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Linksys EA8500 vs WRT1900AC (2021): Which Wi-Fi Router Should You Get?

Improving your wireless network at home usually only requires upgrading your Wi-Fi router. If you have a high-speed Internet connection, you’ll want to maximize it with a dual-band router that can broadcast strong signals throughout your house. The Linksys EA8500 and Linksys WRT1900AC fit the bill nicely, and their different features will make one a better choice than the other. Here’s a detailed comparison between these Linksys Wi-Fi routers.

Linksys EA8500 vs WRT1900AC Mesh Wi-Fi System Comparison Chart

ModelLinksys EA8500 Max-Stream AC2600Linksys WRT1900AC AC1900
Amazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
Processor1.4 GHz dual-core1.2 GHz dual-core
ClassAC2600AC1900
Speeds1733Mbps + 800Mbps1300Mbps + 600Mbps
MU-MIMOYesNo
BeamformingYesYes
Total Ethernet Ports44
USB PortsUSB 2.0, USB 3.0USB 2.0, USB 3.0
ESATA PortYesYes
Guest NetworkYesYes
Parental ControlsYesYes
Mobile AppYesYes
Dimensions9.76 x 2 x 7.68 in9.76 x 2 x 7.68 in
Weight2.11 lb1.77 lb

Design

The Linksys EA8500 has a more modern design than the Linksys WRT1900AC.

The Linksys EA8500 (left) and Linksys WRT1900AC (right) look like they’re from different eras.

A quick look at both of these Linksys routers side by side should be enough to tell you which device was released more recently. The Linksys EA8500 features a sleek all-black design with a sloping flat top and minimal branding. Its perforated surface allows ventilation for its internal components, while four long antennae can be adjusted side to side around it. You can easily place the EA8500 in your living room without it looking out of place among your other dΓ©cor and furnishings.

In contrast, the Linksys WRT1900AC has a two-tone finish and blocky build that looks dated by today’s standards. Moreover, it has large Linksys branding on both top and front, making it stand out sorely. In addition, it has much shorter antennae than the EA8500 and it features LED indicators for power, Wi-Fi, etc., along its front. This makes it easier to check whether ports are working though it can be unnecessary with the mobile interface available today, as you can see below.

Connectivity

The Linksys EA8500 and WRT1900AC have similar ports.

Though the arrangements are different, the Linksys EA8500 (left) and WRT1900AC (right) have the same ports and buttons.

Behind each Linksys router you’ll find an array of ports and buttons for wired connections. Only two are really necessary for these Wi-Fi routers to work, the Internet or WAN port and the 12V DC power port. A nice small switch turns the routers on or off, and there are buttons to reset and refresh them too.

You get four Ethernet ports to connect your devices directly to the Linksys EA8500 and WRT1900AC. These should provide ample wired connections for desktop computers, gaming consoles, streaming media players, etc., so they can get uninterrupted Internet at least in terms of wireless signals sometimes dropping.

The Linksys EA8500 and WRT1900AC also have a USB 3.0 port and an eSATA port that doubles as a USB 2.0 port. This lets you connect external storage devices, printers and other peripherals directly to the home network.

With four high-performance antennas each, the Linksys WRT1900AC and EA8500 ensure that your home receives optimal coverage and max signal strength on both bands. Homes with multiple floors can expect some loss of signal depending on floor layout and other solid obstacles.

Performance

The Linksys EA8500 has a higher combined speed than the Linksys WRT1900AC.

You can enjoy non-buffering movie and gaming experiences on both Linksys Wi-Fi routers.

The biggest difference between the Linksys EA8500 and WRT1900AC is their maximum combined data transfer rates. While both simultaneously broadcasts in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, the Linksys EA8500 has a combined speed of 2.53Gbps while the Linksys WRT1900AC tops out at 1.9Gbps. With a max of 1733Mbps on the 5GHz band, the EA8500 can ensure high-bandwidth activities like 4K HD streaming stays smooth and buffer-free. Still, most will find the 1300Mbps max speed of the WRT1900AC’s 5GHz band plenty for uninterrupted viewing.

The Linksys EA8500 further edges ahead of the WRT1900AC with its 800Mbps speed on the 2.4GHz band compared to the latter’s 600Mbps. This band is typically used for less intensive applications such as email, web surfing, and typical mobile app use. Powering the EA8500 is a slightly more powerful 1.4GHz dual-core processor than the 1.2GHz version of the WRT1900AC, though there’s an upgraded WRT1900ACS router that features a 1.6GHz processor.

A significant feature that’s available on the Linksys EA8500 and not on the WRT1900AC is MU-MIMO, or multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output technology. This allows the EA8500 to seamlessly connect multiple devices in a busy network without lag or buffering. If your household typically has heavy network traffic and a lot of users connecting simultaneously, having MU-MIMO will improve everyone’s wireless connections significantly.

Software and Other Features

The Linksys EA8500 and WRT1900AC have similar features.

You can set up a guest network and access parental controls via a Linksys mobile app.

Setting up either Linksys Wi-Fi router is easy if you download the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi app on a smartphone or tablet. This app provides detailed instructions you can follow to set up the Wi-Fi router in your home network, so even if you have no prior networking experience, you should be able to get either one up and running in no time.

The Linksys mobile app also contains several features including device prioritization, parental controls and guest access. Unlike other routers, you can ensure that critical connections to certain devices, such as your work PC or laptop, always receive priority even when other devices fight it for bandwidth. Parental controls allow you to set schedules for your children’s devices and disallow certain sites. Finally, you can allow guests to connect to the home network without sharing your actual Wi-Fi password by setting up a guest network.

Verdict

The Linksys EA8500 is better than the Linksys WRT1900AC.

Amazon product

With a higher maximum combined speed, faster processor and MU-MIMO technology, the Linksys EA8500 Max-Stream AC2600 comes out ahead in this comparison of Wi-Fi routers. That it has a much more modern look is a nice little bonus, too. The Linksys WRT1900AC AC1900 router meanwhile has the advantage of LED indicators that show you connection status at a glance. It also has all of the features you can access via the mobile app for easy setup and management.

FAQs

πŸ“Œ How do I setup my Linksys EA8500 router?

The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi App contains all of the instructions you’ll need to follow to set up your Linksys EA8500 router.

πŸ“Œ Is the Linksys EA8500 router compatible with Comcast, Time Warner, Spectrum, etc.?

Yes, the Linksys EA8500 is compatible with all cable/Internet service providers.

πŸ“Œ Is the Linksys WRT1900AC IPv6?

The Linksys WRT1900AC router has IPv6 capabilities but it’s disabled by default. You’ll need to enable it if your ISP is set up for IPv6.

πŸ“Œ How do I reset my Linksys WRT1900AC router?

Two ways: you can either press and hold the Reset button at the back of the Linksys WRT1900AC router for around 10 seconds, or you can log in to your Linksys account and navigate to Router > Troubleshooting > Diagnostics.

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Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.