Archive for Linksys

How Linksys Can Rescue Themselves From The WRT32X Crisis

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 10, 2017 by itnerd

For the last couple of weeks, Linksys has been going through a bit of a crisis with their flagship router which is the WRT32X. It appears that a firmware update pushed to these routers have caused huge issues for users. And the lack of a resolution has cause rage for those users. I’ve written about my experience trying to get support the one that was on my network. I’ll detail why it is no longer on my network in a second. I’ve also written about how I kind of got myself back to a workable state as well. Now I wasn’t impressed with the response by Linksys, But based on this thread on the Linksys Community Forums, many others are not impressed as well with increasing calls from frustrated users for Linksys to do something about this situation. At least from the users who haven’t replaced their WRT32X for a router from another company.

Then there’s the bad press generated by Twitter. Take these examples:

Now all of that is pretty bad for Linksys. But it gets worse for them. ASUS and Netgear read my posts and sent me the ROG Rapture AC5300 and the Nighthawk X8 respectively. The review of the latter is due to be posted tomorrow (UPDATE: The review is now live). And there’s a third company who I won’t mention at this point who wants to send me a router to review as well. That’s why the WRT32X is no longer on my network. I can read two things into this. One is that these companies want to get some press for their products at a time where they think that Linksys is vulnerable. Second, if these companies are doing this with me, they’re doing this to others who review products as well. Thus multiplying the problems that Linksys has as it will give frustrated WRT32X users options if they want to dump Linksys for another brand.

Now, all of this sounds pretty dire for Linksys. But believe it or not, I think that Linksys has a chance to rescue this. If I were in their position, this is what I would do:

  1. Linksys needs to change the perception that they are being silent on this issue by coming out will a statement acknowledging that the issue exists. Right now they aren’t saying anything, and it is making them look like they don’t care about their customers. If they want to have any chance of rescuing this, they need to change to perception right now.
  2. Linksys needs to be transparent and speak to what this issue is. If they don’t know what the core issue is, they need to say that, and then commit to being transparent about any and all information that they find out. Right now, they are saying nothing. And that isn’t helping their cause.
  3. Linksys needs to resolve this quickly. Given the discontent of their user base at the moment, a fix cannot take weeks or months. It needs to take hours or days if they want to have any chance of placating their user base. Because that user base feels that there is no fix that will come, and they are starting to look at or buy other routers from other companies. Plus you can expect those who exercise the option to go to another router to say bad things about Linksys for a long time. Thus they need to get a fix that works on the street as quickly as possible. Oh yeah, if they have to swap every WRT32X out there via overnight courier to get this fix on the streets quickly, then that’s what they need to do. At this point, not doing so means that this can only get worse for Linksys.
  4. Linksys needs to say sorry for this. By saying sorry, they will help to mitigate the fact that Linksys is seen as not caring about their customers.

Now this requires Linksys to find the courage to step up and do what is right because having to do something like I outlined above isn’t easy at the best of times. But they have to do it because the WRT32X isn’t a cheap router. And it’s aimed at a very influential segment of the market who will tell others what is the best router brand to buy. At this point, that’s not Linksys. Thus if Linksys wants any chance of staying as a player in the router market, they need to find the courage to turn this ship around. Because as it stands right now, Linksys isn’t in a good place and it can only get worse for them if they do nothing.

Over to you Linksys.

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An Update To My Linksys Customer Service #EpicFail

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 5, 2017 by itnerd

I wanted to provide an update to this customer service fail that I had with my Linksys WRT32X and also to provide a path to get yourself back online if you’re in this situation. Seeing as I got about 35 emails from owners of the WRT32X who were in the same boat as I was, I know that the latter is important. It turned out that the Linksys Community Forums provided a workaround to this issue. I say workaround for reasons that will become clear in a second. If you read message six of this thread which I found via this thread will describe a workaround that will get you online that involves using the previous firmware and doing a 30-30-30 reset. So what is the 30-30-30 reset you ask? Well, it’s:

  1. Press and hold the reset button for 30 seconds.
  2. While holding the reset button, pull the power cord and keep holding the reset button for 30 seconds.
  3. While holding the reset button, plug the power cord back in and keep holding the reset button for 30 seconds.

This will reset the router back to factory defaults. It is important that you follow the instructions to the letter. Including the parts about unplugging your Internet modem and skipping the wizard driven setup so that you don’t re-download the problematic firmware that Linksys pushed to these routers.

Now this is only a workaround because Linksys still has problematic firmware that is still being pushed to these routers despite the fact that it’s pretty clear now that the firmware is the issue. Linksys really needs to step up to the plate and put out a functional firmware update that doesn’t cause this issue. And they need to do so quickly because based on the emails that I’ve received from affected WRT32X owners, many are considering dumping their routers for the competition. Something that is validated by the fact that ASUS and one other brand of networking gear are all to eager to hand over gaming routers to me to review. That’s not good if you’re Linksys.

Also of note, Linksys has not reached out to me in regards to swapping this router out. But seeing as I called a halt to proceedings on Sunday, I don’t expect them to even though on Sunday night a person from Linksys going by the name of “Grayson” promised to reach out to me on Monday even though I had put a halt to proceedings. Read into that what you will about the type of service Linksys provides.

UPDATE: So no more than five minutes after I posted this story, “Grayson” from Linksys customer service called to arrange for the replacement of my WRT32X. I told him that I had brought it back to life and there was no need for a replacement. Besides, not that I told him this, but I am currently its direct competitor from ASUS at the moment. Coincidence? The cynic in my says not.

UPDATE #2: I’ve come across some download links from Linksys for those who have been wanting to flash their WRT32X with firmware that actually works:

In my case, I can validate that using the 1.0.170828.208 worked for me before I swapped the WRT32X for the ones that different networking companies have been sending me to review. But from what I see online, it hasn’t worked for everyone. Thus your mileage may vary on this front.

UPDATE #3: One thing that I did notice since replacing the WRT32X is that some really odd and hard to narrow down networking related issues that I’ve been having since I’ve put the WRT32X into service have gone away. I guess I should have swapped it sooner as it was clearly problematic. I should also mention that if you look at this thread, people are getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of action by Linksys on this front. Some are swapping the WRT32X for another one and turning off the auto update function. Other are just swapping it for another brand. That’s not good if you’re Linksys.

#EpicFail: Linksys Serves Up The Most Disappointing & Frustrating Tech Support Experience I’ve Ever Had

Posted in Commentary with tags on December 3, 2017 by itnerd

I’ve been reviewing Linksys products for a while now. My experience with these products has been positive for the most part. And even when a Linksys firmware got pushed to my WRT32X which crippled it because I was dumb enough to leave auto updates on the router in question, I was still bullish on them. But when I tried to reach out for help from Linksys, that started to change. First of all, I reached out to Linksys via Twitter to ask them about the firmware as well as to ask about downgrading to the previous firmware as Linksys for whatever reason doesn’t have any downloads available on their website:

Now in the past, it would have only taken the @LinksysCares account an hour or two to respond. But they never did. The thing that really got my attention is that when I used the tool that allows me to see what interaction a Twitter user has with a given company, I could see the @LinksysCares account answering other questions before and after mine. That sort of suggests to me that for whatever reason, they didn’t want to answer my question. That didn’t inspire confidence as it appears that this is a touchy topic for them for whatever reason. Even if it wasn’t, the fact that they didn’t respond leaves one with that impression which is worse for them from a perception standpoint.

The next day I wrote the article that I linked to above. My purpose was not to trash Linksys, but to point out to others to not be me. Now in that article I pointed out that I tried to get the attention of Linksys because there were no download resources available and I was as a result crippled. Here’s where things got interesting. ASUS saw this story and immediately offered up a ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 router which would be the direct competitor to the WRT32X. They promised to ship it out for Monday arrival. Clearly ASUS sees an opportunity to take some marketshare away from Linksys by having me review one of their products, thus I accepted their offer. 

