Linksys unveils MU-MIMO -enabled 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless router

May 7, 2015
The Linksys EA8500 router incorporates Qualcomm's MU | EFX MU-MIMO technology+, which Linksys says "helps to provide up to 3x faster speeds compared to current Wi-Fi."

Linksys has announced the availability of its new MU-MIMO -enabled Wireless AC router. The Linksys Max-Stream AC2600 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router (EA8500) leverages 802.11ac Wave 2 MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple Output) technology, which the company notes "helps ensure uninterrupted Wi-Fi connectivity to all the devices in the home and function as if multiple devices have their own dedicated router."

“MU-MIMO technology revolutionizes the wireless experience in the home,” asserts Mike Chen, vice president of product management, Linksys. “The average home has more than 8 devices connecting to the Internet, and they’re not used for just sending emails and tweets. We’re streaming movies and TV shows in high definition, we’re video chatting with our friends and family, and we’re playing video games against competitors around the globe, all on different devices and often at the same time. To have dedicated bandwidth for their devices simultaneously will enhance the users’ experience so they won’t see that buffering icon when streaming a movie or listening to choppy music or worse, playing games with lag. We are so confident in the experience that MU-MIMO provides that we will be expanding our product line in the future to include more MU-MIMO routers.”

The Linksys EA8500 router incorporates Qualcomm's MU | EFX MU-MIMO technology+, which Linksys says "helps to provide up to 3x faster speeds compared to current Wi-Fi." The combined 2.53 Gbps Wi-Fi speeds (up to 1733 Mbps for 5 GHz and 800 Mbps for 2.4 GHz‡) help minimize buffering and enable faster downloads. A 1.4 GHz dual-core CPU and four Gigabit ports offer connection speeds fast enough for heavy-bandwidth wired gaming. Users can attach devices to the unit's USB 3.0 port and a combo USB 2.0/eSATA port for uninterrupted personal cloud content streaming or to share data across their network. The router's four removable external antennas are adjustable for maximum coverage, while beamforming technology concentrates the Wi-Fi signal to each device for stronger, better performance and increased mobile speed and range.

“The Qualcomm MU | EFX is designed to greatly improve Wi-Fi performance and consumers’ connected experiences,” says Gopi Sirineni, senior director of product management, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc. “Industry leaders like Linksys recognize the impact that MU-MIMO can have on home networks, and are delivering advanced products with the speed and efficiency to address the ever-increasing number of devices and high-bandwidth applications.”

Survey finds 84% of home users run multiple devices simultaneously; nearly 50% use significantly outdated Wi-Fi routers

In a recent IDC InfoBrief sponsored by Linksys, titled The Home Network, the Neglected Workhorse, IDC surveyed participants that had at least 3 wireless access users in their household to understand the behaviors of wireless Internet use and how MU-MIMO can benefit multi-user/multi-device households. The research project found that people are doing more on their home networks, but are using older wireless technology that is not suited for the type of wireless households today - which are multiple-user/multiple-device households:

* 84% of the respondents said they were streaming movies/TV and another activity such as streaming music, playing games, or surfing the Internet at the same time.
* Nearly 50% still use routers running versions of Wi-Fi at least 12 years old.
* 2/3 of the respondents said they had at least 5 devices connected to the Internet and in use at the same time.
* More than half of survey respondents said they frequently or always experience buffering, interruptions or other performance issues on their home network.
* 84% of survey respondents cite performance as a key attribute to their router buying decision, far out-distancing range, security and even price.
* Average selling price of routers is growing too – respondents said they would spend an average of $84 more on a router to eliminate performance issues.
* People want their Wi-Fi: Wireless Internet access ranked #2 of the things that people would not live without. Food ranked #1, followed by Wi-Fi, smartphones, and sex.

What Linksys says it learned from the survey is that more households are online with multiple devices; the research showed that there were an average of 5 devices connected and in use at a time and more than half of users are having buffering and lag issues. The company says the research confirms that "people are looking for Wi-Fi that has strong performance, which is why they are willing to pay more for a router that enables them to connect multiple devices simultaneously and not experience any performance issues."

The Linksys Max-Stream AC2600 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router (EA8500) is available at retail and online retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Fry’s, Newegg, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, Target and Wal-Mart at an MSRP of $279.99.

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