900 router, which no doubt uses many of the same components, should have been significantly less expensive. It's not. Yes, you'll save perhaps $10 or $20 over the big names for a similar experience, but that's not enough. The poor implementation of file sharing makes the Archer all the more questionable as a high-end router.

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Ari A.'s Profile

Display Name: Ari A.

Date Joined: 04/23/06

Achievements:

  • Top 1000 Reviewer
  • 100 Reviews
  • Reviews: 107
  • Helpfulness: 57
  • First Review: 07/16/06
  • Last Review: 01/31/15
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