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Wireless Reviews

Features

The EA9300's supports Linksys' standard "Smart Wi-Fi" feature set, which is described pretty well in the EA9500 review.

Linksys's routing features continue to lag far behind ASUS and somewhat behind NETGEAR's. Like other EA series routers, it does not support OpenVPN as the Marvell-based WRT routers do. Wireless bridging is also not supported. But if you make your way to the Wireless > Advanced tab, you'll find an Airtime Fairness enable, which is off by default. This provides a shot at improving total wireless bandwidth use by keeping slower devices from hogging too much air time. It's not a panacea, though, so you should experiment and see if it's right for you.

The default wireless settings are shown in the next screenshot. Note "Smart Connect" band-steering is supported only between the two 5 GHz radios, same as on the 3x3 tri-radio EA9200 and 4x4 EA9500. This is disappointing, since dual-band capable devices should be steered to 5 GHz whenever possible to optimize throughput.

Wi-Fi Defaults

Wi-Fi Defaults

Like other Linksys routers, the EA9300 has a hidden Advanced Wireless Settings page reachable by substituting advanced-wireless.html for home.html in the URL. I asked Linksys about the suspicious WiFi Certification Support checkbox shown below. The response was "...is a GUI control that we put in earlier products. Back then, we would like to conduct some internal experiments and see whether toggling some of the wi-fi options would affect the user experience of the product."

Smart Wi-Fi Dashboard

Smart Wi-Fi Dashboard

Storage Performance

We used our standard router storage test procedure to measure file copy throughput for FAT32 and NTFS volumes connected via USB 3.0.

The charts show results for products tested with the Revision 10 process. I've come to expect Linksys to always have the best USB storage performance and the EA9300 does, although not for FAT32 write. But since most people will want the larger volume support that comes with NTFS, those are the benchmarks likely to matter more.

USB 3.0 storage write performance - USB 3.0

USB 3.0 storage write performance - USB 3.0

Read performance shows the EA9300 and ASUS GT-AC5300 running neck-and-neck for both FAT32 and NTFS. Not surprisingly, the ASUS also uses the BCM4908.

USB 3.0 storage read performance - USB 3.0

USB 3.0 storage read performance - USB 3.0

Routing Performance

The EA9300 was tested with our new V10 router test process, loaded with 1.1.9.181086 firmware. I threw in the ASUS GT-AC5300's results because it uses the same CPU.

Test Description Linksys EA9300 ASUS GT-AC5300
WAN - LAN Throughput (Mbps) 941 719
LAN - WAN Throughput (Mbps) 941 713
HTTP Score - WAN to LAN (%) 56.9 68.1
HTTP Score - LAN to WAN (%) 57 68.4
Bufferbloat Score- Down Avg. 494 450
Bufferbloat Score- Down Max. 385 317
Bufferbloat Score- Up Avg. 415 227
Bufferbloat Score- Up Max. 305 162
CTF Score (%) 56.7 64.5
Firmware Version 1.1.9.181086 3.0.0.4.382_12184
Table 2: Routing throughput

The HTTP and CTF Scores are now where you want to focus. The numbers above are averages of scores for four file sizes. The plot below shows the per filesize results for the EA9300 and ASUS GT-AC5300. Both routers perform about the same for the two larger file sizes, both LAN to WAN and WAN to LAN. The ASUS, however, has higher throughput when moving the two smaller file sizes.

HTTP Score comparison

HTTP Score comparison
Plot key file size: [A] 2 KB, [B] 10 KB, [C] 108 KB and [D] 759 KB file

For Bufferbloat, the Linksys edged out the ASUS. For reference, 5 ms of delay equals a score of 200 (1/5 x 1000). The EA9300's highest average latency was 2.4 ms on upload vs. 4.4 ms for the ASUS. Both are nothing compared to the latency of a typical ISP connection.

The Cut Through Forwarding tests look for throughput reduction when various router features are used. Unchecking the Express Forwarding checkbox on the Connectivity > Administration page knocked downlink throughput down around 30%. But using the Media Prioritization (QoS) feature and setting the test client as the high priority device produced only 57% of normal throughput on downlink and 58% uplink. So you'll take a significant routing throughput haircut if you decide to use those features.

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