Linksys EA7500 AC1900 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router Review | Gadget Review
Wireless Routers

Linksys EA7500 AC1900 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router Review

Linksys EA7500 Wireless Router Review
In our Linksys EA7500 we evaluate this router's speed as well as admin interface.
3.7
Expert Rating

When buying a new router, there are a few different metrics you want to keep an eye on when making your final decision. The basic stuff like how fast is it or what kind of range are important enough on their own, but what separates a regular WiFi hub from the standouts like Linksys’ new EA7500 MU-MIMO router, are the added features you get as a part of the complete package. That sense of polish, history and prestige is something that only a few brands in the wireless router space have, and Linksys continues to show it deserves its top spot among others like D-Link, Cisco, and Netgear.

Overview

Summary: The Linksys EA7500 is a router built for people who game hard, stream often, and download like it’s going out of style.


Price: $199.99
Available: TBD

What We Liked

  • MU-MIMO is a much-needed stress reliever for overburdened wireless networks
  • Linksys’ Smart WiFi continues to lead the market in router configuration tools
  • Minimalist design is ambiguous enough to fit in any room of the house

What We Didn’t

  • The top speeds aren’t as great as other routers at this price point

Linksys EA7500 Specs

WiFi Type802.11ac
Processor1.4 Ghz dual-core
Operation ModesWireless Router, Access Point, Bridge
128-bit Wireless Encryptiongreen-check-mark
2.4Ghzgreen-check-mark
5Ghzgreen-check-mark
Ethernet Ports4 Gigabit
MiMogreen-check-mark
QoSgreen-check-mark
USB Inputs2
Price$199
Buy

Design

The design of the EA7500 won’t be turning heads on the street, but it’s still stylistically aware of the type of customer that it’s intended on targeting. Unlike recent outings from D-Link, the EA7500 is at its most beautiful when it’s the last thing you notice in the room.

Linksys EA7500 Wireless Router Review

The grated plastic is a nice touch on an otherwise featureless shell.

Minimalist, functional, and not much else, it’s made to take a backseat to the rest of your interior design skills, sinking into the background of any room in your house.

Features

I said it in our 1900 ACS review, but it still bears repeating: I love the Linksys Smart WiFi system. It makes it easy to manage all your router’s settings from a simple online login, or even from a well-styled app on your phone.

Configuring your wireless router has never been as simple as Smart WiFi makes it. The interface is lightyears beyond what the competition has to offer, and being able to gain access using a simple email/password combo takes the hassle out of hard-resetting everything if you happen to forget your password.

Linksys-EA7500

The Smart WiFi admin interface is a dream to use.

Everything is clearly laid out, easily accessible, and lightning quick. Smart WiFi has quickly become the gold standard in router interfaces, and the high mark to which all other competitors should aspire.

Read: Best Wireless Router 2018

Of course, this wouldn’t be a review of a MU-MIMO router without mentioning its streaming, gaming, and downloading capabilities.

Speed & Distance Tests

Many of the routers that are being released today are equipped with features to handle the network of tomorrow, and 4K streaming is at the top of that list. MU-MIMO technology (Multiple User, Multiple-Input Multiple-Output) makes it easier for routers to push an even amount of data to multiple devices at a time, without having to sacrifice one stream’s bandwidth for another.

The EA7500 uses MU-MIMO in the form of its “Media Prioritization” feature, which lets you carefully control which computers have access to the most download speed at any given time. This means that you can expect everyone to get the exact amount of bandwidth they need for their activity, while the rest is evenly distributed to the house as a whole.

Linksys EA7500 Review

In our MU-MIMO evaluation, we ran speed tests  on a 1GB wireless fiber optic connection: one from a custom-built Windows 10 desktop, and the other on a Dell XPS 13 laptop. The EA7500 performed decently, topping out around 80Mbps from a distance of 25ft.

Linksys EA7500 Speed Results

The Linksys EA7500 speed results on the laptop and desktop.

These aren’t the best results out there in the 1900AC category (that title goes to Linksys’ other entry, the WRT1900), but it’s certainly not the worst in its price tier either. We expect this limitation happens because of the way the EA7500 splits up its MU-MIMO streams, in order to ensure that everyone has an equal browsing and downloading experience.

Once we started the tests simultaneously on both devices, we were able to get 80Mbps down on the desktop, and just short of 45Mbps on the laptop. This means while the router may be capable of transmitting more bandwidth (around 125Mbps), the only way you can decide who gets the bigger slice of that pie is by utilizing the Media Prioritization feature.

Conversely, the available upload bandwidth was split right down the middle between both machines. Because Media Prioritization only lets you control how much bandwidth a particular device is allowed to download, during the side-by-side upload tests, both machines achieved speeds of 140Mbps. This makes it an even split from the 280Mbps we topped out at on a single stream, which means that MU-MIMO feature is working just as intended.

Wrap Up

The Linksys EA7500 router may not have the greatest top speed, but what it lacks in horsepower it more than makes up for in solid software and a clean, unobtrusive design. At $199.99 it strikes a nice middle ground between a straight consumer device and one that’s built for serious tech geeks, all while including many of the features that will be necessary as our streaming, downloading, and gaming demands increase.

Performance
Design
Value
Reader Rating1 Vote4.75
3.7
Expert Rating
Bottom Line


1 Comment to Linksys EA7500 AC1900 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router Review

  1. Don McGeorge

    Based upon yours and other reviews, I purchased one of the Linksys EA7500 – AC1900 NU-MIMO units. To start with this to me is Linksys’s worst effort at a wireless router, since I have installed many WRT-54’s in the past with no problems. This will not work or actually configure if you change the IP addy of the router manually to something other than 192.168.1.1, and turn off its internal DHCP system. Seems to works fine as a DHCP set device itself, but then again you then have NO idea how to connect to it when you need inside of it to modify things. Not to mention if your network is different than 192,168,1,*, DHCP device’s change the IP of it at every boot up, The solution by Sr Techs, after 4 hrs online, with Linksys is to run the router in ‘Bridge Mode’ as you then can assign an IP addy, Then Bridge Mode makes you give up all other features on the router itself. You are then unable to connect a USB 2 or 3 network drive system, among other things, as all of that is shut down in Bridge Mode. My suggestion to you is, actually setup and use an item before you write any such a BS reviews of it. Wirelessly this works well, but all the other features on it are just a POS, and its from bad firmware. This is being returned for a router with the features that are advertised that actually work. Oh yes, did I mention this is the second brand new unit I have had in a week, both have the exact same issues, BAD firmware, and 5+ hrs on the phone with Tech Support also.

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