Linksys EA9200 Tri-Band Smart AC Wi-Fi Router Review

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Linksys EA9200 Performance

To see how we tested the Linksys EA9200, be sure to read this link for an explanation. We had already established a testing regimen with our previous roundup, so we ran the Linksys router through the same gauntlet using two Windows 10 PCs; a desktop and a laptop, connected to each other wirelessly.

Wireless Performance 2.4GHz & 5GHz
Wi-Fi Router Testing

30 5ghz
In our 5GHz tests at 30 feet with walls the Linksys took the top spot on our TCP throughput benchmark chart, hitting 542.8Mb/s. This is more than double the performance we experienced with our reference 80211.N router, the Asus RT-N66U, and almost 50Mb/s faster than the next fastest router, the gigantic D-Link DIR-890L/R, which is impresive. All of the other routers were somewhere between 400Mb and 500Mb/s, so the Linksys router just ripped the group to take the top spot in TCP testing. When it came to UDP throughput, the routers were all very close to one another, with most of them pumping data at a rate just above 600Mb/s, so the Linksys' score of 620Mb/s was in-line with the other results. The only outlier was the mighty D-Link router, which hit 685.3Mb/s, taking the top spot. The Linksys router was the third fastest, losing out to the Netgear Nighthawk by just a few megabytes per second

20 5ghz
At 20' feet from the router with a clear line of sight we saw the Linksys router take the top spot in TCP testing with a score of 587.7Mb/s, which is about 73MB/s, making it the fastest AC router we've seen at moderate range. In this test only the D-Link and Linksys routers were in the mid-to-upper 500Mb/s range, making them the stand outs in the roundup. In UDP testing, all of the routers were very close, with all of them landing in the mid-600Mb/s range, with the Linksys in particular performing at a rate of 639Mb/s. The Trendnet TEW-828DRU was the overall winner though, with a blistering score of 736Mb/s.

30 24ghzs
In this test the Linksys router performed admirably, but so did all the other routers, so you can basically call it a four-way tie. It was able to hit 132.8Mb/s, which allowed it to essentially tie with the Trendnet router for second place as they were within .1Mb/s of each other. The Netgear Nighthawk topped the filed, but only by 5Mb/s, so it's not a massive victory. In UDP testing the Linksys router took third place, but was again just 1Mb/s away from second place, so you could throw a towel over the top four routers, as all of them performed similarly.

20 24g
The Linksys router was able to eke out a victory in both UDP and TCP testing at 20', which backs up the results we saw at 5GHz. It's a fast router, but admittedly all the routers are so close at this range the differences between them all are not huge in the real-world. Still, the difference between the Linksys router at 169Mb/s and the Asus RT-AC3200 at 112Mb/s could probably be felt, but all the faster routers were very close.

transfer 5ghx


trans 24g

The Linksys router was not the fastest in our 2GB file copy test, but it wasn't that far behind the leaders, taking 106 seconds to transfer the test folder across the wireless network to our test machine. Its score was 30 seconds slower than the two fastest routers however, which were the Netgear Nighthawk and the Asus RT-AC3200. That's quite a difference in such a short benchmark, and we rant the test many times, but were never able to get a score close to the fastest routers. Third place isn't too shabby however, making the Linksys router a mid-pack device when it comes to using it as a NAS. Our results using the 2.4GHz band follow a similar trend.

30 smart

20 smart

All of the routers that are based on Broadcom's XStream 5GHz allow for a feature named Smart Connect, the combines both 5GHz networks into one SSID and then assigns devices to each network in a way to more efficiently balance available bandwidth. You can enable it or disable it, and if you have it enabled the router decides which network a device will connect to at any given time. On this particular router you can also put all three networks on the same SSID if you don't want to hassle with assigning devices to specific networks, hence the word "Smart" in the router's title, at least according to Linksys.

In this particular test we found the Linksys router was able to deliver more bandwidth to our test machine using its own intelligence versus straight 5GHz connectiivty, so maybe there is something to the router's "smart" label after all. In TCP testing at 30' the Linksys offered throughput of 570Mb/s, which compares to 542Mb/s using one of the regular 5GHz channels, so it offered a slight improvement. In the group of routers, this was the second highest throughput rate, with the Trendnet achieving 589Mb/s, so it barely edged out the Linksys router. In UDP testing the Linksys was fourth fastest, achieving throughput of 648MB/s, which put it in the ball park of the other routers that were in the 600Mb/s range.

Power Consumption
Tested At The Outlet

power

To provide an additional data point, we measured power consumption at the outlet as well. The Linksys pulled down almost two watts more than the other routers at idle with 14w, and exhibited the third-highest overall power draw under load at 18.2w.

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