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Linksys EA8300 Max Stream AC2200 Router review: This little Linksys router gets the job done -- up to a point

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The Good The Linksys EA8300 gives quality coverage throughout your home, while offering the newest features. MU-MIMO, band steering on 5GHz and Alexa integration are all included for $200.

The Bad The AC2200 rating keeps it from being high-end. You may want to replace it once more of your laptops, phones and tablets are capable of faster speeds.

The Bottom Line If you want great coverage for your medium-size home, lots of customization options and top speeds on your router – all for around $200 – the Linksys EA8300 is the one you want.

8.0 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 7
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The Linksys EA8300 has as many features as most higher priced routers.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The Linksys EA8300 Max-Stream router boasts top speeds and tons of features for medium-size homes, and it's affordable at $200 or £150 in the UK. Its tri-band and MU-MIMO capabilities can help improve your Wi-Fi signal, but its AC2200 class distinction implies that it's not quite a top-tier router like the similarly priced Asus RT-AC3200. The EA8300 will get the job done today, but as you acquire more devices in the coming years, you will probably want an upgrade. With less theoretical speed but similar features to the Linksys EA8500 and EA9500, the EA8300 is a nice little router – and I do mean little – for anyone in need of upgrading their networking equipment.

Compact design to fit anywhere in your home

The EA8300 is lightweight (1.3 pounds) and compact (8.4 by 6.4 by 2.2-inches), much the opposite of its high-octane EA9500 brother. With its all-black design and a small digital display, it's not inherently ugly, so you shouldn't have to hide it from view. The display shows the Linksys logo and an orange icon when you aren't connected to the internet. Nothing too flashy.

The four external antennas are adjustable (but not detachable) and aren't too large, so you can display them in whatever manner you like (no guarantees that will give you the best signal though).Two antennas offer dual-band technology and two are single-band. Since most devices these days only have one or two antennas, this router has just enough to give you the best Wi-Fi speeds you can get.

Easy setup, convenient Smart Wi-Fi app

Setting up the EA8300 was pretty much plug and play. Just connect it to the internet and follow the onscreen prompts to set the name of your network, give it a password, update the firmware and you're good to go.

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The easy-to-use setup menu gives you lots of options to customize your router.

Dan Dziedzic/CNET

The menus were very easy to navigate with options for a Network Map, Guest Access, Parental Controls, Media Prioritization, Speed Test, External Storage and general settings. Everything will feel familiar if you have owned a Linksys router before. The main menu also has a convenient grid showing an overview of your settings.

Linksys also gives you the option of creating a Smart Wi-Fi account that gives you access to your router from another computer or mobile device. The app is pretty much the same as the browser interface and was very easy to navigate.

Many ways to easily customize your home network

The EA8300 tri-band router offers a quad-core 716 MHz processor with 256 MB of RAM as well as flash memory. You get one gigabit WAN port to connect it to the internet and the standard four gigabit LAN ports for your wired devices. You can even use it with other Max-Stream devices as a router, access point, repeater or bridge.

It has two 5GHz bands and one 2.4GHz band, which top out at theoretical speeds of only 867Mbps and 400Mbps, respectively. Many similarly priced tri-band routers like the Asus RT-AC3200 offer much higher speeds. However, in the real world, most devices won't reach those speeds anyway since environmental factors make all signals volatile. The Linksys EA8300 should have more than enough bandwidth for any small or medium-size home.

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  Turn band steering on or off to customize your router's performance to meet your needs

Dan Dziedzic/CNET

The band steering option is nice as well, allowing the router to choose the best band for optimal performance. If you disable band-steering, you can customize the channel, channel width and network mode (802.11ac only, 802.11n only, and so on).

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