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Home News The best from the already great Linksys brand of routers

The best from the already great Linksys brand of routers

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Linksys has been making routers for years and has made a name for itself providing reliable hardware with solid features. It has continued to innovate with its Velop series and has begun to move into Wi-Fi 6 for modern devices. The MAX-STREAM MR7350 is one of the best routers for most people with sufficient speed and mesh capabilities baked in, but there are other options as well.

Best Overall: MAX-STREAM MR7350

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The Linksys MAX-STREAM MR7350 router is an affordable Wi-Fi 6 router that also comes with mesh capabilities. The dual-band connection is capable of delivering wireless speeds of AX1800 with 1,201Mbps at 5GHz and 574 at 2.4GHz. Like all Wi-Fi 6 routers, it is backward compatible with 802.11ac/n/g/b/a and has four gigabit Ethernet ports so you can get your entire network connected.

The MR7350 is mesh capable and works with more MR7350 routers as well as the higher-end MR9600 and the Linksys Velop lines of products. If you need to add more coverage to your home, you don’t need to replace your router.

This router has an understated design with a matte black housing with venting on the top. Dual swiveling antennas are attached at the back next to the Ethernet ports and a USB 3.0 port for storage devices. This isn’t the cheapest router but with Wi-Fi 6 and mesh capabilities, it should last for quite a while/

Pros:

  • Four Ethernet ports
  • Mesh capable with Velop
  • WPA3 security
  • Wi-Fi 6 capable

Cons:

  • AX1800
  • Only dual-band
  • Expensive

Best Overall

MAX-STREAM MR7350

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  • $150 from Amazon

Traditional design with mesh capabilities

The MR7350 has an excellent balance of features for most people with wired connections as well as Wi-Fi 6 compatibility.

Best Value: MAX-STREAM EA7300

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The MAX-STREAM EA7300 has all of the standard features you would expect in an inexpensive router plus some that you wouldn’t, such as MU-MIMO (which allows it to better communicate with more devices simulatenously) and setup with an app. This Wi-Fi 5 router delivers AC1750 speeds with a dual-band setup with 1404Mbps at 5GHz and 300Mbps at 2.4GHz. There are four Ethernet ports around the back for wired devices alongside three adjustable antennas.

This design of the router does feel a little dated now but it’s subtle enough not to stand out if you want to leave it out in the open. Linksys recommends this router for small households so if you need to cover a lot of space, consider a larger router or a mesh system. You may also run into issues if you have brick walls or multiple stories.

If you’re looking for something basic that can get you online and you aren’t too worried about top speeds, this should be a fine option. You should even be able to stream 4K video with no issue as long as your internet connection can support it.

Pros:

  • AC1750 speed
  • Four Ethernet ports
  • Affordable
  • USB 3.0
  • MU-MIMO support

Cons:

  • Only Wi-Fi 5
  • Dated design
  • Not good for large households

Best Value

MAX-STREAM EA7300

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  • $130 from Dell
  • $84 from Amazon
  • $130 from Newegg

A balance of speed and features for a small home

The EA7300 has the basics, with four Ethernet ports and AC1750 dual-band speeds. It’s nough for light streaming and browsing.

Best for Gaming: WRT3200ACM

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In a nostalgic blue and black housing, the angular and slightly angry looking WRT3200ACM is a nicely balanced Wi-Fi 5 gaming router. With two antennas and on the rear and two more on the flanks, this router delivers AC3200 speeds with a dual-band setup. 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band plus 2600Mbps on 5GHz is possible thanks to a wide 160MHz wide 5GHz channel. You also get four Ethernet ports for the best ping possible.

A powerful 1.8 GHz dual-core CPU and MU-MIMO support keep speeds high and pings consistent even with several devices connected. If you like to tinker, this is a great router with support for open source software like OpenWrt and DD-WRT. This software has been designed to let you customize your network as much as possible. Still, the built-in option isn’t bad for most people and you can set it up with the Linksys Smart WiDi App.