At the same time that was happening, I decided to phone Linksys to see if I could get assistance with this issue. Now according to Linksys, you need to fill out this form before you phone to make things easier for you. I did that and then phoned. The wait time was insanely quick which was good on their part seeing as it was Friday at about 4PM. But the person I got couldn’t find my info, so she had to take it down again which burned about 10 minutes of time. That suggests to me that either the form that you fill out prior to calling them is of no value, or she wasn’t on the ball. Either way, it wasn’t a good start to the interaction. Once that was done, I told her what the issue is and all the troubleshooting steps that I did prior to calling. That’s important because I don’t want tech support reps to waste time trying stuff that I’ve already done. Except that she tried to get me to repeat the same troubleshooting steps while trying to get me to a second level tech support rep by putting me on hold multiple times for up to five minutes per hold. When she couldn’t do the latter, she said that someone would have to call me back in 24 to 48 business hours. Which meant Monday or Tuesday.

Let me stop here for a second and tell you why this is a #Fail. The companies who pay me to set up high performance contact centers get this advice from me. You have to have your best equipped, best educated, and best prepared people on the front lines. If you do that, these are the people who will solve your customer’s problems quickly and efficiently which in turn will give your business a great reputation. It appears to me that Linksys subscribes to the logic of having lower skilled reps on the front line. That means that they will have lower rates of customer satisfaction and a lower reputation for the company. By the time I hung up with her 38 minutes later, the reputation of Linksys was lower in my mind. That’s when I posted this to Twitter:

I then went about my business not thinking much of this experience. After all, while I did have a crippled network, I did have Internet access. Thus I could make do until Monday when I would get the ASUS hardware to test and review.

Fast forward to Saturday night. My phone went ding and when I checked it, I saw this:

Here’s the kicker. I hopped onto my MacBook Pro to pull up the social media management tool that I used and saw this:

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 3.35.35 PM.jpg

Radian6 is one of the tools of choice that allows you to track the sentiment of your company on social media in real time. Thus this said to me that one of two things was in play. Either Linksys from a social media standpoint was asleep at the switch, or they ignored me until a competitor popped into the scene and then they were forced to react. The cynical side of me says that latter was in play, but I am open to them convincing me otherwise.

In any case, I traded direct messages with them and they promised a call back within 24 to 48 hours. That takes us to Sunday where the call back happened and I got a Level 2 support agent. Unfortunately he tried a lot of the stuff that the first agent that I spoke to on Friday suggested which makes me wonder if they just got someone to call me back and say that they were a Level 2 agent. By the end of the call he had me send him a sysinfo dump of the router which is a complete and detailed log of the router’s configuration and how it was performing and promised to escalate it to engineering because he claimed that he had not heard any reports of this issue with this firmware. Here’s the problem with that statement. Linksys’s own community forums has a thread where people are complaining about a variant of this issue and I even added my own 2 cents to the conversation. Thus someone at Linksys must be aware of it. In any case, that interaction took 31 minutes that I will not get back.

I figured that this was the end of it and I could go back to my day. But the Level 2 rep called back and asked me to try downgrading the firmware to the previous revision. I pointed out that would have done that if it had been available on their download page. To which he replied that they pulled it because of some sort of issue.

Let me stop there for a second and point out something. The fact that this guy actually said that there was an issue with the previous firmware that caused them to take it off their download page was proof positive that the @LinksysCares Twitter account didn’t want to admit it to me on Twitter and chose to ignore me instead rather than help me. That’s a #fail.

Then he directed me to a DropBox to get it. That struck me as odd as you’d think that a company the size of Linksys would have their own resources for this sort of thing rather than relying on DropBox. But I did as he asked and uploaded to the firmware to the router.

That’s when things really went sideways.

You see, downgrading the firmware turned out to be a bad idea as it took the router of the Internet. He then instructed me to reset the router. That didn’t work either. Then he tried to walk me through something that he called a “recovery reset” which still didn’t work. In short, the router appeared bricked. He apologized to me profusely and then made a stunning admission. He had never performed a downgrade of a firmware on a WRT32X before. That blew me away. Why would he suggest something that he had never tried before? That’s a great way to increase the potential that things would go sideways. And to admit to this to a customer is even more stunning. On top of the fact that all his calls are likely recored and someone at Linksys is going to hear that and take a very dim view of what he said.

His next step was to tell me that someone else would reach out to me to arrange to send another router overnight. But that would likely not happen until Monday at the earliest. Then we disconnected. Total time invested: 32 minutes.

