We’ve been a big fan of Linksys’ routers in the past, and we are pretty excited to get our hands on the new 802.11ac Tri-Band MU-MIMO Router. The Linksys Max Stream EA8300 is an AC2200 Tri-Band MU-MIMO router priced under $200, which offers new MU-MIMO technology and up to double the performance of a dual-band router. MU-MIMO (or Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple Output) helps improve overall performance and efficiency of a Wi-Fi network while providing dedicated bandwidth to MU-MIMO capable client devices. These MU-MIMO devices (which you may already have in your home) will work as if they have their own dedicated router. According to a white paper by ABI Research The Importance Of MU-MIMO In The Wi-Fi Ecosystem more than 84% of all wireless 5GHz chipsets will be MU-MIMO enabled by 2019.
“The introduction of the EA8300 Tri-Band MU-MIMO router to our Max Stream line-up signifies our commitment to the latest 802.11ac specification,” said Justin Doucette, senior director of product management at Linksys. “With the rise of bandwidth intensive activities, such as 4K streaming and movie downloads, the importance of an efficient and optimized Wi-Fi network is more critical than ever. Tri-Band and MU-MIMO enables multiple devices to communicate with the router and/or range extender simultaneously, so the result is a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi.”
The new router will also support Linksys’ new seamless roaming, which will enable client devices to roam around the home but always stay connected to the optimal access point. If you have have router or range extenders in your house, but your phone is having issues synching to the correct one, then this is the tech that improves that experience. Seamless roaming works much the same way devices work in an office environment where users can move room to room, floor to floor, always staying connected to the office Wi-Fi connection.
When Seamless Roaming is added to routers, available on the EA8300 as well as the other Max Stream routers, range extenders (RE7000) and mobile devices, the mobile devices are able to switch and connect to the strongest Wi-Fi signal at all times. This means that if you walk from room to room on a Skype call, and bounce from the standard router to a range-extender you have in another room, you won’t drop the connection. If you do this a lot, you will want to pair the new router to a Linksys RE7000 range extender, which will offer a single SSID network name for the entire network. This will make it much easier four your device to always staying connected to the best Wi-Fi signal. This means you won’t have to remember which range-extender SSID is for which room, or multiple passwords, or manual switching.
The Linksys Max-Stream AC2200 also offers Next Gen AC Wi-Fi technologies such as Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) and Tri-Band that work in concert to deliver powerful Wi-Fi at the same time and same speed to multiple connected devices including TVs, gaming consoles, wireless printers, laptops plus others at combined speeds up to 2.2 Gbps. Through the Linksys app, users should have their EA8300 Wi-Fi Router up in running in no time. The Max-Stream EA8300 Wi-Fi Router also features Tri-Band AC2200, with speeds up to 2.2Gbps (867 Mbps 5Ghz + 867 Mbps 5 GHz + 400 Mbps 2.4 GHz), and MU-MIMO Wave 2 for simultaneous 4K Streaming on multiple devices at the same time. The device runs on a Quad-Core 716Mhz Processor (Equal to 1.4Ghz Dual-Core Processor) 32-bit, ARMv7 compatible, 5.5K DMIPS and has 256MB DDR3 RAM at its disposal. All of this runs alongside the 256MB Flash Memory, and the device itself is equipped with four active high performance antennas with 6x High Power Amplifiers.
Port-side (pun intended) you will find five Gigabit Ethernet Ports (4 LAN + 1 WAN), and a USB 3.0 Port. The device also features Airtime Fairness, which enables faster devices to transmit at faster speeds while the slower device will not impede the speed of Wi-Fi network. “Smart Connect” band steering also balances your 5 GHz Wi-Fi connections and intelligently choose the best radio band for your devices for the best Wi-Fi performance of your network.
If you pay attention to tech-blogs and news sites, you know that vulnerabilities pop-up in routers all the time. This router will allow Linksys AUTO Firmware updates, so you don’t have to check to see if your router has the latest firmware running. Tech pros that would still like the option of controlling when the Firmware is installed, can opt-out of this auto-update.
One of the more interesting additions is Amazon Alexa support (Echo Dot $49, or the more robust Echo for $179) the device will ship with three new skills including turning guest access on and off, obtaining guest Wi-Fi credentials, as well as getting main network credentials read back to the user.