Ships next week
If you’re in need of a high-end router, Linksys hopes you’ll consider its new EA7500 Maxtream model, one of several it debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.
The EA7500 is a dual-band AC1900 router with MU-MIMO support. There’s a bit to digest there, starting with the AC1900 rating. As all router makers do these days, Linksys adds up the total theoretical maximum bandwidth of all available bands—in this case, the EA7500 supports speeds of up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band, hence the AC1900 rating (802.11ac; 600+1,300).
There’s a caveat—you can’t combine the two bands into a single connection and reach the combined speeds. However, since all router makers are now using this method to advertise their models, it makes it a little easier to tell at a glance which ones are supposed to be the fastest.
The other big feature is Mulit-User MIMO. This is a relatively new Wireless-AC technology that allows the router to communicate with and transfer data to and from more than one wireless device at the same time. The vast majority of routers on the market are Single-User MIMO (SU-MIMO). These only communicate with one wireless device at a time, though it’s almost undetectable because of how fast it switches between all the gear on your network. Where MU-MIMO can be helpful is with transferring large amounts of data and/or streaming to numerous devices—there should be less buffering, lag, and general hiccups.
Some of the other feature highlights include beamforming support, USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports (one each), four GbE LAN ports, and Smart Wi-Fi (you can access and tweak your network using a freely available mobile app).
The Linksys EA7500 is available to pre-order now for $200, down from its retail price of $220. It will begin shipping at the start of next week.