Because I wasn’t the sort to give up, I tried his suggestions repeatedly over the next 30 minutes or so. Whether it was through luck or persistence or both, I finally got the router to reset. Now one thing that the Level 2 tech wanted to do was to skip the wizard driven setup so that the router wouldn’t go out to the Internet and update itself. I told him several times that this router is designed to get a firmware update the first time you plug it in and there’s no way to opt out of that. Unsurprisingly that’s exactly what it did, and it highlighted another negative point in terms of this interaction with Linksys support: I know more about their products than they do. That’s really bad.

But at least I am back online.

I am at the point where I am looking forward to having a look at ASUS has to offer. I promised them that I would get their router online as soon as I had it in my hands, and get a review posted after I ran my usual suite of tests. That’s great news for ASUS, but bad news for Linksys. The thing is that this whole experience with Linksys wasn’t disappointing because the product was bad. After all, I was willing to give them a pass on the fact that a piece of firmware that was pushed to this WRT32X took it from the best router I have ever tested to being sub par. It was the support, or rather the lack of support that made it disappointing.

To top it all off, I sent an update via direct message to the @LinksysCares Twitter account. And they replied to that update….. Though I don’t think they read it. The most recent reply is at the top:

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 4.29.55 PM.png

Right now, I truly have no words for the above.

I tell the people who hire me to create high performing contact centers that people are willing to forgive product failures to a point. But they are never going to forgive customer service failures. So you have to come to the table with a good product, but better customer service. Linksys only has the former working for them. And that’s not good for them in the long term because great customer service is what will win you long term customers. And that’s what’s lacking from this interaction.

UPDATE: A reader pointed me to these Tweets from users who have the same problem that I do with the WRT32X:

It seems that Linksys has a growing problem on its hands.

Review: Linksys WRT32X AC3200 Dual Band WiFi Gaming Router

Posted in Products with tags on September 1, 2017 by itnerd

UPDATE: It appears that a recent firmware update pushed out by Linksys has caused issues where people are reporting that this router no longer functions as well as it did when I reviewed it. You can find out more details here, but you might want to hold off purchasing this router until this issue gets sorted.

 

 

I honestly think that Linksys and their marketing department got the marketing of this router wrong. When Linksys handed their brand new WRT32X gaming router to review, I thought that I would run a few tests with it that are gaming related as it is marketed as a gaming router and call it a day. The thing is, the more that I used this router, the more I found that this is a great router for the most part. Period. It just happens to do gaming really well.

Let me start with the looks. Linksys scores points with me for making this router not look like something out of a Transformers movie as some other companies who make gaming routers tend to make their routers look like.

IMG_0700.JPG

It looks like an all black WRT1900AC or WRT1900ACS. That means that it will fit into your decor without standing out like a sore thumb. In terms of features, here’s what you get:

  • AC3200 MU-MIMO
  • 802.11a/g, 802.11n, 802.11ac
  • AC3200 (N600 + AC2600)
  • 2.4 and 5 GHz (simultaneous dual-band)
  • DFS certified for operation in the clear DFS channel airspace
  • 5-port Pro-grade Gigabit Ethernet ports: 1x Gigabit WAN port, 4x Gigabit LAN ports
  • One USB 3.0 port, One Combo eSATA/USB 2.0 port, Power
  • 4x external, dual-band, detachable antennas
  • 1.8 GHz dual-core Processor
  • 512MB DDR3 RAM / 256MB Flash Memory
  • Wireless Encryption: WPA2 Personal
  • VPN Support: PPTP IPSec pass‐through
  • Storage File System Support: FAT, NTFS, and HFS+
  • Browser-based Setup and custom graphical user interface
  • Open Source ready for OpenWrt

This is heavy duty hardware. But all of the above isn’t the part of the story that you should focus on. What you should focus on is the software. For starters, the web based GUI is one of the best that I’ve ever seen. The setup of this router was insanely trivial. And once it is set up, here’s what you get:

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 6.51.11 PM.jpg

It’s a very clean look and it you can easily figure out where you have to go to tweak or set up your router. It also give you a clear view of what’s going on in real time, be it speed related or device related. Kudos to Linksys for coming up with this user interface. Now you can install your own firmware via OpenWrt, but I seriously wouldn’t bother as this user interface rocks.

