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Linksys EA6500 802.11ac router review

Gordon Kelly



  • Recommended by TR
Linksys EA6500 802.11ac router


Our Score



  • Unparalleled wireless range
  • Class leading 802.11n 5GHz performance
  • A slick & intuitive Cloud platform
  • Two USB ports
  • Stylish, subtle design


  • Expensive
  • Still only 4 Ethernet ports

Review Price £189.00

Key Features: Dual band (2.4GHz & 5GHz) 802.11b/g/n/ac; 4x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0; 6 internal 3D antennas with high power amplifiers per band; Cisco Connect Cloud platform; Third party apps

Manufacturer: Linksys

The Linksys EA4500 is one of our favourite routers, but we found it lacked one key ingredient: 802.11ac. At the time it was a somewhat unfair criticism since this next generation networking standard had yet to be released, but the fact remained compatible products would be hitting the market in a matter of months. Keeping to that schedule is Cisco itself and now we have the 802.11ac-equipped EA6500 in our hands. Do we have a new class leader? In short: yes.


The first thing we noticed about the EA6500 is it makes no attempt to shout about its headline functionality from the rooftops. The EA line has established a discrete and stylish look and the EA6500 doesn't try to break from that. As such it is only subtly different from the EA4500, keeping the same rectangular (and wall-mountable) shape, while the metallic band down the middle has been widened and slightly sunken into the router to allow for extra ventilation grills. In all the effect makes it look slightly more muscular and powerful than the EA4500, which was clearly the aim.

Cisco has also addressed our biggest complaint about the EA4500, swapping out the moulded plastic feet for proper rubber strips. This isn't rocket science but since the old model's surprisingly pointed hard feet felt capable of scratching or scuffing delicate surfaces, it is welcome.


Aside from the design tweaks, a quick look around the back of the router reveals another welcome change: the inclusion of a second USB port. This remains a frustrating omission from many routers and means you can simultaneously network a printer and an external hard drive. Both are USB 2.0, but this standard is yet to become a bottleneck for such setups. Sadly Linksys hasn't increased the number of Gigabit Ethernet ports, however, so we're left with the usual four. We really would like to see a change here given a PC, games console, digibox and Smart TV alone will occupy all ports and households often have more wired equipment than that.

Despite this, it is inside of the EA6500 where things get interesting. Like the EA4500 this is a dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz router, but with 802.11ac added to the 802.11b/g/n variants. In line with other router makers Linksys quotes the theoretical maximums for these bands (450Mbit on 2.4GHz and 1300Mbit for 802.11ac on 5GHz) but with the inclusion of six internal 3D antennas with high power amplifiers for each band meant our expectations were high. Needless to say the EA6500 also has IPv6 support out the box.

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October 12, 2012, 1:12 am

Thanks for the informative review Gordon, and for giving it the extra page it deserved.

Before reading this I was leaning towards the Asus RT-N66U but the 5Ghz N performance and future proofing has drawn me towards the Linksys. I've seen it going for £143 (not in stock) which is only £30 more than the Asus.

The only thing in the Asus' favour is that you're spending £30 extra on the Linksys for a feature you might use during the router's lifespan. I just wonder if it's worth taking a punt on an AC router or waiting for the technology to mature (like wireless N did over its lifetime)?


October 12, 2012, 2:51 am

I've just ordered one; hope it's as good as it sounds :o)

The Amazon.com reviews seem mostly positive too.

By the way for about a week I haven't been able to log in on Firefox (I'm doing this from IE); the log in link doesn't appear. Might just be me, but worth checking.

Also when accessing the mobile site from Android I get the site appear for a second then it all goes blank white. Then an advert appears. I'm unable to see or access the site. My gf had the same happen on her phone, so it's definitely not just me. This happens both on Chrome and the built-in browser (Galaxy S3 on ICS). The problem doesn't occur on Firefox.

Martin Daler

October 12, 2012, 11:41 pm

Well done for picking up on the bronze-age standard four ports. Maybe if a few more reviewers start pressuring this point a bit then the manufacturers take a red pen to that line of their spec sheet and replace the digit 4 with an 8.


October 14, 2012, 5:40 am

Pleasure Pbryanw - it's a major product for home networking so I thought it deserved a longer write up.

I certainly prefer the EA6500 to the N66U, its performance is far superior. I note your point about 802.11ac, but if you buy a new laptop, phone, etc over the next year of two it is likely to have ac inside from mid 2013 onwards. It future proofs you which is always a wise move.

That said there is immediate benefit too before the EA6500 has much greater range than any other router we've tested at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz with 802.11n.

The great thing is now the bar has been raised everyone else will need to up their game to compete.


October 14, 2012, 5:43 am

It is a particular bugbear of mine. The only major brand router we've seen with more than 4 Ethernet ports is the Western Digital My Net N900 which has a healthy 7. Yet bizarrely the top of the range product, the 'My Net 900 Central' only has 4.

You can read my review of the Central here:

Speaking with Cisco it has plans to increase the number of Ethernet ports, but hinted that we wouldn't be seeing models for some time.


October 16, 2012, 2:29 am

And it'll be interesting to see where the Asus RT-AC66U comes in the scheme of things (here's hoping for a TR review).

Looking at the Linksys review again, something like the WUMC710 could connect all my media devices and give me AC speeds now, and if I got 181Mbit I'd be very, very happy.

I still feel we're in the early adopter stage and the hardware is a bit expensive at the moment, but it is very tempting.


October 16, 2012, 5:38 pm

The early adopter stage is exactly what we're in and you'll always pay a price premium to hop onto any new technology early. If you can wait the prices will come down and more ac integrated kit will launch on the market next year. Then again if you need the speed and can afford it there is a fairly future proofed model on the market right now. Tempting isn't it...!


