Wi-Fi is a second-class service in my house, but even I am looking to replace my creaky old 802.11g access point. If like me, you're also looking for a new router (and have a terrible fear of space arachnids), you might have a look at Linksys' latest offering: the Max Stream EA8300. Linksys says this is its first AC2200 tri-band router with MU-MIMO support priced under $200.
The EA8300's AC2200 Wi-Fi offers a theoretical peak throughput of 2.2 Gbps across its three streams. You get five Gigabit Ethernet ports—four for LAN connectivity plus one WAN port—and a USB 3.0 connector for easy setup of networked storage. The hardware inside consists of a quad-core ARMv7 SoC and 256MB of DDR3 memory, all booting from 256MB of onboard flash. Notably, this router offers some measure of support for Amazon's Alexa assistant, allowing for "a variety of convenient voice commands."
Until recently, high-speed Wi-Fi has been restricted to relatively high-end hardware. Nearly a year after the Wi-Fi Alliance finalized the 802.11ac "wave 2" standard, we're seeing the technology finally creep into consumer devices. Linksys is looking to bring MU-MIMO to the masses, claiming that "more than 84%" of Wi-Fi hardware will be MU-MIMO-enabled by 2019.
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