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Review: Linksys Max-Stream EA7500V2 AC1900+ MU-MIMO Gigabit WiFi Router


The Linksys Max-Stream EA7500 AC1900 MU-MIMO Gigabit WiFi Router  has been out on the market for almost two years but chances are you didn’t know that Linksys actually updated and upgraded this wireless router a few months back so that it’s now officially the Max-Stream EA7500V2 AC1900+ MU-MIMO Gigabit WiFi Router. Externally both models are identical, but internally there’s been a big change with Linksys upgrading the internal chipset from a Qualcomm Antheros-based set to newer MediaTek MT7621 architecture.

 

What’s new inside the EA7500V2

In terms of raw power this update might seem as step down as the previous Qualcomm Atheros dual-core processor was rated at 1.4GHz, while the new MediaTek dual-core processor clocks in at 880MHz, but the MediaTek chipset is actually a completely integrated solution based on recently developed WiFi technology, and actually exceeds its predecessor in WiFi performance for roughly half the power consumption and at lower operating temperatures, with full support for next generation wireless standards like 802.11AC WAVE 2.

From left to right, the ‘red boxed’ chips are: 1. Mediatek MT7615N for 2.4Ghz, 2. Four diplexars for the EA7500V2’s three external antenna and single internal antenna, all handling 2.4/5GHz frequencies and a MT7615N for 5GHz. 3. Mediatek MT7621A processor with 256MB RAM

By using two MediaTek MT7615N chips for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless transmissions and built-in coprocessors to streamline network data processing,  the EA7500V2 is able to more effectively use its dual-band, 4×4 MU-MIMO capabilities to deliver AC1900+ speeds, with up to 800Mbps in 2.4GHz and 1,733Mbps in 5.0GHz, figures which Linksys state are best in class.

 

For better WiFi coverage the EA7500V2 has an updated 3+1 High performance antenna system with high power amplifiers that utilise Linksys Beamforming Technology that creates dedicated 802.11ac connections to WiFi devices, while Linksys Max-Stream MU-MIMO technology ensures all devices in your home are connected at the same time.

 

Below the circuit board of the EA7500V2 there’s a new heat spreader to better dissipate heat, which usually builds up when the router handles heavy loads (like when you’re streaming 4K videos for your ‘Neflix and chill’ session). This is also important during hot climates as wireless routers are programmed to automatically slow down or shut down if they cross their maximum operating temperature threshold – else they might damage their circuitry or even worse, start a fire. If you’ve ever had a wireless router suddenly reboot itself this is the primary reason why (and why you should always place your wireless router somewhere with air flow, not stuffed inside a closet).

Setting up the EA7500V2

Now I’m actually pretty familiar with the EA7500 router as it’s been my primary home wireless router for more than a year – and paired with a single Linksys RE7000 range extender I pretty much had complete coverage of my two-story maisonette apartment. The big difference in installation with the EA7500V2 router is that while back then I used the URL linksyssmartwifi.com to access the router’s configuration via my laptop, Linksys has since come up with an iOS/Android Linksys App that makes it even easier to set up the EA7500V2 – just follow the on-screen instructions. As you can see, the Linksys App is a universal router app for all Linksys home routers, including the Mesh Velop system.

The router will automatically update to the latest firmware then ask you to personalise your network.

For my WiFi demands the EA7500V2 easily improves upon my internet accessibility from its predecessor, especially as it does feel like it slows down at higher loads – such as simultaneously streaming a 4K video while playing a multiplayer PC game. With the original EA7500 I’ve occasionally encountered lag while playing the online game World of Warships, but this wasn’t the case with the EA7500V2.

In addition to four Gigabit ports, which I use to connect my console and network drive, the EA7500V2 has two USB ports (one of which is USB 3.0) which supports external hard drives and UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) – letting me stream my multimedia library wirelessly to my devices. Oh and with the new router I also have the advantage of seamless roaming under one network name and a single SSID. This means that if like me you’re using the EA7500V2 with the RE7000 range extender to cover your apartment, when you watch a Full-HD YouTube trailer of Star Wars: The Last Jedi while walking from you bedroom to your kitchen, there’s no sudden pause or drop in your video as your iPad switches networks.

 

 

Shawn Chung
The Editor

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