We recently covered the Linksys EA9500 MU-MIMO Router and were highly impressed with the performance and speed it offered, logically it would only make sense for Linksys to move this same tech into the SME space. The latest addition to the LAPAC line of Wi-Fi base stations aimed at business users does just that. Linksys have kindly provided us with the Linksys LAPAC 2600 for review, how does it stack up when compared to their other recent MU-MIMO offerings? Let’s take a look and find out.
First Up, Appearance.
The packaging as expected from a business grade piece of kit is simplistic and minimal, consisting of little more than a brown card box with some basic information on the device it contains. Internally we have the base station itself, an Ethernet cable and power lead as well as the mounting brackets to allow ceiling or wall mounting of the unit, a CD with documentation, a quick start guide and finally a mounting template. All in all, pretty telling of the market sector this is aimed at, potential buyers will likely already know exactly what they need so need no real advertising on the box to extoll the virtues of the device contained within, similarly all the usual end user help stuff is eschewed due to this being aimed at folks who work with this kit for a living.
The unit itself is simplistic in appearance being hexagonal in shape, with a taper down the sides to the bottom of the unit, a small LED on the top of the device confirms its power state which can be disabled if you find it too distracting; it measures 243 x 236 x 43 mm, so isn’t exactly tiny. All in all, none of this is a bad thing, these devices are designed to disappear into the environment and provide unobtrusive connectivity that end users don’t need to be too concerned about, so while the unit is reasonably attractive, it does favour discretion over looks and I think it performs a great job in this area despite its size placing it at the larger end of the scale in terms of competing hardware. Power, Ethernet and PoE (power over Ethernet) ports as well as a physical reset button are all hidden in a recess in the base, allowing for cabling to be routed through via ceiling or wall voids, a slight cut out to the rear allows the cables to also run out of the back of the device if its stowed flat on a table top too.
Internally, the LAPAC2600 is jam packed with 4X4 MIMI antenna, supporting 802.11b/a/g/n and MU-MIMO AC across two different wireless bands, 2.4 GHz and 5GHz offering 800Mbps and 1733MBps respectively. Each band offers upto 16 individual SSIDs allowing the potential to create upto 32 separate Wi-Fi networks for differing departments or parts of the building.