At a Glance
Think carefully before buying the Linksys XAC1900. It’s a great performer, and the software is really good, but it lacks VDSL support yet still costs more than other routers.
The XAC1900 takes a unique approach to the integration of its DSL modem, as it’s built into the power supply rather than on the router itself. This could be useful for hiding cable clutter, but it also makes life easier for Linksys, which can churn out the same chassis for various
routers, either with or without the DSL modem. See also:
Best routers you can buy in 2015
This modem is, however, ADSL2+ only, so it won’t support faster fibre connections. This is a shame because the XAC1900 is otherwise a strong offering. It supports 600Mbit/s speeds over 802.11n and 1300Mbit/s over 5GHz 802.11ac, with dual SSIDs.
The main unit sits horizontally, with a Linksys logo that glows white when the router is powered on. There’s a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port at the rear along with three short and stubby external antennas. When testing, we noticed that no matter how securely we tightened the antennas, they always seemed to work loose.
Although Linksys isn’t the only router company to offer remote access, it’s integrated particularly closely to the XAC1900. Called Linksys Smart Wi-Fi, anything you can do locally can be performed remotely as well. Importantly, this option can be turned off if you’d rather not open a hole in your router’s security. If you’re still worried about your privacy, Linksys partly reassures customers via its web page that none of your router settings are stored on its servers, except for the login and password.
When it comes to the software, Linksys has paid special attention to a clean, crisp layout, with a widget-based UI system. The front page shows at-a-glance information about your network – the number of connected clients, external storage, and so on. The QoS (Quality of Service) setting is also easy to use, with a drag-and-drop interface to prioritise connected clients.
Linksys XAC1900 review: performance
The XAC1900’s performance was superb during our tests, and we recorded some impressive results. It managed the highest short-range performance in this group test – 650Mbit/s over 802.11ac at 3m and over 150Mbit/s over 2.4GHz 802.11n. These are potentially record-breaking results from a 3×3 MIMO router. Ranged performance and 5GHz 802.11n results were also very good.
The lack of VDSL support lets down the XAC1900, but it’s otherwise an excellent product, although at £175 it’s also rather expensive. When 802.11ac routers first went on sale, some were as much as £200, but prices have come down since. It seems that Linksys hasn’t realised this and it’s charging a fair amount more for its DSL router than its competitors do for theirs.
Linksys XAC1900: Specs
- 802.11a/b/g/n/ac modem router
- 3×3 MIMO
- ADSL 2+ / VDSL modem
- 4x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1x USB 3
- External antennae
- 220 x 83.3 x 160mm