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Linksys WRT1900AC Router review

Gordon Kelly



  • Recommended by TR
Linksys WRT1900AC Router


Our Score


User Score


  • Class leading wireless performance
  • Exceptional range
  • Simple setup
  • The most intuitive router UI


  • Huge price tag
  • Marmite looks
  • 'Just' 4 Ethernet ports

Review Price £249.99

Key Features: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz & 5GHz WiFi; 4x Gigabit Ethernet; 1x Gigabit WAN; WPS, WPA/WPA2 security; Smart WiFi remote access platform

Manufacturer: Linksys

What is the Linksys WRT1900AC?

In short: the return of an icon. The WRTAC1900 pays homage to the WRT54G, the company’s best ever selling router, one whose design was so famous it represented ‘The Internet’ in the South Park episode Over Logging. The new arrival is also Linksys’ first router since the WRT54G to boast of support for the popular OpenWRT and DD-WRT open source firmware.

Furthermore, despite its obvious reverence for the WRT54G, the WRT1900AC is a leader in its own right packing a cutting edge AC1900 chipset and taking its place at the very top of Linksys’ product range. Yes that puts it a step above our current benchmark: the Linksys EA6900. All in all, there’s a lot to live up to.

Linksys WRT1900AC – Design

While the cues are deliberate, the WRT1900AC’s design is audacious in its own right and it won’t be to everyone’s taste. For starters it is a million miles away from the subtle grey and silver finish of Linksys’ ‘normal’ range and at 295 x 195 x 55mm (125mm including antennas) it has the largest footprint of any router we have reviewed. At 2.2Kg it is also one of the heaviest.

Meanwhile it looks like an angry beetle, an angry space beetle, an angry space beetle Transformer and that is sure to go down like a lead balloon in many households. South Park may have joked that the WRT54G tried to take over the Internet, but the WRT1900AC looks like it could pull it off.

Still if you can convince your loved ones this behemoth deserves a place in your home you won’t be disappointed with the build quality. It may be plastic like every router on the market, but it feels rock solid. Its four upgradeable antennas are more sturdy than most and its thick rubber feet are slit so it can be wall mounted.

Interestingly Linksys has slapped a fan on the WRT1900AC, a move which has split enthusiasts. One side calls it responsible and hopes it will inspire rivals to follow suit, the other claims it is unnecessary, bringing an additional point of failure and will cause undue noise. We can see both viewpoints but are tempted to back the former as it offers a failsafe yet at no time did the fan come on during our testing so it is purely a failsafe.

READ MORE: Linksys Reviews

WRTAC1900 2

Linksys WRT1900AC – Features

For a router with so much bravado you’d expect the WRTAC1900 to be packed with features, and it is. It joins a growing class of impressive AC1900 routers (the Netgear R7000, Asus RT-AC68U, budget TRENDnet TEW-818DRU and Linksys’ own class leading EA6900) and this means it packs enhanced 600Mbps 802.11n 2.4GHz performance alongside its full fat 1300Mbps 802.11ac.

That isn’t the whole story though as all previous AC1900 routers have used a Broadcom chipset. Linksys isn’t giving away any details of the chipset at the heart of the WRT1900AC other than it is made by Marvell, but it claims there are performance benefits and it does pack a faster CPU. Consequently the router can brag of a dual core 1.2GHz CPU (verses 1GHz from Netgear and 800MHz from Asus and the Linksys EA6900, while the TRENDnet is single core) that should give it extra grunt for USB performance amongst other things. It also packs 256MB RAM and 128MB of flash like all its rivals, barring the cost cutting 128MB RAM and 16MB of flash on the TRENDnet.

Where Linksys has arguably missed a trick with such an enthusiast-focussed router, however, is in including just the standard four Gigabit Ethernet ports. At this level, and for such a large and heavy router, we'd expect more. It somewhat makes up for this with a USB/eSATA split port (the first we’ve seen) plus a USB 3.0 port.

Needless to say Gigabit WAN, WPS and WPA/WPA2 security are present as well as IPv6 and VPN support though the router can’t operate as a bridge. Bridge support is nice as when a router gets old and replaced it gives it a new least of life to expand signal around the home.

ROUND-UP: Best Routers


Linksys WRT1900AC – Setup

Given Linksys and Asus have led the way in router setups in recent years it is unsurprising that the WRTAC1900 takes mere minutes to get going. Plug the WRT1900AC in, connect to either of its open SSIDs (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and it automatically opens a page in your web browser and starts the setup wizard. Here you can set your wireless SSIDs, passwords and admin password. It should be the model for all going forward.

So too should Smart WiFi which remains unquestionably the most fully formed of the so-called ‘smart’ router platforms. It lets you access your router from any location and provides access to all its settings and management of connected devices. For those paranoid about security risks this remote functionality can be disabled, but the slick drag and drop dashboard remains and will fill even the most technophobic of users with confidence.

That said Linksys also realises the WRT1900AC will appeal to hardcore users and amongst them there is reverence for the OpenWRT and DD-WRT open source router UIs. As mentioned, Linksys claims the WRT1900AC is its first router to support both standards since the WRT54G, but at the time of publishing this review both developers say there are compatibility issues and neither recommends you install their firmware. We hope the situation will change soon.

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April 24, 2014, 9:18 am

"The most untuitive router UI"
I like that, although I guess it's a typo!
With you on the 4-port limit. I'd have thought that router manufacturers would want something to distinguish themselves from the crowd. There must be users who need/want more than 4 ports, for whom more-than-four would be a valuable USP, more so than outre design.

Tim Sutton

April 24, 2014, 9:31 am

Untuitive is my new favourite thing.

