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Networking

Linksys EA8100-AH Max-Stream AC2600 promises life in the fast internet lane

The affordable dual-band AC2600 router is designed to cut through congested networks in modern apartments.

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The Linksys EA8100-AH is designed for apartments filled with congested Wi-Fi networks.

Aloysius Low/CNET

If you're always moaning about how slow your Wi-Fi at home is, the problem may not actually be your ISP, especially if you live in an apartment complex.

With countless other Wi-FI networks fighting for frequency space, your Wi-Fi signal isn't getting through to you cleanly, resulting in a slower speed. With that in mind, the new Linksys EA8100-AH dual-band AC2600 should do the trick.

The router comes packing Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) certification, which lets it operate in six channels at 80MHz, which are typically not used by other routers in the market, and if it detects radar interference, will switch to a safer channel seamlessly.

If you don't live near a military base or an airport, then the chances of the routers switching to a more conventional Wi-Fi channel will be rare, and you'll be on the uncongested Wi-Fi channels for faster speeds.

Linksys showed off a demo where there seemed to be a definite improvement when the router was using a less congested channel. It was about twice as fast, though we'll be putting this to the test later. Based on specs alone, the AC2600 router's advertised speeds will get you up to 800Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1,733Mbps on 5GHz.

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There are four Gigabit LAN ports, one USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Depending on your home set up and where the router is placed and how many concrete steel walls lie between your device and the router, coverage may not be as good as a mesh network (especially one using a wired backhaul).

Luckily the EA8100-AH comes with Max-Stream technology, so you can use another Max-Stream router in access point (AP) mode and the handoff between networks should be seamless.

The S$329 (about $280, £180 and AU$325 converted) Linksys EA8100-AH will be debuting first in Singapore Thursday (which has lots of apartment complexes), and will roll out to the rest of the world soon. It will not be sold on store shelves for now -- instead it's only available (for a while) through a package deal with local carrier StarHub.

Quick specs

  • Dual-band AC2600
  • Dynamic Frequency Selection
  • Processor: 880MHz Dual-Core MIPS1004kc
  • Memory: 128MB Flash, 256MB DDR
  • Antenna: Four

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