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Wireless Reviews

Features

The EA6300's feature set is essentially unchanged from its "SMART" predecessors. Part 1 of the EA6500 review has all the details. Signing up for a SMART Wi-Fi account remains purely optional. You have access to all router admin features via a the "local access" link shown in the screenshot below.

EA6500 admin login

EA6500 admin login

Table 2 has a summary of the wireless settings for your reference.

Setting 2.4 GHz 5 GHz
Channel Auto [default]
1 - 11
Auto [default]
36, 40, 44, 48
149, 153, 157, 161, 165
Channel Width Auto [default]
20 MHz only
Auto
20 MHz only
40 MHz
80 MHz [default]
Network Mode Mixed [default]
Wireless-N only
Wireless-G only
Mixed [default]
Wireless-N only
Wireless-AC only
Security None
WEP (abg modes only)
WPA Personal
WPA Enterprise
WPA2 Personal
WPA2 Enterprise
WPA2/WPA Mixed Personal
WPA2/WPA Mixed Enterprise
Table 2: Wireless settings summary

Routing Performance

Routing performance for the EA6300 using our standard test method is summarized in Table 3, along with the EA6500. The results show that the EA6300 has higher throughput than the higher-priced EA6500, which is based on Broadcom's last-generation single-core BCM4706 router SoC. The EA6300's dual-core CPU brings more processing power to bear and, at least for wired routing throughput, it shows.

The difference in Maximum Simultaneous Connections results isn't significant; both represent hitting the limit of our current test process.

Test Description EA6300 EA6500
WAN - LAN 901 626
LAN - WAN 902 633
Total Simultaneous 897 742
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 31,901 29,405
Firmware Version 1.1.39.149770 1.1.27.142736
Table 3: Routing throughput

The IxChariot plot for the routing tests shows generally stable throughput, but with a few pronounced dips. Throughput is evenly split between up and downlink in the simultaneous up/down test.

EA6300 Routing throughput IxChariot plot summary

EA6300 Routing throughput IxChariot plot summary

Storage Performance

I ran Windows filecopy tests using the standard NAS testbed to the EA6300 with our USB standard drive (Startech USB 3.0 eSATA to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station (SATDOCKU3SEF) containing a WD Velociraptor WD3000HLFS 300 GB drive) formatted in FAT32 and NTFS. The results are summarized in Table 4, along with other draft AC routers and the current N-based leader, NETGEAR's WNDR4700 CENTRIA.

  Linksys EA6300 Linksys EA6500 ASUS
RT-AC66U
Buffalo
WZR-D1800H
NETGEAR
R6300
NETGEAR
CENTRIA
FAT32 Write 11.2 4.8 9.0 7.3 8.6 17.4
FAT32 Read 17.4 10.7 9.9 11.8 10.2 32.9
NTFS Write 9.8 7.7 13.5 8.4 11.3 31.6
NTFS Read 17.2 9.5 9.4 8.7 10.3 61.3
Table 4: Router filecopy performance comparison - MB/s

Results show another benefit to using Broadcom's new dual-core BCM4708 processor, i.e. around a 2X throughput improvement over the EA6500 in all benchmarks except NTFS write. The EA6300 is still no match for the NETGEAR CENTRIA, however.

Wireless Performance - Overview

The EA6300 is Wi-Fi Certified and defaults to Auto channel selection and the same SSID ("Linksys" + last 5 Serial # digits) on both radios. The 2.4 GHz radio is set to Auto Channel width and the 5 GHz radio comes ready for draft 802.11ac with a 80 MHz channel width setting.

Linksys EA6300 wireless default settings

Linksys EA6300 wireless default settings

WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) comes enabled and prompted to enter the router's PIN and a new SSID, which it applied to both radios along with a self-generated sufficiently-strong password to complete a WPA2/AES secured connection. I had to change the SSIDs to unique values so that I could tell the bands apart.

I ran 40 MHz Coexistence and Fat channel intolerant tests to see if the EA6300 properly refrained from switching into 40 MHz bandwidth mode. The router passed both tests, staying in 20 MHz bandwidth mode when a test client had its Fat Channel Intolerant bit set. It also switched to 20 MHz mode when I set the EA6300's channel to 8 and had an idle neighboring network on channel 11. Moving the EA6300 to channel 7 properly brought back 40 MHz link rates (> 130 Mbps).

1.1.39.149770 firmware was loaded for all testing, which was done using the new Revision 7 process. The new process uses ASUS' PCE-AC66 AC1750 PCIe adapter to test all wireless routers and APs. The EA6300 was tested in 20 MHz mode only in the 2.4 GHz band and 80 MHz mode in the 5 GHz band. The router was reset to factory defaults and Channel 6 was set for 2.4 GHz and Channel 153 for 5 GHz. The test client was connected using WPA2/AES encryption. The router antennas were positioned 8" from the test chamber antennas in the "0°" test position.

The retest Benchmark Summary below shows the Consolidated benchmark process results. Remember that the summary shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations.

Linksys EA6300 Retest Benchmark Summary

Linksys EA6300 Retest Benchmark Summary

More Wireless

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