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Wireless Performance

The EA7500 is Wi-Fi Certified for 802.11a,b,g,n and ac. Keep in mind there is no Wi-Fi Certification for MU-MIMO yet. Default wireless settings are shown in the next screenshot.

EA7500 Wireless defaults

EA7500 Wireless defaults

WPS was enabled on both bands and a WPS pushbutton session completed quickly on both resulting in WPA2/AES connections.

For throughput testing, the router was first reset to factory defaults. Then Channel 6 and 20 MHz bandwidth mode was set for 2.4 GHz and Channel 153 and 80 MHz mode set for 5 GHz. The test client was connected using WPA2/AES encryption.

The router's antennas were centered on the test chamber turntable with all antennas vertical as shown in the photo below. The 0° position for the router had the front facing the chamber antennas.

Linksys EA7500 in test chamber

Linksys EA7500 in test chamber

The charts below, filtered to show AC1900 class routers show the EA7500's average 2.4 GHz performance stacks up quite well, both down and uplink.

Linksys EA7500 2.4 GHz Average throughput comparison

Linksys EA7500 2.4 GHz Average throughput comparison

The EA7500 also does quite well running 5 GHz downlink, but falls into the midsection of the 5 GHz uplink chart.

Linksys EA7500 5 GHz Average throughput comparison

Linksys EA7500 5 GHz Average throughput comparison

For the throughput vs. attenuation profile plots, I compared the top-ranked NETGEAR R7000 for a higher-ranked choice and Linksys WRT1900ACS for lower-ranked.

The 2.4 GHz downlink profile shows suprisingly high throughput for the EA7500 at the start of the test run. This result was so high that I thought I had forgotten to set 20 MHz mode. But I always check the link rate reported by the standard bridge-mode NETGEAR R7000 test STA and the 288.8 Mbps reported is just what you'd expect for 20 MHz bandwidth 2.4 GHz connection using 256 QAM and short guard interval.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 2.4 GHz uplink plot again shows almost freakishly high throughput for the EA7500 with strong signal levels (low attenuation values). However, it again joins the other two routers from around 33 dB attenuation onward.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 5 GHz downlink profile shows much less difference in performance. The EA7500 and WRT1900ACS both do better than the NETGEAR until around 18 dB attenuation, then exchange places for the lead.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

For 5 GHz uplink, the EA7500 shows the lowest performance of the four benchmarks, perking up only a bit to match the WRT1900ACS from 27 dB on.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

Closing Thoughts

The EA7500 ranks #4 of 16 tested AC1900 routers; not a bad showing. The Ranker Performance Summary below shows its key strengths are 2.4 GHz average and maximum throughput. #6 range ranking in both bands isn't too bad, but not enough to push the EA7500's total ranking higher.

EA7500 Ranker Performance Summary comparison

EA7500 Ranker Performance Summary comparison

So why would you buy this thing? Certainly not for price. I'm sure Linksys thought it was going to steal market share from 4x4 MU-MIMO competitors by originally pricing the EA7500 $60 lower than its EA8500 4x4 AC2600 class router ($219.99 vs. $279.99 MSRP). Linksys continues to maintain a significant price difference with the reduced prices ($199.97 vs. $249.99) it currently offers in its store.

But there are lots of cheaper AC1900 routers and even a few better performing ones, including Linksys' own EA6900 (#3 ranked), the top-ranked NETGEAR R7000 and #2 ranked ASUS RT-AC68U. And prices have already come down for 4x4 AC2600 class MU-MIMO routers to match the EA7500's current $200 price tag, including Linksys' EA8500 that you can get for around $190, if you're willing to buy from smaller Amazon Marketplace vendors.

Aside from hoping to eke out higher 2.4 GHz throughput with medium to strong signals and strong USB 3.0 connected storage performance, I see no compelling reason to recommend EA7500. It's not a bad router. It just doesn't have anything in particular to recommend it.

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