Designed for large homes that require lots of bandwidth for video streaming and online gaming, the Linksys Max-Stream EA9300 ($299.99) utilizes three radio bands to combat congestion on your home Wi-Fi network. It supports all of the latest 802.11ac technologies, including band-steering and beamforming, and it can handle Alexa voice commands. It’s easy to install and manage using the Linksys web console or mobile app, and it’s a solid performer. If you’re willing to spend $300 on a router, dropping $100 more on our Editors’ Choice, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300, gets you the fastest performance we’ve seen and all the features you’ll ever need to support your gaming and streaming habits.
Choose Your Band
The EA9300 shares the same black textured design as the Linksys EA9500 that we reviewed back in 2016, but at 2.5 by 9.0 by 11.6 inches, it’s not quite as big. It has six nonremovable adjustable antennas and the top holds a small panel with an illuminated Linksys logo, a WPS (Wi-Fi protected setup) activity LED, and LED indicators that light up when there are internet and LAN cable connection issues. Around back are four gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, two USB 3.0 ports, a reset button, a power jack, and a power switch. A WPS button is located on the right side of the router.
The EA9300 is an AC4000 tri-band router capable of maximum data rates of 750Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,625Mbps on each of the two 5GHz bands. It’s an 802.11ac Wave 2 device which supports MU-MIMO (simultaneous) data streaming, direct-to-client signal transmissions (beamforming), and Smart Connect (band-steering) technology in which the router chooses the best radio band to use based on things like network traffic and available bandwidth. This router also supports seamless roaming when paired with a Linksys Max-Stream range extender. It is powered by a 1.8GHz quad-core CPU, 512MB of RAM, and 256MB of flash memory.
You can manage the router using a web-based console or with the same Linksys iOS or Android mobile app used to manage the Velop series of mesh Wi-Fi systems. The app has most of the same functionality as the web console, but you get more granular control with the console. For example, you can set application prioritization and limit downstream bandwidth with the web console, but not with the app. Additionally, the web console offers a few advanced options that you don’t get with the app including VLAN, Wireless Scheduling, Airtime Fairness settings, and Speed Test, which lets you measure your router’s internet upload and download speeds.
The mobile app opens to a Dashboard screen that displays the name of the network, internet connectivity status, and the number of connected devices. It also shows the names (SSIDs) of each radio band on the primary and guest networks. Tap any band to grant access to users via email or text messaging. The message contains the SSID and password for that particular band. To display a list of connected clients, tap Devices, and then tap any device name to apply parental controls or to give the device bandwidth prioritization.
Parental Controls are limited. You can block websites and create schedules to limit access to the internet, but you don’t get the age-appropriate filters that you get with the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 and the Netgear NightHawk X6S AC4000 (R8000P), nor do you get the built-in malware protection that comes with the Asus Rapture router. However, the EA9300 does support Alexa voice commands that allow you to do things like enable guest networking and adjust certain Wi-Fi settings with spoken commands.
To access router settings, tap the three bars in the upper left corner of the Dashboard screen. Here you can edit SSIDs and passwords, configure security type…