Linksys E8350 AC2400 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router Review

The Linksys E8350 AC2400 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router was available from 7th November 2014 at a recommended retail price of S$399 exclusively at Challenger and their online store. This is the second router to be priced at S$399 after the Linksys WRT1900AC Router.

Personally, I think Linksys should stop pricing their router so high because at that price point, no one in the right mind will get a Linksys. Gone are those days that Linksys is a top consumer brand for router. Their features just pale in comparison with the Asus RT-AC87U which is also priced at S$399.

Features

  • Concurrent dual-band wireless operation (600 + 1733 Mbps)
    • Data transfer rates of up to 600 Mbps on 2.4GHz (3 spatial streams with 256QAM)
    • Data transfer rates of up to 1733 Mbps on 5GHz (4 spatial streams)
  • 4 Removable and adjustable antennas
  • 4-Port Gigabit Switch/1-Gigabit WAN Port
  • USB 3.0 / 2.0 / eSATA Ports
  • MU-MIMO Ready – which will provide simultaneous streaming and gaming on multiple devices without speed degradation when technology is available
  • Integrated DHCP server with dynamic and static IP address assignment
  • PPTP, IPSec and L2TP Pass through
  • Storage features for external USB hard disk and flash drives (supports FAT, FAT32, NTFS, and HFS+)
  • UPnP IGD and media server
  • Supports DLNA for home media management
  • Virtual USB support
  • Beamforming
  • Wall Mountable

Linksys E8350 - Box Front
Linksys E8350 – Box Front

Linksys E8350 - Box Back
Linksys E8350 – Box Back

Linksys E8350 - Box
Linksys E8350 – Box

Linksys E8350 - Box Contents
Linksys E8350 – Box Contents

Specifications (From SmallNetBuilder)

  • CPU: Qualcomm dual-core IPQ8064 Internet Processor (1.4 GHz)
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Flash: 128MB
  • Wireless: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac wireless LAN

    • 2.4GHz
      • Qualcomm Atheros QCA9880 3-stream 802.11ac radio solution
      • IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b
      • Speeds up to 600 Mbps
    • 5GHz
      • Quantenna QSR1000 (QT3840BC Baseband & QT2518B RF)
      • IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11n & IEEE 802.11a
      • Speeds up to 1,733 Mbps
  • LAN/WAN

    • 4x 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN ports
    • 1x 10/100/1000 Gigabit WAN port
    • Qualcomm Atheros QCA8337
  • Antennas: Four exchangeable external antennas
  • Other Ports: 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x eSATA/USB 2.0 Port
  • Dimensions (H x W x D): 5.6 x 25.9 x 18.3cm
  • Weight: 635g

Design
The design of the E8350 is pretty nice and functional. There are holes all over the router to make it well ventilated and that will enable the router’s heat to dissipate easily. Personally, I still prefer the design of the Linksys WRT1900AC Router because it is more iconic.

Linksys E8350 - Top
Linksys E8350 – Top

Linksys E8350
Linksys E8350

If you notice there are no indicator lights at the top or in front of the router. The indicator lights are all located behind the router where all the ports and buttons are. The indicators are just located below their respective ports.

I am not really a fan of this design because the indicator lights are meant to let you know the status of your router easily. By placing it behind, it kinda defeats that purpose.

Linksys E8350 - Bottom
Linksys E8350 – Bottom

Linksys E8350 - Ports
Linksys E8350 – Ports

From left to right:

  • 1x USB 3.0 Port
  • 1x eSATA/USB 2.0 Port
  • 4x Gigabit LAN Ports
  • 1x Gigabit WAN Port
  • Wi-Fi Button (Enable/Disable Wi-Fi Easily)
  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) Button
  • Reset Button
  • 12v DC Power
  • On/Off Switch

Setup
The router came with a CD for you to run it and set it up, but these days, I am pretty sure many users don’t own a CD drive anymore.

Setup #1
Setup #1

Setup #2
Setup #2

There are two alternatives to setup the router if you don’t own a CD drive.

Firstly, you can download the Setup Wizard for PC or Mac from the E8350 Support Page.

Secondly, you can connect directly to the router via the provided LAN cable and navigate to http://192.168.1.1 with the username “admin” and password “admin” to set it up.

I went with the second way because to me it is the most straight forward way.

Admin UI
The Linksys E8350 doesn’t support Smart Wi-Fi. Linksys Smart Wi-Fi gives you Smart Wi-Fi Apps and Tools that let you access your connected devices and control them from wherever you are.