December 9, 2012, 5:09 am

So the range of this router is superb. what is the media connector for and is there a need for a Range Extender. I need it to cover about 3000 sq ft. Cabin.


April 3, 2013, 2:28 pm

hi i would like to know if the link sys has also adsl2 or vdls modem or should i buy it, also what do you think about netgear d6300?
im going crazy with all those new ac wifi routers


August 8, 2013, 9:26 pm

I'm disappointed with this router.
I replaced my old d-link DIR-825 and it was bad decision. First start and problem with blinking power indicetion - on the forum this is common situation.. The cure for this is new firmware. Now another bug. You can't open administration page of the router while you are connected to the internet! Problem with HDD connected via USB.. Yesterday I tried to connect HDD drive to the USB and only first time finisched success. Next time - "no USB drive connected" - why?!?
Nice look and thats all :(
I'm very, veeeeery unhappy because of this purchase..


September 19, 2013, 3:22 pm

"It is now possible to opt out of CCC, but given this added functionality is also bolstered by an API that is seeing a steady stream of third party apps including an IP camera viewer, video streaming, device monitoring, website filtering and parental controls it would seem foolhardy to do so."

Huh?!? Trust me, there are no features a WiFi router can and needs to provide (as opposed to, say, software running on one of your desktop or laptop computers or on the IP camera, etc.) that couldn't be provided just as easily through new firmware download updates. The only thing CCC can possibly give you that you don't otherwise have is off-net configuration, and I believe people should find that to be a really questionable reason to opt into CCC, if they think about it. Just make sure your router is configured correctly before you leave home and you shouldn't need to reconfigure it again until you get back. Now, if Cisco _refuses_ to provide certain features unless you opt into CCC, then so be it. But let's not have any confusion about this: there's technical reason for it. It's just Cisco using your own lust to show off stupid human tricks against you as a bludgeon to sign you up for their "good little users" marketing program. "Come on, boy - roll over! That's a good boy!...."

Fabian D.

December 3, 2013, 9:53 pm

I have recently purchased this router but I believe this is a review of the Linksys EA6500 v1 and I purchased the Linksys EA6500 v2 and I have to say that this router is by far better than any router I have ever used. My old setup was with the Linksys EA3500 which is fairly new but the range didnt cover the whole house so I bought this with the Linksys AE6000 mini USB AC adapter and it covers the whole house plus my backyard. I live in a 3400 sq ft house so if you are looking for range then this router is what you are looking for.


February 13, 2014, 9:11 pm

Read all of these reviews before you purchase (hopefully at that point you will realize that is a bad idea), I wish I had waited until more reviews were available so I would have never made the mistake that I did.

First, the router had problems from the beginning and would randomly lock up and or reboot. Then it began to completely lock up and I would have to do a factory reset and then reconfigure to get it working again. I thought at first it might be trying to customize some settings on the router that made it so unreliable and prone to completely lock up and need to be reset. So I started taking most of the defaults with minimal customization to ensure it wasn't something I was doing that was causing the problems.

Then one day I was unable to even do a factory reset on the device and it was a complete brick. Fortunately I purchased the unit through Costco and their concierge service was on the phone when we contacted Cisco/Linksys/Belkin for support, otherwise they were wanting to charge me to troubleshoot!! So the tech had us repeat what had already been done along with some undocumented engineering steps to reach the same conclusion the device was no longer operable.

This started the nightmare RMA process in which I was told I would receive a refurbished product and that it would ship in 5-7 days. The next day I was notified they were out of stock and spent the next month waiting for them to ship a replacement (fortunately I had held on to my old router which was still functional). After several emails to Linksys they finally shipped me a replacement model and after getting it setup I realized it had many of the same bugs the first model appeared to have (needless to say, my old router worked flawlessly the entire time I was waiting for the replacement).

I completed the RMA process and shipped the old unit back via UPS as instructed which cost me approx. $20 out of my own pocket not including all of the time I wasted during this entire process. Yesterday I got a call from Linksys informing me they never received my unit and they had billed me for it since I didn't return it. Sure enough, I checked my credit card to find a charge for $239.13. So I then had to find my tracking number to prove to them it had been delivered to their dock and signed for. Now I am stuck waiting for them to reverse the charges on my credit card.

As an IT professional I have spent years working with high end Cisco products and expected the home products to carry the same quality. After this experience I will likely never again purchase a Cisco/Linksys/Belkin product for home use if I can avoid it. Now I am stuck with a refurbished $200 router that constantly has problems, can't be returned because it is past Costco's 90 day return window and doesn't work nearly as well as my 3 year old dlink. Not sure what to do at this point, I have no desire to spend hours more on the phone with their support to likely have to pay another $20 to get a crappy refurb that will likely have the same problems. And it is such a terrible product I wouldn't even feel right selling it to someone else...

Caveat emptor!


May 15, 2014, 1:39 pm

This is a very poor router. I drops the connection with devices constantly and two of my HP wireless printers can't see it at all. But worst of all is Linksys' refusal to provide any support after 90 days without charging. You would think that paying almost $200 for a router would entitle you to some support. Since the merger with Belkin, this company has gone downhill fast. My advice, stay away from Linksys products.

Sean Z

July 4, 2014, 7:53 am

Another useless review. Trusted reviews is a sham and a scam. They are obviously being paid by Linksys to afford it such high ratings when in fact, it's no better than a $50 router. Both Linksys and TR should be ashamed of themselves. Corporate Greed at it's best.

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