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Linksys XAC1900 Smart Dual-Band Modem Router review: This modem-router looks premium, but doesn't deliver

Review Sections

Much like D-Link's new interface, QoS or "Media Prioritization" is handled by a drag-and-drop mechanism, but caters for devices, applications and games, with more granular details able to be entered by the user if needed. Parental controls are somewhat limited, offering Internet access scheduling and blacklist capability.

linksys-qos.jpg
Screenshot by Craig Simms

The Smart Wi-Fi mobile app doesn't give access to all the settings, but contains enough to be useful. You can view devices on the network, alter guest and Wi-Fi settings, change parental controls (minus the scheduling), adjust QoS, and interestingly fiddle with port forwarding.

Performance

We tested with firmware 1.0.00.003, and used iPerf to determine the maximum wireless speed at three locations: the next room, immediately upstairs with some furniture in the way, and one room away from immediately upstairs.

The wireless client used was an Asus G550 laptop with a 2x2 Intel AC7260 wireless card, as an indicator of average performance. Each WLAN is set to WPA2 personal encryption and a clear channel is chosen. Where possible the highest channel bandwidth is chosen, either 40MHz or 80MHz depending on the wireless standard. Where appropriate, transmission standard is set to 802.11n or 802.11AC only.

linksysxac1900-3.jpg
Dave Cheng/CNET

Due to the variable nature of wireless and surrounding WLANs, each unit was tested multiple times at various times of day to achieve a best case scenario performance value. Your own environment will see different results.

802.11n 2.4GHz performance

Linksys XAC1900
163
152
70.6
Belkin AC1750DB
111
112
75.4
AVM Fritz!Box 7490
172
173
92.4
D-Link DSL-2890AL
168
162
85.1
D-Link Viper DSL-2900AL
172
164
88.2
Asus DSL-AC68U
170
157
82.8
TP-Link Archer D7
110
111
74.1
TP-Link Archer D9
175
156
89.5

Legend:

Location 1
Location 2
Location 3

Note:

Throughput in Mbps

The XAC1900 lags a bit in 2.4GHz, although it's nothing critical. Still, we'd have hoped for a little more competitiveness.

802.11n 5GHz performance

802.11n 5GHz performance
175
175
52
Belkin AC1750DB
219
183
42.1
AVM Fritz!Box 7490
188
211
59.3
D-Link DSL-2890AL
193
191
52.9
D-Link Viper DSL-2900AL
197
184
64.8
TP-Link Archer D7
220
197
43
TP-Link Archer D9
193
181
37.7

Legend:

Location 1
Location 2
Location 3

Note:

Throughput in Mbps

The XAC1900 provides the slowest 802.1n 5GHz scores for the first two locations, by a noticeable margin.

802.11ac performance

Linksys XAC1900
292
285
80.9
Belkin AC1750DB
290
275
82.9
AVM Fritz!Box 7490
307
300
77
D-Link DSL-2890AL
308
297
77.5
D-Link Viper DSL-2900AL
294
281
74.1
Asus DSL-AC68U
300
291
78.5
TP-Link Archer D7
298
287
81.8
TP-Link Archer D9
303
292
74.4

Legend:

Location 1
Location 2
Location 3

Note:

Throughput in Mbps

802.11ac performance generally hits the mark across the board.

Storage was tested over gigabit LAN with a SanDisk Extreme NTFS formatted 64GB USB 3.0 drive plugged into the fastest USB slot, transferring a 100MB file via SMB.

USB storage performance

Linksys XAC1900
23.85
23.63
Belkin AC1750DB
9.36
2.87
AVM Fritz!Box 7490
6.45
5.85
D-Link DSL-2890AL
5.04
4.99
D-Link Viper DSL-2900AL
6.14
6.78
Asus DSL-AC68U
29.32
32.42
TP-Link Archer D7
14.45
13.73
TP-Link Archer D9
23.26
13.41

Legend:

Read
Write

Note:

Throughput in Mbps

Linksys has a strong showing in USB performance, only bested by the Asus DSL-AC68U.

Conclusions

I can't help but feel disappointed with the XAC1900. The split out, giant power-modem brick, the slow wireless performance for the price, the laggy UI and the comparatively limited feature set compared to the Asus and AVM alternatives. While it's possible most of this could be addressed in a future firmware update, for this price we'd go with another option.

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