Linksys WRT1900AC Router - Performance, Value & Verdict

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Linksys WRT1900AC – Performance

WRTAC1900 acSo Linksys promises its head turning flagship will once again raise the performance bar and the results of our testing wholeheartedly agree it has. At our test distances of 2m and 10m line of sight and 15m behind two standing walls the WRT1900AC delivered breath taking wireless speeds of 81.7MBps (653.6Mbps), 75.7MBps (605.6Mbps) and 45MBps (360Mbps).

This makes it the fastest router we have tested at 2m and 10m by 5-10MBps over the EA6900, RT-AC68U and R7000 and while it is 1MBps slower than the EA6900 at 15m that is within a margin of error (and where the EA6900 held a 5-10MBps lead over its rivals). Unsurprisingly the cheaper TRENDnet TEW-818DRU is blown away. It is 10-15MBps slower at 2m and 10m then falls away drastically at 15m where its (still fast) 25.3MBps is nearly doubled by the WRTAC1900.

The trend continued at 802.11n 5GHz (graphs in the gallery above) with speeds of 40.6MBps (324.8Mbps), 40.1MBps (320.8Mbps) and 29.5MBps (236Mbps). At 2m the EA6900 edges it by 1MBps – again within the margin of error – but theWRT1900AC has a slight lead by 10m over it and the R7000 and increases it at 15m to 5-8MBps. Here the RT-AC68U trails significantly and the 818DRU again suffers as range grows being 5MBps behind at 2m, 10MBps at 10m and 20MBps at 15m.

WRTAC1900 USBThe WRTAC1900 again takes on all comers at 802.11n 2.4GHz (graphs again in the gallery above) hitting peaks of 17MBps (136Mbps), 14.4MBps (115.2Mbps) and 9.71MBps (77.68Mbps). This sees it tie with the EA6900 as the fastest speed we’ve had at 2m, tie with the R7000 for the fastest speed we’ve had at 10m and then set a new benchmark at 15m.

Linksys’ new flagship then rounds things off in fine style with the fastest USB network performance we’ve seen. Over USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 it managed 32.8MBps (262.4Mbps) and 30.7MBps (262.4MBps) which make it roughly 10 per cent faster than the R7000, a router which has produced USB speeds nearly twice as fast as any other router we’d tested.

WRTAC1900 3

Should I buy the Linksys WRT1900AC?

Looking at its performance surely the answer must be a resounding yes and it is, but with one major (and inevitable) caveat: price.

At a monstrous £249.99 the WRT1900AC is the most expensive router we’ve ever tested leaving even Draytek’s enterprise-focused routers floundering. Against its AC1900 rivals the gap is even bigger. It costs £60 more than the Asus RT-AC68U and Netgear R7000 and, crucially, £80 more than Linksys’ own EA6900.

The irony is it is the EA6900 that throws the spanner in the works. With online retailers listing it for around £150 that’s a £100 saving and it stands toe-to-toe with the WRT1900AC at most distances and only gets a pasting over USB. It also packs the same Smart WiFi functionality and looks far more discreet. For most it is the better buy and therefore remains our router of choice. Meanwhile for those on a budget the £119 TRENDnet TEW-818DRU is half the price.

However, the WRT1900AC isn’t about pros and cons or even price comparison. Its mission was clear from the start: be the fastest, rangiest, most audacious router on the market and in that it succeeds completely. As such, for the right buyer, it is impossible not to recommend.

Verdict

It is the fastest, maddest and most expensive router we have ever tested and for most it will simply be far more than they need. But this is a router built by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, and if value is no object you can’t go wrong here.

ROUND-UP: Best Routers

Score in detail

  • Performance 10
  • Value 7
  • Features 9
  • Build Quality 9
  • Usability 10
  • Design 7
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