Belkin has announced a barrage of connected products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), not the least of which is its new Linksys MR8300 mesh Wi-Fi router. Before we get to the actual router, though, let's talk a bit about the Belkin and Linksys brands, and where things currently stand (it can be a little confusing).
Linksys started off as its own company way back in 1988 (first as DEW International, then later renamed Linksys), founded by Victor and Janie Tsao, a couple that had immigrated to the United States. The company built a reputation for itself, and in particular its WRT54G was a popular router model among home users.
Networking stalwart Cisco acquired LInksys in 2003 and held onto the brand for a decade, at which time Belkin swooped in and bought it. More recently, Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT) purchased Belkin and its subsidiaries, including LInksys, Wemo, and Phyn.
So there's your backstory on the Linksys brand, which remarkably still persists after more than three decades. One of its newest products is the MR8300, a high-performance tri-band mesh Wi-Fi router. It's also listed as the Max Stream AC2200.
The new router delivers speeds of up to 867Mbps on each of the two 5GHz bands, and up to 400Mbps on the sole 2.4GHz band. You can't actually combine the bands for a single, super-high-speed connection, though adding the speeds (and rounding up from 2,134Mbps) is how Linksys arrived at the AC2200 designation, which is a common practice among router makers.
For wired connections, the MR8300 has four gigabit-LAN ports on the rear, plus a USB 3.0 port for connecting external storage drives or a printer, which can then be shared over the network.
Beyond the speed, the big sell here is mesh support.
"With built-in sesh Wi-Fi, this router is designed to scale to your household’s Wi-Fi needs. As your Wi-Fi needs grow, simply add a Linksys Velop node to expand your coverage. Velop nodes all work seamlessly together with the MR8300, so there's no need to manually switch between networks," Linksys says.
This is not the fastest router in the Linksys library, but the rated speeds are certainly enough to serve most typical homes. Linksys routers have also been known to offer good wireless range in our experience. This particular model has four adjustable external antennas and is rated for "medium" size households.
The Linksys MR8300 is available now for $179.99