The long and short of it is that this is one hell of a router. If all out performance is your ultimate aim, this set up provides it in droves and laughs at your attempts to push it. With the slow, but inevitable roll out of Gig connectivity to the home from the ISP a device like this will certainly be more than able to keep pace with your WAN for a fair amount of time to come. With this said, it’s not perfect; the asking price is steep and is easily comparable to pricing for kit used by SMEs and the Enterprise for smaller satellite sites, yet the options provided by the firmware are simply none comparable in this space the ‘pro’ level hardware offers much, much more than the EA9500 does. But then business isn’t the obvious target market, it’s the home audience, or those that can work from home but don’t need things like VPN connectivity and other advanced features found in ‘typical’ SOHO marketed hardware. This is where things become a harder sell, in the UK its almost an expectation that your ISP will provide a router with your connection, certainly where the Big 5 ISP’s are concerned and in many cases using your own hardware can limit the support the ISP can provide due to staff being trained for a targeted set of devices. I’m sure the same is true in other regions too. While I wouldn’t dream of comparing the free kit that an ISP is liable to ship out to the EA9500, or even a much cheaper bit of kit, for many these free devices are ‘good enough’.
Thankfully Linksys aren’t aiming for being good enough, they’ve pushed hard to high performance tech out of the door and into a router that they are seemingly hoping is one of, if not the fastest, most powerful networking device on the market to home users at the moment and it shows. While I may be disappointed at a lack of features provided by the firmware the only omission that I would call glaring is the lack of ability to bind Ethernet ports to allow for multi Gigabit capabilities on the wired network. For how I imagine the device being used this seems to be an oddity, since a dual LAN media server hanging off the back of this thing would be a perfect scenario for taking full advantage of the capabilities on offer. In terms of SOHO users, provided they don’t require more ‘pro’ level functionality of their kit, this would be a tempting sell, since the capabilities it provides in terms of sheer bandwidth and horsepower mean that other members of the family can hammer away at the network and you can just keep on working with minimal interruptions. It’s at this stage that the connection from the ISP really becomes the main stalling point, but eventually when Gig Fibre is more common, the EA9500 will be there for you, ready and willing to handle anything you can throw at it.
Provided your feature needs are low and your bandwidth needs high. You really cannot go far wrong for looking to buy the EA9500, while it’s expensive if you are looking for a real performance device this is definitely a great buy.