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Another Gift From Linksys

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A few months back, we reported that buyers of Linksys' new AC1200 class EA6300 router were actually getting an AC1600 class router in the form of EA6400 hardware.

I just got off the phone with my Linksys contact, who called to tell me about the new EA6200, which has quietly appeared in the Linksys store site today. The EA6200 is being sold as an "AC900" class router. This is a new classification that seems to be based on only the 867 Mbps link rate of its 2x2 draft 802.11ac radio, even though it's a simultaneous dual-band draft ac router, i.e. really an AC1200 class product. It also has all Gigabit ports and a USB 3.0 port for printer and storage sharing.

Linksys EA6200 (top) and EA6300 (bottom)

Linksys EA6200 (top) and EA6300 (bottom)

Linksys appears to be giving us all another gift with the EA6200, because it's really an AC1200 class router with link rates of 867 Mbps on its 5 GHz radio and 300 Mbps on its 2.4 band. My Linksys contact even admitted that the only difference between the EA6200 and the EA6300 is that the EA6300 has "SpeedBoost Technology". (The EA6300's page describes SpeedBoost as "higher quality antenna technology helps to maintain high speeds across greater distances throughout your home for maximum wireless coverage and in-home mobility".)

Here's a look at the EA6200's board, or at least the board with the FCC ID Q87-EA6200.

Linksys EA6200 (top) and EA6300 (bottom)

Linksys EA6200 inside

And here is the EA6300 (Q87-EA6300). Note the USB 3.0 port shielding on the EA6200 board, but not the EA6300. Note that this is not the EA6300V1, which contains EA6400 hardware. (Confused yet?)

Linksys EA6200 (top) and EA6300 (bottom)

Linksys EA6300 inside

Now a closer look with the shield and heatsinks removed. The EA6200 first...

Linksys EA6200 (top) and EA6300 (bottom)

Linksys EA6200 board

...and the EA6300.

Linksys EA6200 (top) and EA6300 (bottom)

Linksys EA6200 board

There are very similar designs and look, to my eye, like the Q87-EA6200 is a newer revision of the Q87-EA6300 board.

The photos are too fuzzy for component identification, so here is a summary for the boards in question, plus the board in the current EA6300V1, also shipped in the EA6400. Pretty similar, eh?

  Q87-EA6200 Q87-EA6300 "EA6300V1" / EA6400 (Q87-EA6400)
CPU Broadcom BCM47081A0 Broadcom BCM47081A0 Broadcom BCM4708A0
Switch Gigabit in BCM47081A0 Gigabit in BCM47081A0 Gigabit in BCM4708A0
RAM 128 MB 128 MB 128 MB
Flash 128 MB 128 MB 128 MB
2.4 GHz Radio Broadcom BCM43217
2x2 802.11b/g/n transceiver
Broadcom BCM43217
2x2 802.11b/g/n transceiver
Broadcom BCM43217
2x2 802.11b/g/n transceiver
5 GHz radio Broadcom BCM4352
2x2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac transceiver
- RMFD RFFM4501
802.11a/n/ac Front End Module (x3)
Broadcom BCM4352
2x2 802.11a/b/g/n/ac transceiver
- RMFD RFFM4501
802.11a/n/ac Front End Module (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360
- RMFD RFFM4501
802.11a/n/ac Front End Module (x3)
Table 1: Linksys EA6200, EA6300V1, EA6400 component summary

Looks like you can save yourself $20 by buying the EA6200. It will be sold only in Best Buy and on the Linksys store. EA6200 MSRP is $149.99 and the EA6300's is $169.99. But both are $20 off, bringing them currently to $129.99 and $149.99, respectively.

The bottom line is that if you want an AC1200 class router from Linksys for their lowest price, buy an EA6200. If you want an AC1600 class, buy the EA6300.

P.S. Linksys says it still plans to release firmware turning the EA6300V1 into the AC1200 router it is advertised to be. They also plan to eventually work in a redesigned real "AC1200" board. Seems to me, though, that they already have one in the EA6200's board...


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