Review: Linksys MR8300 AC2200 Mesh WiFi Router

One of the things that I have been telling my clients who have large homes is that the best way to get good WiFi coverage is to go the mesh WiFi route. The upshot is that via placing WiFi nodes in the right locations in your home, you can get the coverage that you need. The downside is that you do give up some functionality that you get with a traditional router. Such as multiple Ethernet ports for example. I’m now happy to say that those days are over thanks to Linksys and their MR8300 AC2200 Mesh WiFi Router:

fullsizeoutput_c90

The router has four antennas that are permanently attached to the router. Which makes me believe that you’ll have to send the router in for service if one breaks or becomes non-fuctional. In terms of build quality, it feels solid and there seems to be more than enough ventilation to keep it cool.

fullsizeoutput_c8b

On the side is a button for WPS or WiFi Protected Setup.

fullsizeoutput_c8f

On the back are four gigabit Ethernet LAN ports as well as a gigabit WAN/Internet port. There’s also a USB 3.0 port for printers or storage devices.

From a technical standpoint, this is what you get:

  • Tri-Band speed up to 2.2 Gbps. That comes in the form of one 2.4 GHz channel and two 5GHz channels that show up as a single SSID. The router will then shuffle your devices to the best channel so that the device gets the best speed.
  • 802.11ac
  • 2 x 2 simultaneous data streams for stronger and faster performance
  • Intelligent Mesh Technology
  • MU-MIMO
  • Beamforming Technology
  • Guest Network
  • Parental Controls

Setting up this router is insanely easy because of the Linksys app which is available for iOS and Android as it walks you through everything that you need to do to set it up as a router that is acting alone, or in concert with Linksys Velop units. More on the latter use case later. In my case I had this router set up and ready to go in three minutes as I had a Linksys account already setup. If you don’t, I would guess that it would take you five minutes to set this up which is still pretty quick. Once you set things up, you can run and manage most of the routers functions from the Linksys app. Which means for example you can get alerted if the Internet is down and you are not at home. Or you can tweak the parental control settings to ensure your kids don’t go anywhere on the Internet that they should not be going to. Now you’re likely wondering about the “most” part. Well, when I set this up I tried to find the option to turn off UPnP or Universal Plug and Play in the app. I do that because it is a huge security risk for your home network. But I could not find that option in the Linksys app and I had to log into the router using a browser to disable UPnP. Not the biggest deal in the world, but something that you should keep in mind if you are a more advanced user like me.

In terms of speed, here’s what I got when I did the router’s built in speed test on my gigabit Internet connection. The speed test is powered by SpeedTest.net which is handy as I was able to use the standalone SpeedTest.net app for iOS to verify the results the router gave me when I was standing about two feet away from it:

fullsizeoutput_c8a

While it is not the fastest router that I have ever tested, it is more than fast enough for a family who wants to game, watch Netflix or YouTube and surf. In terms of range, it had no issues covering my sub 900 square foot condo with fast WiFi. But if I needed to cover a bigger area, the MR8300 AC2200 Mesh WiFi Router can be used with the Linksys Velop mesh WiFi system expand your WiFi coverage easily and painlessly. I tested adding a couple of nodes and it was insanely simple using the Linksys app. And the result was seamless fast WiFi.

What this means is that you can start out with the MR8300 AC2200 Mesh WiFi Router and leverage the functionality of a router in terms of the Ethernet and USB ports. If this works in your environment, then you’re done. But if you need better coverage, then add a Velop or two, or three to give you the coverage that you need. Honestly, that’s brilliant as it means that everyone can get great WiFi without breaking the bank.

Gripes? From the “I am a power user and the rest of you may not care about this” department comes these two items:

  • More Ethernet ports. As in six would be nice as there are devices that I run that are Ethernet only and four ports doesn’t cut it for me.
  • Bondable ports. As in having the ability to take two ports and bond them into a single port that has 2 Gigabits of throughput as that would be nice as that would allow me to run a NAS like this one at full speed.

But those are edge cases for a nerd like me and not for the average person. The fact is it is quick, easy to set up, and easy to expand via the Linksys Velop mesh WiFi system. And the price is just the icing on the cake seeing as it goes for $179.99 USD. Should you wish to add a Velop mesh node, I’d suggest this one which is priced at $199 USD. But Linksys does have other Velop options for you at a lower price points. But the bottom line is this. Linksys has something here that I think will attract a lot of attention for people who want excellent WiFi coverage that is fast with a minimal amount of effort and money to get there. If that’s you, then the Linksys MR8300 AC2200 Mesh WiFi Router needs to be on the top of your list.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: