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Wi-Fi Router Charts

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Mesh Charts

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Features

The EA6900'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.

EA6900 admin login

EA6900 admin login

Here's a summary of the EA6900's base feature set. This includes only the set of built-in "Smart Wi-Fi Tools":

Routing / Firewall

  • Static and Dynamic IP, PPPoE and PPTP WAN connections (IPv4)
  • Automatic, 6rd tunnel (IPv6)
  • MTU Adjust on all connection types
  • WAN MAC address clone
  • WAN IP release / renew both IPv4 and IPv6
  • DHCP Server, lease time setting, default domain and primary/secondary DNS
  • DHCP Client list
  • DHCP reservation
  • NAT enable / disable
  • Separate SPI firewall enable / disable for IPv4 and IPv6
  • Single port forwarding with separate source and destination ports
  • Port range forwarding and triggered port range forwarding.
  • IPv6 port range forwarding
  • DMZ Host with source IP restriction
  • UPnP enable/disable
  • DDNS support for Dyndns (www.dyndns.org) and TZO (www.tzodns.com)
  • VPN Passthrough enable/disable for IPSec, PPTP, L2TP
  • Application Layer Gateway enable/disable for SIP
  • Internet filters for multicast, NAT redirection, Ident, anonymous requests (pings)
  • Remote Management with HTTPS option
  • Cut Through Forwarding enable/disable (enabled by default)
  • Static routes

Administration

  • IPv4 ping, Traceroute tools
  • Router reboot
  • Configuration backup / restore
  • Previous firmware restore

QoS

  • Drag and drop prioritization for devices, services and games. High and normal priority levels.

Access / Parental Control

  • Per-device Schedulable internet access control
  • Web domain blocking (not schedulable)

USB features

  • SMB storage sharing
  • Network USB Print server
  • Media server
  • FTP server
  • Share access control by user

Take a quick run through the annotated admin screenshots in the gallery below if you'd like a closer look at the EA6900's configuration features.

Wireless features are somewhat limited compared to competing products. There is no physical wireless on/off switch and no timed wireless enable / disable, but you can shut off each radio in the GUI. There is no transmit power adjust and no support for WDS bridging / repeating or client-based bridge (no WDS required). By using the Internet connection Bridge option, you can easily convert the EA6900 to an access point.

EA6900 wireless settings

EA6900 wireless settings

Table 2 has a summary of the wireless settings for your reference. Note that there is no TurboQAM enable / disable for the 2.4 GHz radio. It is enabled by default.

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

Storage Performance

Like the NETGEAR and ASUS, the EA6900 has one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0. I had some tough going testing the EA6900. I started by connecting my standard USB drive (Startech USB 3.0 eSATA to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station [SATDOCKU3SEF] with a WD Velociraptor WD3000HLFS 300 GB drive) and was able to run tests fine with the drive formatted NTFS and connected to both the USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.

But after I removed the drive and formatted it on a Win 7 system for FAT32, the EA6900 refused to mount the drive ever again. No matter how may router reboots, drive reformats, partition deletes and changes between FAT32 and NTFS I did, the drive would not mount. So I had to fall back to using a 500 GB WD My Passport (WDBKXH5000ABK-01). I ran tests with the drive formatted in FAT32 and NTFS and connected to both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.

Windows filecopy tests were run using the standard NAS testbed connected to a router Gigabit LAN port and the standard USB drive formatted in FAT32 and NTFS [NAS test details]. Tests were run connected with the USB drive connected to both the USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.

Table 1 summarizes USB 2.0 performance and includes the EA6900's AC1900 competitors. The NETGEAR clearly wins in this comparison.

  Linksys EA6900 NETGEAR R7000 ASUS RT-AC68U
Processor Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4709A Broadcom BCM4708A
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 14.5 24.8 11.8
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 21.0 27.8 24.0
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 17.2 27.9 23.7
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 21.2 27.9 24.2
Table 1: File copy throughput - USB 2.0 (MBytes/sec)

Switching to USB 3.0 results, it's clear that the NETGEAR wins again. But comparing the EA6900's USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 results leads me to believe that the router didn't access the drive at USB 3.0 speeds.

  Linksys EA6900 NETGEAR R7000 ASUS RT-AC68U
Processor Broadcom BCM4708A Broadcom BCM4709A Broadcom BCM4708A
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 15.6 33.4 11.7*
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 22.1 57.4 21.6*
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 17.4 36.8 23.6*
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 22.4 57.7 24.3*
Table 2: File copy throughput - USB 3.0 (MBytes/sec)
* = "Reducing USB 3.0 interference" setting enabled

I'm not sure what the problem is, since the EA6900 certainly has sufficiently shielded the USB 3.0 connector. Could be that the USB driver needs some further work.

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