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Linksys EA7500 Wi-Fi router review: MU-MIMO made affordable (but no more useful)

Michael Brown | March 22, 2016
This router is a good performer, but it's too early in the game to pay more for multi-user MIMO.

Wireless performance with a Mac client

Interestingly enough, the EA7500 beat Buffalo’s router when I benchmarked its performance with a MacBook Pro, which has a 3x3 802.11ac adapter onboard. 

If you don’t want to spring for the cost of a NAS box, you can plug a USB storage device into the Linksys EA7500, and use it to share files or stream media over your network. The router supports USB hard drives formatted NTFS and FAT, for use with Windows machines, and HTFS+ for use with Macs. Unfortunately, Mac users won’t be able to use that storage for Time Machine backups.

The EA7500 is very fast when it comes to file transfers over its USB 3.0 port, reading a 10GB collection of files from a portable USB 3.0 SSD attached to the router at 246Mbps on a PC and writing it back to that drive at 258Mbps. The numbers on the Apple platform are lower because the iMac I used for testing has a mechanical drive instead of an SSD. I was able to transfer the 10GB collection of files from the portable SSD to the iMac at 141Mbps, and write it back to that drive at 42.6Mbps.

The Linksys EA7500 is a very good router for $200. It’s easy to set up and use, it has a strong set of features (although it is missing OpenVPN and Time Machine support), and it’s relatively fast. Linksys puts a lot of emphasis on the EA7500’s MU-MIMO support, but that standard is just too new to be all that relevant; don’t buy this router for that feature alone.

 

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