Looking to update your network to Wireless AC speeds? Linksys launched a networking router that's based on the 802.11ac Wave 2 Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO) technology. Called the Max-Stream AC2600 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router (EA8500), this device is available now for preorder at $279.99.
Although it's generally not noticeable, the typical router will send Wi-Fi signals to devices one at a time. In some cases, that's what causes buffering in streaming video, especially if more than one device is streaming. Devices essentially wait in line to receive and transmit data.
However, according to Linksys, that's not the case with MU-MIMO routers. These routers are capable of sending and receiving data from devices simultaneously. There's no more waiting in line.
"MU-MIMO is like having an individual wireless router dedicated to each device on the network so that multiple users can connect at the same time without slowing down the network," Linksys explained (pdf).
Packed with a dual-core processor clocked at 1.4 GHz, the new router promises Wireless AC speeds of up to 1733 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 800 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. The router also provides four Wireless AC streams; Beamforming technology for a better, more defined connection; and four adjustable, removable Wi-Fi antennas.
The AC2600 also includes five gigabit ports (1 WAN, 4 LAN), an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port and one USB 3.0 port. Customers can use the USB ports to connect an external drive and share documents and media across the network, or use them to share a printer.
All of this can be managed by way of the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi app for Apple's iOS and Google's Android platform. Customers can prioritize devices or websites, create a separate guest network, monitor the network's speed and activity, control content that's inappropriate and more. The router can also be managed using a web browser.
Although the price is a bit steep, Linksys indicated that this device would be great for gamers and households that stream a lot of video and music on multiple devices. Keep in mind that these max speeds only apply to devices with Wireless AC connectivity; expect slower speeds on gadgets that only support dual-band Wireless N connectivity and older.
The new Linksys router will ship on May 10 and will be available online and at local retail stores such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Amazon and more.