We learned a lot from this test and not just that corrupt parliaments should be blown up (V for Vendetta) or that our fairy friends shouldn't be scolded when they're only trying to help (Tinkerbell).
It’s hard to imagine anyone buying one of these routers and regretting it. They’re all good and they generally do the same thing.
The Netgear offers a few more configuration options than the competitors, including more complex parental controls, open source software compatibility, port aggregation and a backup app but these aren’t earth shattering. In performance terms it struggled two floors up more than any other. Considering it costs $700, we’re confident in saying that there’s better value to be had elsewhere.
Despite the haphazard performance of the D-Link router (or it's current lack of MU-MIMO firmware), it can’t be underestimated how much, ‘not having to think about which network band to join’ makes. All environments have fluctuating WiFi conditions and if you see the D-Link network it will usually work very well. But there aren’t too many other features. It does look the best unless you hate the sight of it. We’ll probably end up using it most ourselves but really, at $150 more than the Linksys, it loses this test on value.
The clear winner is the Linksys. It would arguably win if it cost $700 like its rivals but it’s actually $150 less. The eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, the simple settings pages and consistently-strong performance at all ranges means that while it might not have won many of the tests outright, overall it’s the champion.
However, there needs to be an honourable mention for the older, D-Link AC3200 DIR-890L router. This is essentially the same as the (tested) D-Link AC5300 DIR-895L router but for one less 5GHz network and no MU-MIMO potential. It offers the same features, proved itself capable at all ranges and costs just $350!
Finally, for more information on the MU-MIMO WiFi adapter that we used, check out this review, here. We also reviewed Linksys' WiFi range extender, here. Finally, we investigated MU-MIMO itself and saw whether the benefits were worth paying extra for (at the moment), here.
Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: How we tested
Page 3: Results
Page 4: Netgear Nighthawk AC5300 X8 review
Page 5: D-Link DIR-895L AC5300 MU-MIMO Ultra Wi-Fi Router review
Page 6: Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router review
Page 7: Conclusion