Linksys EA6500 802.11ac router - Cisco Connect Cloud & Performance

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Cisco Connect Cloud
Aside from 802.11ac the other key selling

point of the EA6500 is Cisco

Connect Cloud. CCC had a controversial start to life as it was a

mandatory upgrade for all EA4500 owners and while this annoyed more

advanced users, its simplicity makes adjusting router settings far easier

for everyone else.

Furthermore, as a Cloud platform it is possible to

access your router from any location by logging in at

www.ciscoconnectcloud.com or using the Android and iOS app,

which enables you to remotely add or remove devices from your network,

adjust privacy and parental settings, control guest access, order media

prioritisation and much more.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K6ViVKKxng

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,

streaming,

device monitoring,

website filtering and

parental controls it would seem foolhardy to do so.

The innovations don’t stop there either. The EA6500 comes with a ‘Simple Tap’ card that works with any NFC-enabled phone. When running the free CCC app, handsets can simply be tapped against the card to connect to the wireless network. Non NFC-enabled phones meanwhile can use the virtual Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button in the app in conjunction with the WPS button on the router to also connect without a password.

In practice, the time it takes to install the mobile app and find the card or press both WPS buttons means little time is saved compared to simply entering a password. But it’s a clever party trick none the less and especially useful to those who choose long, complex passwords.

app

The initial setup is a breeze

too, with the bundled CD getting us up and running with our chosen SSID,

passwords and WPA2 security in minutes. If you’re adverse to bundled CDs

(and in this case you shouldn’t be since it doesn’t install any

bloatware) then you can setup manually, but we’d strongly suggest

sticking to protocol here.

Performance
So the EA6500

may be packed with all the latest must-have tech, but ultimately a

router succeeds or fails depending on its level of real world

performance. Happily, we found Cisco has come up with a game changer. The

lack of compatible 802.11ac equipment means, like all other 802.11ac

routers we have tested, we had to use a bridge to attain our results

(Linksys offers the WUMC710 Universal Media Connector’– pictured

below), but that made the figures no less impressive.

Consequently

at distances of two metres, 10 metres (line of sight) and 13 metres

with two solid walls in between, the EA6500 delivered 802.11ac throughput speeds of

30.2MBps (241.6Mbit), 27.2MBps (217.6MBit) and 22.7Mbit (181.6Mbit).

Interestingly the fastest speed here is slightly slower than the

802.11ac-equipped

Netgear R6300, which managed 32.8MBps. But the real standout is range

where the EA6500 triples the R6300’s performance as distance and walls

come into effect. This also gives the EA6500 a substantial advantage

over the

Buffalo 802.11ac AirStation 1750, which only managed 26.7MB per second,

16.2MB per second and 5.61MB per second in exactly the same locations.

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