Another reason why I wouldn’t swap the firmware is the fact that this router has the incorporate the Killer Prioritization Engine. What this does is provides serious online gamers who have Killer enabled PCs the performance to pwn their opponents in epic fashion by optimizing traffic for low latency and less lag and ensures that the Killer-enabled PC’s gaming, audio, and video is fast and smooth. So. That’s great marketing. But is it true?

Yes it is.

I acquired a MSI GT73VR 6RF Titan Pro gaming laptop which supports the Killer Prioritization Engine and after updating Windows 10 to Redstone 2, I downloaded a copy of Steam so that I could install Team Fortress 2 and play it with everything maxed out. That way I could see if their performance claims held up on my Gigabit Internet connection over WiFi. There was no lag, no stuttering, no choppy two way audio while communicating with other players. Nothing negative at all. And this isn’t just when nothing else was going on with the network. I could be using my Roku to stream a TV show or a movie and get this level of performance. It was actually quite impressive.

But it didn’t stop there. I used my own MacBook Pro running the same game on the same server to see what the difference was. To my surprise, performance was much better than what I was used to. It wasn’t up to the level of the MSI laptop, but I had zero reason to complain. Not only that, anything that I threw at this router be it YouTube videos, streaming movies on my Roku, or whatever, it was smooth to a level that I have not seen before. Especially on the 5GHz band via WiFi. This too was impressive. And to be frank, I wasn’t expecting that result. This is precisely why I feel that this router is being marketed wrong. It is the best router that I have reviewed in years by a huge margin.

The only area which the WRT32X perhaps falls a bit short is in WiFi range on the 5GHz band. My condo has a couple of concrete walls to go through, and that combined with the fact that it only has four antennas when some of its competition have six or eight antennas had it struggling a bit to reach the far reaches of my condo with full signal strength. But having said that, I still had no issues streaming videos or pwning opponents in online games from those locations. So while this is a weakness, it’s far from being a fatal one.

The new Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router will be in stores on September 21, 2017 and go for an estimated $369.99 CAD. If you’re a gamer who wants maximum pwnage and you have hardware that supports the Killer Prioritization Engine, you need to get this router. If however you want a top performing router and you’re not a hardcore gamer who wants maximum pwnage, you should still get this router. Quite simply, this is the best router that Linksys has ever produced. Though, if I were them I’d change how it’s marketed as it is such a good router that they are perhaps limiting their target audience by only marketing to gamers.

 

Linksys Announces Powerful New WRT32X Gaming Router

Posted in Commentary with tags on August 22, 2017 by itnerd

Linksys and Rivet Networks, makers of the award winning line of high-performance Killer Networking products for desktop and notebook PCs, today announced at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, the upcoming availability of the new Linksys WRT gaming edition router – the WRT32X.  This first of its kind collaboration, Linksys and Rivet Networks teamed to incorporate the Killer Prioritization Engine (KPE) to provide serious online gamers the only router optimized for high-speed gaming for users with Killer-enabled gaming PCs. The KPE optimizes traffic for low latency and less lag and ensures that the Killer-enabled PC’s gaming, audio, and video is fast and smooth, while simultaneously managing other online traffic in the home to ensure other devices and activities are not compromised. The new firmware and graphical user interface (GUI) was also custom-built from the ground up with a focus on monitoring and controlling gaming network traffic.  The Linksys WRT32X is available for pre-order starting today and plans to ship starting in September 2017.

The WRT32X utilizes the Killer Prioritization Engine (KPE) to determine which devices are connected to the router that are enabled with and using Killer Networking hardware. This hardware can be found in gaming and performance PCs and motherboards from companies like Dell (Both Alienware and XPS models), Gigabyte, MSI, or Razer, as well as Acer, Lenovo, and more.

The KPE works in tandem with Killer-enabled computers to prioritize important gaming and video networking traffic above other devices in the home.  When a user starts a game, the Killer hardware on the PC communicates with the router and tells the router to treat the gaming packets special and with high priority.  If the network is bogged down from other users, the WRT32X is able to keep the gameplay fast and smooth because it prioritizes the Killer game traffic above other traffic in the home.  Conversely, the PC also communicates to the router when a less important activity is taking place (like a download) so that the router won’t let the download impact the Internet experience of other users in the home.

