I will admit now that I have had a fondness for the WRT range of routers since they were first launched, since it’s the device I first cut my teeth on when getting into networking, using one as part of a wireless bridge back before devices like home plugs were available, as such I will naturally have a degree of bias where any device in this range is concerned. This said, from what I’ve seen of the WRT 1900 through testing it does meet the fundamental requirements I would have for a router of this type, though the 2.4Ghz speeds are lacking over distance and when internal structures are factored in which a tad disappointing. Thankfully, the 5Ghz spectrum makes up for this with reasonable throughput regardless, including in more ‘hostile environments’ where Wi-Fi access would be hampered by building materials. Of course, if you do need 2.4Ghz in every room there are other options to help with this if you absolutely, positively need to buy this router, such as the Re7000 we reviewed a couple of months back. My complaints about the lack of features offered by the default firmware from the EA9500 also stand here, though the fact VPN support is included does go some way to mitigating this, the router could still be much more capable, thankfully OpenWRT have builds certified to work specifically with this device which should help fill any needs you may have in the software area adequately.
For the asking price and the potential feature set offered by the ability to run open source software on the router I cannot recommend this enough. Sadly it is let down a little by the poor 2.4Ghz support over longer ranges and in alternative rooms which could be a problem for some, which does make this a harder sell than it otherwise would be, since while tolerable for low level usage anything beyond simple browsing will suffer when using the 2.4Ghz radio at longer distances. Ultimately provided you dont mind dropping a little extra on repeaters, or you lack any 2.4Ghz only devices, the WRT 1900ACS is a decent purchase, which is made better by the addition of OpenWRT support.
Linksys WRT 1900ACS£149.99
- Native open Source support out of the box
- Genernally good 5Ghz performance
- Nice looking unit that is stackable with an 8 Port switch
- Default GUI is very user friendly
- Poor 2.4Ghz performance over distance lets this down.