Pros:

  • AC3200 speed
  • Supports open software
  • Fast CPU
  • 160MHz 5GHz band
  • Flashy design
  • MU-MIMO support

Cons:

  • Only dual-band
  • Wi-Fi 5 only

Best for Gaming

WRT3200ACM

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  • $250 from Amazon
  • $250 from Best Buy
  • $250 from B&H

Tons of customization with strong hardware

The WRT3200ACM is a strong platform for great software to keep games running well. Support for open source software is a bonus.

Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh: Velop MX10

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The Linksys Velop MX10 system is a mesh consisting of two MX5 routers. The MX5 is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 device capable of speeds up to AX5300. This speed breaks down into 1,147Mbps, 2,402Mbps, and 1,733Mbps delivered with Wi-Fi 6. This is more than enough speed for anyone but it does come with a hefty price tag. Still, if you want one of the best mesh systems available, this is it.

Each unit comes with four Ethernet ports around back arranged vertically with a USB 3.0 port at the top. This isn’t an ideal setup for Ethernet since heavy cables could put the system off balance, but it is nice to have so many wired options on a mesh system. That being said, these routers are a portly 4.5 inches across and 9.6 inches tall so they’re not exactly small.

The mesh is easily set up with the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi app and these routers even support the WPA3 standard. The Velop MX10 should be able to deliver plenty of speed and coverage for years to come.

Pros:

  • Tri-band
  • AX5300 speed
  • WPA3 support
  • Four Ethernet ports per unit
  • USB 3.0 on unit

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Large

Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh

Velop MX10

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  • $700 from Dell
  • $700 from Amazon
  • $700 fromBest Buy

Superfast Wi-Fi 6 mesh networking

The Velop MX5 is one of the fastest Wi-Fi 6 routers Linksys makes and is part of one of the strongest Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems around.

Best Security Features: Velop Tri-band

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The Linksys Velop Tri-band is one of the best-balanced mesh systems available thanks to its modest size and strong Wi-Fi abilities. With two 5GHz bands and a 2.4GHz band, this router is able to deliver two 867Mbps streams plus a 400Mbps stream. The major benefit of tri-band in a mesh system is that one band can be used for device connections while another can be used for the mesh connection. This keeps the speed from being cut in half when transferring a lot of data.

There are two Ethernet ports on the bottom of the device, which allow for a clean look, but doesn’t offer much expansion for wired devices. If you need to connect a lot of wired devices, you’ll need to add a wired switch to your network. This isn’t very expensive or difficult but does increase the complexity of the setup.

One of the most interesting features included with the Velop Tri-Band is the ability to use wireless signal fluctuations to detect motion inside your home. Called Linksys Aware, this feature is a good way to be able to keep an idea on the level of activity at home without having to install motion sensors or cameras.

Pros:

  • Tri-band connection
  • AC2200 speed
  • Linksys Aware motion detection
  • Works with other Velop routers

Cons:

  • Only two Ethernet ports
  • Wi-Fi 5 only

Best Security Features

Velop Tri-band

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  • $330 from Dell
  • $300 from Amazon
  • $300 from Dell

Velop with an extra communication band

The Velop Tri-Band system is able to deliver a faster mesh connection than a dual-band system and can even detect motion.

Bottom line

No matter what your networking needs are, chances are good that Linksys has a router that will work for you. When I install a piece of networking equipment, I want it to just work so I can forget about it. Linksys has a good reputation for reliability and its routers generally have good feature sets. The Velop line has also been good for maintaining compatibility across the whole line making it easy to build the perfect mesh.

The best router needs to be flexible enough to fit your needs now and next year without breaking the bank. The MAX-STREAM MR7350 does a good job with this balance by building a router with fairly standard features and sufficient speed with mesh capabilities. With full Velop compatibility, this will be an easy router to expand down the road if you find you need more coverage.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

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Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking and carriers, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It’s the Pentium 3.

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