When it comes to Wi-Fi routers, I’m like most people. I’m good with the one my DSL provider gives me. But that all changed when I got my hands on a Linksys EA6350 “Smart Router.”
Okay, I actually won it in a raffle. Anyway, on with the review!
- Smart Wi-Fi
- 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports
- 1x USB 3.0 port
- Dual-band speed up to N300 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + AC867 Mbps (5 GHz)
- AC technology
Wi-Fi-enabled computer with Microsoft Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP1 or later, Windows 7, or Windows 8 operating system or the Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.8 or later, Snow Leopard 10.6.1 or later, Lion 10.7 or later, or Mountain Lion 10.8 or later operating system. Also requires Internet Explorer 8, Safari 5, Google Chrome, or Firefox 8 or later browser.
The Linksys EA6350 is designed to look sleek and modern. It features sloping curves with a flat minimalist look. Two large adjustable antennas sprout at the back.
Like most routers, the EA6350 is made with a black polycarbonate plastic material. It has a matte gray strip in the middle which sports the Linksys logo, the model number and a nice dim LED indicator.
At the back, you have 4 Gigabit ethernet ports, the Internet connection port, the power supply port, the reset button and the WPS button. It also has a USB 3.0 port where you can connect a USB thumb drive which you can access anywhere.
Build quality is great, as expected with most routers in this range. One issue I have with this though is the size. It takes too much space in my opinion, as it shares some shelf real estate with my relatively small PLDT DSL modem.
Setup and Performance
Setting up the EA6350 is easy. Just plug the device to a power source, connect it to the DSL modem and you’re ready to go. It even comes already set up with a router name and password (which you could change by diving into the settings page).
If you would want to use the Smart Wi-Fi features of the modem, you would need to log on and register with Linksys. This part you can skip but if you want more control on your router, I recommend that you don’t. As soon as I did, the router updated its firmware.
The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi allows you more control on some of the settings on the router. Among other things, it allows you to see what devices are on the network, block devices from internet access or specific websites, create a password-protected guest network, etc. It can also be accessed using an Android or iOS app even if you are away from home. I didn’t find the need to use all of the features, but the ones I did use (monitoring connected devices, activating bands and changing passwords), it did it well.
In terms of performance, the Linksys EA6350 is fast. AC technology is at work here (sadly, not all devices support it). I was able to stream a video file from a USB drive to two devices while watching Netflix without any issues. At home, multiple devices are connected simultaneously but we rarely experience any problems.
Besides performance, another thing I liked about the EA6350 is the signal range. I now get strong Wi-Fi signal in the whole house. My home is not big, but it has a lot of thick walls which hinder the previous router. I place it almost at the center of the house on the second floor for better coverage. I even get it outside, a few meters away.
Besides the size, another issue I found was that the EA6350 has a tendency to become really hot. I usually leave the router on the whole day and rarely unplug it. I read that the heat causes performance issues on some EA6350 models, but I luckily didn’t experience any.
First off, I highly recommend getting a separate Wi-Fi router besides the one your provider give you. And if you want better control of your router settings, increased signal range, and AC tech, then Linksys Smart Wi-Fi is a good one to consider. It comes with a USB 3.0 port and Smart Wi-Fi controls. The only compromises for me is the size and the temperature.