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Lifewire / Benjamin Zeman
Easy to install
AC2200 rating is a little slow
Can’t throttle guest access
The Linksys EA8300 Router is a modern AC2200 router with MU-MIMO capabilities and three separate bands. It has a 716Mhz Quad-core processor, four antennas, four LAN ports and a USB 3.0 port. It can cover a moderate, medium sized household with speeds up to 2.2 Gbps. Although the coverage is excellent and the Linksys EA8300 is a reliable device, its overall performance isn’t quite as good as some other routers in its price range.
The Linksys EA8300 Router is designed for medium-sized households like our test space. We tested the router in a variety of ways to see what kind of performance we could get out of these modern AC2200 specs. The Linksys EA8300 has three independent radio bands with intelligent band steering. It’s packed with all the modern router technology and options you would expect, including Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) data streaming and beamforming. It’s a solid performer for a router in its class but there are other routers in its price range that can easily outperform it.
The Linksys EA8300 Router is 8.42 x 6.37 x 2.16 inches without the antennas, each of which are five inches long, adding to the height. It weighs in at 21.45 ounces and shares the same general design as other Linksys routers from the EA series. Like the monstrous Linksys EA9500, it has an all black enclosure with a small display on top, surrounded by tiny vent holes. The bottom has a service tag, four non-slip rubber feet, optional wall-mount slots, and is also covered in vent holes.
If you’re looking for good coverage and great speeds for that amount of area, the Linksys EA8300 does the job, though it would struggle to cover a multi-floor building.
The Linksys EA8300 has four adjustable antennas that are non-removable, two on the back and one on the left and right side. The screen on top of the device displays internet connectivity, MU-MIMO status, WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) activity, and has an illuminated Linksys logo. We couldn’t find a way to disable the display or reduce brightness, and it produces a lot of ambient light, not ideal if it’s parked in a bedroom.
On the back are four gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, a USB 3.0 port, a reset button, a power port, and a power button. The right side has a single WPS button. Overall, Linksys packed a lot into a medium-sized, compact enclosure, and we liked the aesthetic, which fits well alongside our home decor.
The setup process for the Linksys EA8300 Router was about as easy as it gets. There’s a seven step Quick Start Guide included in the box. We simply unpacked the router, rotated the antennas into the upright position, plugged in the power, and turned it on. The display lit up and we connected the included ethernet cable to our modem and to the yellow internet port on the back of the router. We waited for the illuminated Linksys logo to stop blinking and turn solid white and then set up our new network.
We connected to the network with our laptop, opened our browser and followed the steps at http://LinksysSmartWiFi.com. Before checking out all the configuration options, we decided to do a basic default setup ,and it was very straightforward. The process is simple, with easy to understand online instructions.
You need to create a Linksys Smart Wi-Fi account if you don’t already have one and then associate it with your new router. We entered our email address and while still connected to our new home network, we clicked the verification link in the email. That was it! Linksys made basic setup as easy as possible. Alternatively you can download the app for Android or iOS from Linksys and do everything right from your mobile device. There are also a number of advanced setup options that you can delve into if you’re technically inclined.
The Linksys EA8300 is an AC2200 MU-MIMO Tri-band Gigabit router with 400+867+867 Mbps speeds. At its core is a 716Mhz Quad-core processor, and the router uses 802.11ac network standards. The single 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands can all run independently of each other, meaning can reach theoretical speeds of 400 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 867 Mbps on each of the 5GHz bands—all at the same time.
The Linksys EA8300 is Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) capable. MU-MIMO is a relatively new standard which is designed to efficiently handle bandwidth in homes with devices of different speed grades. Each device will connect to the router at its highest speed, without reducing the speeds of other devices. It uses simultaneous data transmission instead of sequential, so it’s almost like each device has its own dedicated router. You could play games on your phone, stream Netflix on your TV, and be in the middle of a video conference call on your PC, and each device will connect at its highest speed.
Like most modern wireless technology in its class, the Linksys EA8300 has four wired ethernet ports and one USB 3.0 port. The USB port lets you attach network storage devices, so you could share your video collection with all devices on the network. The ethernet ports are all gigabit, so you can directly plug into devices like smart TV’s or your gaming system. Overall, the Linksys EA8300 has great wired and wireless connectivity.
We tested throughput network performance on a Comcast Business plan, utilizing the 5ft/30ft technique, for both 2.4Ghz and 5GHz bands. On the 2.4GHz band we averaged 90Mbps at 5ft and a significant drop to 52Mbps at 30ft. On the 5GHz bands we consistently got an average of 495Mbps at 5ft but saw another big drop at 30ft, down to 200Mbps. Even those diminished speeds are respectable though, and more than enough for our needs.
