Linksys EA6500 preview: The new 802.11ac flagship router from Linksys

The number of 802.11ac routers is steadily increasing. The latest one we got our hands on comes from Cisco, in the form of the Linksys EA6500. It's supposed to become the new router for the consumer market. Hardware.Info tested the EA6500 to find out whether the performance and features match up to the claims.

Cisco is not the first to come out with an 802.11ac router, but it has also released an 802.11ac bridge with the Linksys WUMC710. The only other manufacturer to do so thus far is Buffalo.

The EA6500 costs around £160, while the WUMC710 has a price of around £90. Together this is definitely not the most affordable setup, but it beats buying two routers in order to put one in bridge mode.

The 'EA' in the Cisco Linksys EA6500 stands for App Enabled, which means the router is compatible with the Connect Cloud firmware, and you can use apps to do things remotely. The number of available apps is still very limited, but the service is still relatively young. Cisco says that a number of developers are working on it.

You can clearly see that the Linksys EA6500 is a Cisco product, albeit in a larger form. It's also possible to mount the router on a wall. You get two USB 2.0 ports, compared to the single USB port on the EA4500.

An improvement on the back of the Linksys EA6500, compared to earlier models, is the new location of the WPS button, which is now much easier to reach.

The hardware inside the 802.11ac routers we've seen so far has been very similar, and that's once again the case. When more 802.11ac modules become available, that will likely change. Until then, you will see the name Broadcom mentioned quite a bit, since those are the chips being used in 802.11ac routers right now. You can read the rest of Linksys EA6500 preview on Hardware.info.