Because it doesn’t support Smart Wi-Fi, the UI defaults to the typical Linksys UI that can be found back in those WRT54G days.

This may be shocking to you, but I kinda like this UI more. Despite it looks uglier, it is more functional and faster loading when compared to the Smart Wi-Fi UI.

Setup - Basic Setup
Setup – Basic Setup

Setup - Basic Wireless Settings
Setup – Basic Wireless Settings

Setup - Single Port Forwarding
Setup – Single Port Forwarding

Setup - Disk
Setup – Disk

Setup - Management
Setup – Management

VLAN Tagging
One good thing about the E8350, is that it supports VLAN tagging and this allows you to use your router directly with the Optical Network Terminal (ONT).

For this router, I am using it with my SingTel 300Mbps Fibre Home Broadband.

I just have to tag VLAN ID of 10 to the Internet port as shown in the screenshot below and I can use it directly with the ONT, replacing the default Aztech router given by SingTel.

Setup - VLAN Setup
Setup – VLAN Setup

Speedtest
If you have setup everything properly, you will get the advertised speed when connected via LAN.

Linksys E8350 - Pluggedin
Linksys E8350 – Pluggedin

Speedtest
Speedtest

Wireless Strength
I am using WiFi Explorer to test the wireless strength at 2 locations in my house, my room and the toilet.

WiFi Explorer – My Room
WiFi Explorer – My Room

WiFi Explorer – Toilet
WiFi Explorer – Toilet

I am not very impressed with the wireless strength of the E8350 as it seems weaker than the WRT1900AC.

Location E8350 WRT1900AC DIR-868L My Net N900 EA6500 EA4500 DIR-855
My Room (2.4GHz) 55% 76% 79% 75% 79% 78% 80%
My Room (5GHz) 27% 78% 91% 64% 64% 65% 46%
Toilet (2.4GHz) 41% 50% 58% 46% 53% 72% 56%
Toilet (5GHz) 37% 46% 55% 35% 41% 33% 31%

Speed
The Linksys E8350 is touted to support wireless data transfer rates of up to 1,733Mbps, but that is provided you are using a MU-MIMO (multi-user multi-input multi-output) compatible device.

As far as I know, there are no such device currently on the market yet (correct me if I am wrong).

I am using Speedy Net app on Mac to test the transfer speed between Macs.

Speedy Net – LAN (MacBook Pro Retina) to LAN (MacBook Air)
Speedy Net – LAN (MacBook Pro Retina) to LAN (MacBook Air)

Speedy Net – LAN (MacBook Pro Retina) to Wireless N 5GHz (MacBook Air)
Speedy Net – LAN (MacBook Pro Retina) to Wireless N 5GHz (MacBook Air)

Speedy Net – Wireless N 5GHz (MacBook Pro Retina) to Wireless N 5GHz (MacBook Air)
Speedy Net – Wireless N 5GHz (MacBook Pro Retina) to Wireless N 5GHz (MacBook Air)

The LAN to LAN speed test of the Linksys E8350 turn out pretty well. It performs much better than the Linksys WRT1900AC.

However, when it comes to LAN to wireless and wireless to wireless, the Linksys WRT1900AC wins it hands down.

Type E8350 WRT1900AC DIR-868L My Net N900 EA4500
LAN to LAN 876.2Mbps 780.27Mbps 500.19Mbps
LAN to Wireless N (5GHz) 97.64Mbps 146.14Mbps 217.61Mbps 113.48Mbps 107.81Mbps
Wireless N (5GHz) to Wireless N (5GHz) 50.53Mbps 146.91Mbps 75.71Mbps 63.01Mbps 65.17Mbps

Summary
This router is priced at S$399 and I have absolutely no idea why Belkin price it so high. It is definitely not worth the money given then the average performance and coverage when not using MU-MIMO compatible devices.

It supports VLAN tagging which is a plus. The fast loading and functional admin UI is much better (though uglier) than Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router UI.

I think a more reasonable price would be S$199. If you have S$399 to spare, I will highly and totally recommend getting the Asus RT-AC87U instead.

If you need a more technical review on the Linksys E8350 Router, checkout SmallNetBuilder review.

Pros:

  • VLAN Tagging
  • Functional and fast loading admin UI
  • Detachable Antenna (might be upgradable in the future)

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Slower wireless speed compared to Linksys WRT1900AC

Linksys E8350
Linksys E8350

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