Coverage was enough for the entirety of our roughly 2,000 square foot space, even the far corners and closets. Unlike more powerful routers we’ve tested, like the Linksys EA9500, the EA8300 wasn’t as reliable in our basement and didn’t extend very far into our yard or parking area. If we were to install the Linksys EA8300 in our space, we would likely purchase a range extender for the basement and utilize Linksys’ Seamless Roaming Technology.
Overall, we thought the Linksys EA8300 performed very well in our main 2,000 square foot space. If you’re looking for good coverage and great speeds for that amount of area, the Linksys EA8300 does the job, though it would struggle to cover a multi-floor building.
Linksys has great software and we’ve always enjoyed their dashboard interface. The current version is even more user friendly. Setting up the router through a web browser or their mobile app is a breeze and Linksys offers plenty of additional features.
Standards like Guest Access, Parental Controls, and Media Prioritization are all easy to setup and use. You can create separate, password-protected Wi-Fi networks for up to an astounding 50 guests, probably more than you’d ever need. Parental Controls allow you to restrict access, control usage, and block specific devices from accessing the internet. Media Prioritization is as simple as dragging and dropping devices from the normal priority section to high priority.
If you’re comfortable with refurbished products and can find it for under $70, the Linksys EA8300 can’t be beat.
The Linksys EA8300 also has Alexa support if you want to pair it with an Alexa enabled device, like Amazon’s Echo Plus+ or Echo Show 5. There is a built in Speed Test so you can monitor your internet connection speeds as you make changes to the settings, and a Network Map so you can see what devices are connected and what they’re doing.
There are also a number of advanced settings available where you can enable band steering, change SSIDs and passwords, setup MAC filtering, and adjust the settings for the Firewall, VPN, and Port Forwarding. You can even create access schedules for specific devices, restricting access to certain times of the day. Linksys did a great job on the software end of things, and both the web interface and mobile app are intuitive and easy to use.
The Linksys EA8300 Router carries a $200 MSRP but can be regularly found for around $155 (or refurbished for an average of $90). Refurbished, these routers are a really great value but at their normal street price for a new unit, they face some stiff competition.
There are a lot of AC2200 routers on the market and even some higher spec models that could be a better value when looking at the $150 to $200 price range. That said, if you’re comfortable with refurbished products and can find it for under $70, the Linksys EA8300 can’t be beat.
The Asus RT-AC86U is actually a dual-band AC2900 router with slightly higher specs than the Linksys EA8300. There are some major differences between the two routers but the Asus RT-AC86U comes out on top when it comes to throughput speeds and overall coverage. Let’s take a look at the physical differences first.
The Asus RT-AC86U looks much different than the Linksys EA8300. It’s an upright router and doesn’t have wall-mount slots. It only has three antennas instead of six and operates on two bands instead of three. Those two bands can reach peak performances higher than the Linksys EA8300, though. It’s 2.4GHz band is 750 Mbps and it’s 5GHz band is 2167 Mbps, for data transfer speeds up to a theoretical 2917 Mbps.
The Asus RT-AC86U runs on a faster 1.8GHz 64bit Dual-Core processor and is designed for large households. It’s also marketed towards gamers and 4K streaming video viewers. It certainly does the job, reaching 2.4Gz speeds of around 100Mbps when close to the router and 85Mbps at a distance. With its single 5.4GHz band, it can easily outperform the Linksys EA8300 with 550Mbps when close to the router and around 300Mbps at a distance.
When it comes to power, speed, and overall coverage, the Asus RT-AC86U wins hands down. Brand new, it carries a price tag close to the Linksys EA8300’s MSRP at around $170, but the lowest refurb prices we found were around $140.
We’ve always had great experiences with Linksys products, their customer service, and their warranty. We have experience with a lot of ASUS products including tablets, motherboards, graphics cards, and more. When they work, they work great but when they fail, we’ve found ASUS customer service and their warranty program to be a terrible experience. For that reason alone, we would choose a Linksys product over an ASUS product.
An amazing router if you can find it on sale.
The Linksys EA8300 Router is a killer router and great value at its refurb price, but is outperformed by other routers at its MSRP. We love Linksys products and have always had a great experience. The Linksys EA8300 has speeds that will be more than enough for a lot of small- to medium-sized households and coverage can easily be extended with a range extender. If money is a concern, we’d suggest looking for a refurb unit but if you are shopping around in the $150-200 price range, take a look at some of Linksys’ more powerful alternatives.
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