Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream MU-MIMO - Performance and Verdict

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Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream – Performance

Although MU-MIMO should result in better performance when using multiple devices, in terms of maximum throughput its presence here didn’t help the EA7500 to set any records. At 5GHz, the EA7500 hit 63MB/s at a range of 1m, which trails the 70MB/s+ of the fastest models.
At 5m through two brick walls it fared better, though, hitting 40MB/s, which is the second fastest we’ve recorded. However, at 7m and down a floor this dropped to 13.5MB/s, some way behind the 25MB/s of the fastest I’ve tested.
Using the 2.4GHz band the EA7500 is similarly middle-of-the-road. At 1m it hit an average of 13.4Mb/s, compared to high teens for most of the competition and even 24.2MB/s for the ASRock G10. At 5m it managed 6.6MB/s, which actually beats the G10 but still trails the 10MB/s+ of some other competitors. Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream MU-MIMO
Finally at 7m it hit 6.1MB/s, which again was behind the G10 (8.9MB/s) and WRT1900ACS (14.7MB/s). All these figures reflect a router that still provides much of the speed you’d hope for from a high-end AC1900 router, but it’s just not the fastest out there.
It’s when using this router with multiple devices that it should really show what it’s capable of, and unfortunately that’s something I’m not yet equipped to test in a quantitative manner. All I can say is that this has proved to be one of the most consistent and stable routers I’ve ever tested and it certainly seemed to start file transfers quicker than other routers. Once I’ve devised a way to consistently test for multi-user throughput I’ll update this review accordingly.
As for storage transfer speed via the USB port, this router pulled out a surprising victory, hitting a whopping 60MB/s read and 38.9MB/s write, eclipsing the 53.3MB/s and 28.6MB/s of its nearest competitor. This is an excellent result and points towards a router well-suited to running a modest home media server via an attached hard disk.

Should I buy the Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream?

This is an excellent router that will be ideal for large homes with many users. It has good, if not outstanding, maximum Wi-Fi speeds and excellent stability and range. Costing £150 it’s also one of the cheapest routers available with MU-MIMO capability. I do have a couple of minor grumbles; I’m not a huge fan of the user interface and at this price I’d expect the second USB port to be USB 3.0, but neither are deal breakers. Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream MU-MIMO
If you’ve a smaller household or only have a handful of devices accessing your network at any one time then you may be better off with a lower cost non-MU-MIMO router such as the TP-Link Archer C9, which can be bought for under £100.
Related: Best routers to buy in 2016

Verdict

Among the cheapest ways to get a MU-MIMO router, the Linksys EA7500 is a great option for large households – such as student digs – or small offices with many users. It has a few small issues that mean it’s not quite a flawless success, and for sheer maximum speed it’s not quite up there with the best, but for the money it’s a compelling step up and an excellent piece of future-proofing.

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