Tim Sutton

April 24, 2014, 9:35 am

I really like the design of this, it looks like a stag-beetle had sex with a GameCube while watching Tron.


April 24, 2014, 11:20 am

All the other routers mentioned here has 4 ports, and those 4 ports weren't listed as a con in their reviews, it should not be listed here period.

While design can be a pro it should not be listed as a con, especially when it's subjective.
The Bugatti Veyron is not a good looking (no matter what some people say), but the enthusiasts that buy it don't buy it for it's looks.


April 24, 2014, 11:42 am

I like it, too, though not sure about the whole stag-beetle -Gamecube business.


April 24, 2014, 1:49 pm

Lol! My fave is "if value is no object you can't go wrong here." In the conclusion! :D


April 24, 2014, 2:22 pm

But it's also more expensive than all of those other routers so one might (quite rightly) expect more features with the higher price tag.

Also many negative aspects of products do not apply to all people so as a reader you are at least required to do some critical thinking on your part - the reviewers job is merely to list the concerns as they see them and let the readers draw their own conclusions from there. Very few products are perfectly suited for all consumers, you just need to find the one that best suits your needs.


April 25, 2014, 6:56 pm

PC sales are on the decline, everything is going wireless. People are buying Laptops instead of Desktops, and Tablets instead of Laptops.

People might upgrade their routers for the fastest WiFi, but we have been on gigabit ethernet for a while now, old routers can be turned into switches, or you can buy cheap switches if you need the expansion.
Extra ports is not a differentiator. It could be a 'pro' if there, but not having it shouldn't be a con.

Gordon Kelly

April 28, 2014, 11:22 am

In targeting a niche audience different requirements come to the forefront - not enough Ethernet ports has long been one of their biggest complaints with 'mainstream' routers.

Jason Woodson

May 6, 2014, 10:38 am

I thought that was what a switch was for? Just buy a 65 dollar 8 port gigabit switch and be done with it. Its really not a big deal at all.

Jason Woodson

May 6, 2014, 10:40 am

I need all the processing power I can get from ym router as I stream TONS of HD videos wired and wirelessly throughout the house. However, I also rely on VoIP and use a ton of that as well and since I do both at the same time it only makes since to have a router such as the WRT1900ac.

Jason Woodson

May 6, 2014, 10:50 am

I'm a desktop computer user. I had a very nice Asus Gaming laptop I spent 1500 bucks on and never used it and it was a waste of money. I constantly went back to my desktop because everything was much faster like the optical drives and hard drives. I know SSD's have come down in price which negates the hard drive speed being the issue but the limited space and read/writes turns me away do to the fact I do a lot of video editing. Desktops are easier to upgrade and with a laptop other than upgrading ram your pretty much stuck with what you got. Bluray burner drives for laptops are slower and not as accurate when it comes to burning blurays and dvd's (i used a disc quality checker so my claim is valid). Desktops still rule for people who want to handle heavy tasks efficiently and no laptop,tablet, or mobile phone can come close. In fact alot of folks are going back to desktops due to the performance at a lower cost and its actually easier to work at a desktop for longs hours over a laptop. However light computer users are going to tablets and mobile phones. The laptop will likely die but desktops will be around forever. I know that this was to be about the router but I just had to say my piece because everyone is claiming desktops are dead and that is soooo far from the truth.


May 7, 2014, 3:26 pm

Not gonna debate the merits of a Laptop versus a Desktop PC.
Fact of the matter is, PC shipments on a whole has decreased, and is continually decreasing.
Here is an article from 2012 explaining the breakdown of the different segments: http://www.theguardian.com/tec...

While desktop and laptops shipments has declined on a whole, desktops have declined even more than laptops.

The fact that you require a desktop PC doesn't make that any less true. If you have no need for your laptop you can send it my way, I will pay for shipping.

Jason Woodson

May 10, 2014, 1:58 am

Really I think you should think again. What you may have been true at one point but it no longer holds water. Consoles are dying because PC's perform better so PC are picking up like crazy in the game market. The word that has been use is an explosion of PC sales. read here, http://www.forbes.com/sites/ja...

Also People like things that can do more that one thing while tablets can check email, play basic games, and make phone calls a PC can do so much more in the home like be a media center and have PC connected to TV and be used as a monitor to play games on or just surf the net as well as place a phone and it can do all these things at one time if you wish.

Furthermore, the figures you see of PC sales declining are stock computers that you buy at Wal-mart or Best Buy. Most gamers don't buy such machines as they build there own.




May 17, 2014, 1:28 am

Warn against buying this machine!
This is the worst router on the market! And while the most expensive!
Scary, is not stable. The device is able to suspend / restart after a few hours. Software is poor. The range and performance is average.
And what is the worst! Support do not know, and help is none!
Please try to read the forum company linksys, the same problems!
DO NOT RECOMMEND THE UNIT unless someone wants to throw mud at $ 250


May 17, 2014, 1:29 am

and ... Articles are sponsored and are not reliable!

Tony Dewhurst

June 11, 2014, 8:08 pm

21 pages of unhappy customers experiencing random reboots http://community.linksys.com/t...
Do Not Buy This Router or you will be D'Linked


July 12, 2014, 10:22 am

Well I can safely say this is the most infuriating & frustrating pieces of equipment I have ever owned. I was hoping the firmware update was going to fix a multitude of problems, but nothing changed. Random internet connection drops happened more often & whenever a new item was added to the wi-fi, the whole thing came crashing down.
If I attempted to make a router in my shed armed with my low electronic & telecommunications knowledge, I'd expect a router as bad as this. Not from a company who should know better.

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