Since network priorities are fully customizable on Killer-Enabled PCs, the KPE on the WRT32X is able to honor those priorities.  So if the user configures the Killer Control Center to make streaming videos their top priority, the WRT32X will treat those packets like gold and ensure nothing in the home slows down those streaming video networking packets.

Gamers will also welcome the new custom-built firmware and GUI specifically for this WRT32X.  The firmware won’t be found on any other router.  The GUI is used to promote important network settings for gaming, provide network usage statics, and it’s wrapped in a design that appeals to gamers while matching the edgy design of the WRT hardware. The new GUI also has a unified responsive design across the desktop, table and mobile device.

Users on a Killer-enabled PC will also now see a “router” tab on Killer’s Control Center App on the PC when the WRT32X is attached.  This provides easier access to router KPE controls for settings while gaming without launching the router GUI.

Key features include:

  • Wi-Fi router built purely for gaming identifies, prioritizes gaming network above all else to give users an edge
  • Synchronization with Killer-enabled PCs gives gaming traffic a priority on wired and Wi-Fi connections
  • Prioritization engine powered by Killer Networking delivers up to 77% reduction* in peak ping for faster response time
  • Blazing fast 1.8GHz Dual-Core processor for simultaneous high-speed data processing
  • Custom-built gaming user interface and firmware specially tuned for online gaming traffic
  • Exclusive optimization for Killer Networking gaming clients found in computers from Alienware, Gigabyte, MSI, Razer and more

Product Technical Specifications:

  • Wi-Fi Technology: AC3200 MU-MIMO
  • Network Standards: 802.11a/g, 802.11n, 802.11ac
  • Wi-Fi Speed: AC3200 (N600 + AC2600) ‡
  • Wi-Fi Bands: 2.4 and 5 GHz (simultaneous dual-band)
  • DFS certified for operation in the clear DFS channel airspace
  • 5-port Pro-grade Gigabit Ethernet ports: 1x Gigabit WAN port, 4x Gigabit LAN ports
  • Other: One(1) USB 3.0 port, One(1) Combo eSATA/USB 2.0 port, Power
  • Antennas: 4x external, dual-band, detachable antennas
  • Processor: 1.8 GHz dual-core
  • Memory: 512MB DDR3 RAM / 256MB Flash
  • Wireless Encryption: WPA2 Personal
  • VPN Support: PPTP IPSec pass‐through
  • Storage File System Support: FAT, NTFS, and HFS+
  • Browser-based Setup and custom graphical user interface
  • Open Source ready for OpenWrt

The new Linksys WRT32X Wi-Fi Gaming Router will be available at select retailers across Canada beginning September 21, 2017 for an estimated MSRP of $369.99 CAD. If you can’t wait that long, here’s a video of this new gaming router:

A special note for my readers. I will be posting a review of this router in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned! 

Review: Linksys MAX-STREAM AC4000 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Tri-Band Router

Posted in Products with tags on June 29, 2017 by itnerd

In the age of the Internet of things, the average home has at least 10 devices connected to the Internet. And all of those devices want access to the Internet at top speed. Thus your router is going to be the bottleneck, or the best friend to those devices. And if you want a router that is more of the latter, you need to look at the Linksys MAX-STREAM AC4000 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Tri-Band Router. Here’s what you get in the box:

  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet connection for your Internet access
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet connections for your wired devices
  • Two USB 3 ports for printers and storage
  • 802.11ac with MU-MIMO
  • A 1.8 GHz quad core CPU and three peripherial processors
  • Airtime Fairness which allows faster devices to have more airtime than slower devices
  • Amazon Alexa support
  • Seamless Roaming when paired with a range extender like the Linksys RE7000

Physically this router takes up a lot of real estate. Thus you might have issues finding a place to put it. It’s also very heavy as it weighs in at a hefty 3 pounds and has a lot of ventilation which is needed as it does get hot. That’s a sign that the router well built.

