Linksys is popular in the market of open source routers. After the success of the WRT1900AC in 2015, the company launched the WRT1900ACS as a significant upgrade. The new router, which recently debuted in India at a price of Rs. 18,990, is designed to be a “performance perfected” smart Wi-Fi router with high-end hardware and open source software support. It also has multiple antennas to eliminate dead spots and provide fast-enough Internet connectivity. But is it worth spending your money? Here’s our take.
The Linksys WRT1900ACS has a dual-core 1.6GHz processor that comes with 512MB of DDR3 RAM. Also, there are connectivity options such as four Ethernet ports as well as USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 combination. This mix enables the router to support Multi-user-Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO). The prime advantage of MU-MIMO is to provide a stable experience, without any fluctuation in network speed. Linksys has given four antennas on the router to even expand the reach.
The build of the WRT1900ACS makes it a robust-looking smart router that weighs 886 grams. Additionally, the company has this time adopted a fan-less structure that can be placed either on a flat surface or wall-mounted. You will not notice any glitches in any of the cases as the router has an LED notification panel on the front, and the entire connectivity panel is available on the back. As an upgrade over its predecessor, the new Linksys model also has a dedicated button that lets you switch on WPS with a single click.
On the software front, the WRT1900ACS has open source network firmware OpenWRT that can be tweaked or customised to match your distinct needs. The firmware enables the processor-equipped system to wirelessly deliver data transfer speed of up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps over 5GHz. You can use a network map on the interface to see the visual map of the home network. Likewise, the router allows you to prioritise connected devices or websites or even add a parental control filter. You can also use Linksys’ Smart Wi-Fi app on your mobile device to enable or disable Wi-Fi access remotely.
Linksys has additionally provided an ESATA option to connect external SATA drives with the smart router to turn them into a network storage solution. The given hardware is powerful enough to handle storage operations alongside managing high-speed data processing. However, ESATA works through a USB 2.0 — not as high-speed as the USB 3.0.
Open source advantages
OpenWRT on the Linksys WRT1900ACS makes the router capable of steering professional customisations. You can use the Linux-based firmware for SSH tunneling or running a server software. Similarly, you can create a guest network to protect your mainstream connectivity and giving space to individuals at your enterprise premise to connect to the Internet.
All in all, the Linksys WRT1900ACS is a good option if you are looking for a modern option to advance your network. It is certainly not as affordable as some dual-band smart AC routers by Belkin, D-Link or TP-Link. Nevertheless, the hardware is just perfect if you want to play with the open source firmware and add customisations to a traditional experience.