Outstanding range, and ability to handle multiple high-bandwidth-demand devices. Can set up several guest networks. Easy to set up and not too difficult to configure most functions.
Can run fairly hot during high bandwidth use. No VPN server incorporated. Some users have trouble with frequent connection drops. Web portal lists only basic information about router performance.
Router’s parental controls are easy to set up via PC and adjust using its companion app. Good signal strength and speed, with broadband streaming not a problem. Responsive customer service.
Instruction manual skips some important points, like button locations and functions. Some signal degradation occurs in rooms farther away from router.
Multi-User MIMO enables multiple high-speed connections. Sets up quickly and connects almost instantly to enabled devices, including Alexa, Wink, and more. Good Wi-Fi range.
May develop personality issues, bumping users offline at random. Newer users may have trouble configuring router, particularly parental controls, as instructions are somewhat sparse.
Automatic setup is fast and easy, and even novice users can configure a separate guest network. Direct transfer speed (such as backups) is impressive. Handles high-bandwidth tasks like HD streaming like a champ. Very good transmission range.
Ethernet ports are prone to wear and tear so that connectors may not clip in tightly. Router management software is not very intuitive.
Feature-rich, with very improved connectivity over other Linksys routers. Handles multiple 4K streams or online gaming with few to no problems. Setup and configuration takes as little as 20 minutes even for casual users. Open-source capability and DD-WRT capable.
Connection may occasionally hiccup. Eschews older modes like 802.11b, so some older wireless-enabled devices may not connect to it. No VPN feature (passthrough only) and WRT is very basic.
Wireless internet has gone from being a feature that would be nice to have to a practical necessity for daily life. We all love our WiFi, and we rely on it for just about everything. If you want faster speeds on your wireless devices, or if you just want to make sure everyone in your house can stream movies in 4K, you’ll need a wireless router that can handle everything. Linksys has routers that are ideal for everyone.
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Read our shopping guide to Linksys routers to gain an understanding of the WiFi features you shouldn’t live without – and the ones that are pure hype. Once you’ve determined your individual router needs, check out the top models we recommend.
Most wireless routers offer the same core feature: WiFi access. Beyond that, Linksys has managed to become one of the biggest names in home networking by perfecting a few features and innovating new functionality, such as the following.
Linksys’ WiFi networks aren’t just fast – they stretch far and wide. As each generation of WiFi has further extended its range, Linksys has built hardware that pushes the limits. (It’s not uncommon for Linksys router owners to see their WiFi coverage extend well beyond the walls of their homes.)
Most Linksys routers provide data usage analytics, so you can measure which devices on your network are consuming the most data. This can help users with ISP data caps avoid going over the limit.
Linksys routers leverage multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) technology to maintain connectivity between devices. That means that each antenna on the router is working to deliver internet to your devices instead of just one. If you have more than four users in your home (or more than one person who wants to stream video at the same time), MIMO is a must.
WiFi devices typically use one of two broadcast frequencies: 2.4GHz or 5.0GHz. Whenever possible, use the 5.0GHz channel, as it’s less likely to suffer problems due to interference.
Linksys has been a hit among the nontechnical crowd for years, mainly due to the equipment’s overall ease of use. Linksys’ administrative tools, which include everything from parental controls to port forwarding, are clearly explained in the tools themselves. Linksys routers are great for non-techies and even better for people who want to learn more about home networking.
Linksys “Smart WiFi” wireless routers are designed to work with digital assistants like Amazon Echo or Google Home, allowing you to use voice commands to ask your router to do things like set up a guest network.
One of the newest trends in home WiFi is an approach known as “mesh networking,” which takes a different approach to delivering WiFi than traditional wireless routers. Both wireless routers and mesh networking devices have their pros, cons, and ideal-use cases, so make sure you know which is best for you and your living environment before you invest.
Wireless routers make your home internet connection wirelessly available for all of your devices. A wireless router will act as the only source of WiFi (unless you buy separate network extenders or wireless access points). It is responsible for load-balancing all of the different WiFi devices on your network. Wireless routers are ideal for small homes and apartments.
Mesh networking systems are based on multiple endpoints (“nodes”) that work together to deliver WiFi signals to your devices. Where a router is a single device sending data to you on a point-to-point basis, a mesh networking system uses multiple nodes to all deliver data to you at once. Mesh networking systems are perfect for homes that need wide coverage throughout the home.
Linksys dual-band routers are capable of running multiple WiFi networks simultaneously. This can be especially useful for users who need to separate their internet traffic.
Linksys is well-known in the technical community for producing wireless routers that can be used with third-party firmware (a device’s operating platform that dictates how the hardware can be used). In fact, some Linksys routers are branded as “open-source” routers, meaning they are explicitly compatible with third-party firmware (although by default they do include the standard Linksys firmware).
As you’re shopping for a Linksys router, it helps to know the difference between Linksys stock firmware and your third-party options.
Video applications consume a large amount of data. If you’re having problems with slow WiFi, turn off any video applications (ranging from Skype to Xbox) to allow other devices more bandwidth.
Linksys router prices range from $99 to over $250. Consider the following guidelines when choosing the best equipment for your home.
Inexpensive: Linksys offers bare-bones wireless routers and legacy products for $99 and under. While it can be tempting to grab a hot deal on a Linksys router, many of their most affordable options rely on outdated technology. These routers can be useful for temporary situations but are generally to be avoided.
Mid-Range: Linksys offers its most popular wireless routers – models that are solid performers, deliver current-generation speeds, and offer luxurious features like Quality of Service (QoS) controls – at prices between $100 and $250. If you seek a solid performer that will last a few years or more, look in this price range. As the price increases, expect faster speeds and improved coverage.
Before you purchase a Linksys router, consider these tips.
As you set up your home WiFi, also create a guest network. A guest network is a separate WiFi signal that you can provide to others so they can use your internet connection without accessing any other information on your network. Even if you trust your friends, you never know when someone’s device could be infected with malware. By isolating others to your guest network, you can protect your digital life while still providing them with WiFi.
Run network speed tests in your home before situating your router. Every house is different, and you never know where your dead zones are until you experiment. Download a speed-testing app to your smartphone, then use it to determine which parts of your home have the weakest signal. Use the information to guide where you place your Linksys router.
Take WiFi security seriously. Your wireless router keeps your data safe – everything from your personal information to your browsing history passes through it at some point. Treat it accordingly by prioritizing security: update your WiFi password regularly, keep your router’s firmware up to date at all times, and don’t allow WiFi access to any individuals or devices you don’t know.
Q. Will a new Linksys router work with my older WiFi devices?
A. Probably. Most Linksys routers are backward-compatible with older network protocols (like 802.11g), although some will only support the prior-generation protocol. If support for legacy WiFi standards is important to you, check each model’s specifications before you buy.
Q. Are Linksys routers okay for people who aren’t technically inclined?
A. Yes! Linksys routers are designed to be accessible to both novice and expert users. All of the company’s wireless routers feature step-by-step walkthroughs to help you get started. Most nontechnical users are able to set up their Linksys routers in less an hour.
Q. What if my Linksys router doesn’t provide enough WiFi coverage?
A. For instances where WiFi coverage needs to be improved, Linksys sells WiFi range extenders to increase the size and speed of your wireless network.
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