I’m going to highlight a few things that make this router faster than most. The first is MU-MIMO which allows a Wi-Fi router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. This decreases the time each device has to wait for a signal and dramatically speeds up your network. That means that gamers and Netflix users will remain happy while they do their thing. The second is the fact that it has a 1.8 GHz quad core CPU and three peripheral processors which combine to push the theoretical 4 Gbps that this router is capable of. Not that any single user will see that speed as that figure is an aggregate of the two 5 GHz bands, each capable of 1625 Mbps and single 2.4 GHz band which is capable of 750 Mbps. Third is the fact that the router supports beam forming. Meaning that the antennas (six of them) surrounding the router are all directional, but between them they cover a full 360 degree range and the router can utilize the antenna or antennas to deliver the best signal to a device. Thus wherever the device accessing the router happens to be, it is guaranteed to get a good connection.

So…. How well does this work in the real world? Very well in fact. Using my Rogers Ignite Gigabit connection, I was able to get an average of 680 Mbps downstream and 44 Mbps upstream over 802.11ac WiFi when I was close to the router which is very quick and very close to my current speed champion which is the Linksys MAX-STREAM AC5400 Router. However I noted that the speed of this router is better than MAX-STREAM AC5400 router in every area of my condo. Particularly in areas where I had problems getting a good quality signal. Thus if you have a large home, this router will ensure that all parts of it get speedy WiFi.

Setup was trivially easy using Linksys Smart WiFi as I had it setup and fully up to date from a firmware perspective in minutes. Linksys Smart WiFi also allows you to fully configure aspects such as parental controls, media priority, and block HTTPS sites which is a unique feature. You can do all of this over a webpage, or over apps for the iOS and Android platforms. Keep in mind that the router will be connected to the Linksys servers at all times for you to fully leverage Linksys Smart WiFi. By the way, future functionality is going to appear in this router such as VPN support, DUAL WAN support to take two Internet connections and combine them, link aggregation to give you faster file transfers on your home network, and dynamic frequency selection which will provide up to four times the wireless channels available on the 5GHz frequency band among other things that Linksys has on their roadmap.

Downsides? Two that I can think of. The first is that if you want to plug in a lot of wired devices, you need to get a Gigabit switch or look to the MAX-STREAM AC5400 router which has 8 Ethernet ports. It is also not cheap at $379.99 CDN. But those who want the best wireless performance possible will willingly hand over their cash to get their hands on the Linksys MAX-STREAM AC4000 as it is a router that is very balanced in terms of performance when it comes to overall speed and range. Consider this router if you stream 4K video or you frequently want to pwn your friends in your favorite online game.

 

Browser Based Interface Added To Velop Via Firmware Update

Posted in Commentary with tags on June 23, 2017 by itnerd

Linksys today announced it has added a browser-based user interface for Velop users.  Similar to the browser-based user interface available with Linksys WRT and Max-Stream routers, the user interface is now available for Velop users to access advanced features as well as manage their home network from a Mac or Windows computer in addition to an iOS or Android device. Velop was built for performance, design and ease of use in setting up and managing the home network with the Linksys App; but now with the browser-based setup, there are even more ways to control the home network for a better Wi-Fi experience. The new user interface is available globally to all Velop users now with the latest firmware update. 

The new browser-based user interface now includes the following features:

  • Access to advanced settings:
    • DHCP server access for automatically assigning IP addresses to devices that come onto the network. This provides easy connectivity for mobile devices that often leave the network and return later.
    • DNS configuration for linking host names, such as a web address to a specific IP address.
    • Troubleshooting: device table, router report, ping/trace route, logs.  These features provide additional insights into network performance.
    • Security: firewall, VPN passthrough, DMZ settings.  Users can access these settings to manage their network security.
  • Browser access for users with a Mac or Windows PC.

Users can continue to enjoy the features found exclusively on the Linksys App, including:

  • Velop Setup
  • SpeedTest​
  • Channel Finder​
  • Notifications ​

Velop networks with Automatic Firmware Update enabled will automatically receive the new firmware overnight. If Automatic Firmware Updates is disabed, the new firmware can be downloaded and installed manually.  Please check the Linksys support page for more details. Users can visit the Linksys support site to learn more about Automatic Firmware updates.