When my trusty WRT54G router started showing its age after 14 years, I was in denial for a while. It had always been trustworthy, never let me down and passed along countless terabytes of data, both privately and professionally. For months, I rebooted, changed frequencies, changed settings and tinkered until I had to face facts: it was slowly dying and needed to retire. With 14 years of solid reliability, I really wanted to stay with Linksys and wanted something future proof. The upcoming EA9500 will be a tad expensive at around EUR 400, which left two routers at the top of the range: the EA8500 and the WRT1900ACS. Apart from a negligible difference in speed, all features seemed similar. So which one was the right fit for me? I’ll let you know how I made the choice, maybe it can help others in a similar situation.
Even after consulting a few sales people at a local electronics shop, I could not see a considerable difference. Going through many websites, reviews, comparisons, and spec sheets I finally got to the bottom of it.
The main advantages of the EA8500 are:
- exterior design that is more suitable for home use
- less constantly changing LED indicator lights
- future-proofed Mu-MiMo technology that allows for better multi-user usage, without lag
The main advantages of the WRT1900ACS are:
- includes a built-in VPN server, which means that at any public wifi hotspot you can connect to you home router using an encrypted data tunnel and your traffic is safe
- highly customisable and ready for custom firmware
- continuation of the legendary line of WRT routers (only applies to geeks like me)
As the Mu-Mimo technology only works with specific hardware, what finally convinced me to buy the WRT1900ACS was the VPN-server.