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Linksys jumps into the 4x4 and tri-band Wi-Fi frays with its new E8350 and EA9200 routers

Michael Brown | Oct. 20, 2014
Turns out the WRT Switch isn't the only new product Linksys had up its sleeve this week. The company announced two brand-new 802.11ac routers this morning: The Linksys EA9200 Smart Wi-Fi Tri-Band Router and the Linksys E8350 Dual-Band Router.

The E8350 has a four-port gigabit ethernet switch and a gigabit WAN port for connecting to your Internet gateway. There's a USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0/eSATA combo port in back for sharing storage devices and printers over the network. The router is outfitted with a 1.4GHz CPU, and it supports drives formatted FAT, FAT32, NTFS, or HFS+. It has UPnP and DLNA media servers, but no iTunes server.

Linksys EA9200

It looks as though the industry will persist in labeling routers that support two independent networks on the 5GHz frequency band and one on the 2.4GHz band "tri-band" routers. That's how Linksys is labeling the EA9200. Like the Netgear Nighthawk X6 and the vaporish Asus RT-AC3200, the Linksys EA9200 boasts six antennas and supports three spatial streams on each of its three networks (delivering throughput of 1.3Mbps on each of its two 5GHz networks, and 600Mbps on its 2.4GHz network).

Only three of the EA9200's antennas are external and adjustable/removable. The other three are fixed inside the chassis. Like the E8350, beamforming support is included. A 1GHz dual-core CPU supports a four-port gigabit Ethernet switch, a gigabit WAN port, and one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port to share storage and a printer over the network.

Linksys has a feature it calls Smart Connect that automatically balances connected devices over the router's two 5GHz networks in real time, to ensure everything enjoys an optimal connection.

Pricing and availability

The Linksys E8350 is available now and is priced at $300. The EA9200 is also available now at a promotional price of $250 (regular price is $280). I'll post reviews of both models in the coming weeks.

What type of router are you using today: 802.11n, 802.11ac, or are you finding that an older model still suffices? If you're looking to upgrade, what standard do you think you'll embrace? Let us know in the comments section, below.

 

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