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Wireless Reviews

AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router
At a glance
ProductLinksys AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Router (WRT1900ACS)   [Website]
SummarySecond version of Marvell-based AC1900 class router with Gigabit Ethernet ports and USB 3.0 / eSATA storage sharing
Pros• High performance storage sharing
• OpenVPN server
• OpenWRT support
• Supports non WDS bridging and repeating
Cons• Smaller feature set than other top-end routers
• Poorer 2.4 GHz performance than original

Typical Price: $158  Buy From Amazon

Introduction

Updated 2/25/16 - Router performance retest due to measurement process error

Linksys' WRT1900ACS Dual-Band Gigabit Router is the official name for the WRT1900ACV2 that was outed via firmware release notes back in April. The ACS replaces the original WRT1900AC, which will be gone when the last one is sold.

From the outside, the ACS looks the same as the original. But inside, the ACS has lost the fan, upgraded to a 1.6 GHz dual-core Marvell Armada 38X processor, doubled RAM to 512 MB and integrated the two Marvell radios onto the main board. Everything else remains the same including the four-antenna design, USB 3.0 and eSATAp combination USB 2.0 / eSATA ports.

Linksys WRT1900AC and ACS

Linksys WRT1900AC and ACS

The WRT1900AC review has the indicator and connector callout info. It hasn't changed from the original review, so I'm not repeating it here.

Inside

Although it looks the same from the outside, the ACS' innards have gotten a major overhaul with an eye toward cost reduction and more streamlined manufacturing. The new board takes many design cues from the WRT1200AC's board. In fact, near as I can tell, the ACS' board is the 1200AC's board, with all four RF chains loaded.

The photo below shows the new sans-fan layout. RF is still on the right and its "can" is no longer it topped by a heatsink. The processor / memory heatsink on the left isn't as hefty as the original's and no longer covers the components below the RF can.

Linksys WRT1900ACS board

Linksys WRT1900ACS board

For comparison, here's the original AC's layout. The RF can's heatsink was removed for the photo.

Linksys WRT1900AC board

Linksys WRT1900AC board

Removing the heatsinks and RF can tops provides a clearer picture of the main board. The two Marvell 88W8864 radios and associated components are now integrated on board.

Linksys WRT1900ACS board - naked

Linksys WRT1900ACS board - naked

Here's the WRT1200AC's board so you can see the, uh, similarities.

Linksys WRT1200AC board - naked

Linksys WRT1200AC board - naked

The original WRT1900AC had both radios on a module that was removed for the photo below.

Linksys WRT1900AC board - naked

Linksys WRT1900AC board - naked

Here's a look at inside of the original AC's module.

Linksys WRT1900AC radio module

Linksys WRT1900AC radio module

Table 1 compares the key components of the old and new designs, plus the WRT1200AC for good measure. I was able to identify switches and receive LNAs (low noise amplifiers) in the ACS' design. I didn't inspect the original AC's board, so don't know if it also has LNAs.

Linksys WRT1900ACS Linksys WRT1900AC Linksys WRT1200AC
CPU Marvell Armada 38X dual-core @ 1.6 GHz
(88F6820-A0 C160) (ARMv7)
Marvell MV78230 Armada XP @ 1.2 GHz (ARMv7) Marvell Armada 38X dual-core @ 1.33 GHz (88F6820-A0 C133) (ARMv7)
Switch Marvell 88E6172 Marvell 88E6172 Marvell 88E6176
RAM 512 MB 256 MB 512 MB
Flash 128 MB 128 MB 128 MB
2.4 GHz Radio Marvell 88W8864
- Skyworks SE2623L 2.4 GHz power amplifier (x4)
- Unidentified switch and LNA (x4)
Marvell 88W8864
- Skyworks SE2623L 2.4 GHz Power Amp (x4)
Marvell 88W8864
- Skyworks SE2623L 2.4 GHz Power Amp (x2)
5 GHz radio Marvell 88W8864
- RFMD RFPA5522 5 GHz power amplifier (x4)
- Skyworks SKY85601 5 GHz LNA + switch (x4)
Marvell 88W8864
- Skyworks SKY85402 5 GHz Power Amp (x4)
Marvell 88W8864
- RFMD RFPA5522 4.9 GHz to 5.925GHz WiFi Integrated PA module (x2)
- Skyworks SKY85601 4.9 - 5.9 GHz SPDT Switch with LNA (x2)
Table 1: Component summary

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