While onion prices are touching the roof, India is enjoying cheaper bandwidth by the month. In fact, India has one of the fastest and cheapest internet connections one can imagine. To put things into perspective, around a decade ago, I could not afford a 2Mbps connection as easily and it would cost me ₹1500 a month. But today, a 100mbps FTH connection is at my residence for as little as ₹600 a month.
In fact, the availability of cheaper broadband connections has put the DTH business in trouble with OTT channels serving up to 4K ad-less content, for cheaper. And gamers have taken to the skies with a faster speed for higher downloads and lesser latency in the network — thanks to fiber connections, latencies as low as 1ms are now a reality.
But what’s the point of having all that high-speed low-latency internet wires to your home if you are relying on that old single-antenna router that you bought a few years ago? Well, think of it like a huge bottleneck — a pin hole in a balloon.
With most devices today capable of higher speed 5GHz Wi-Fi networks (your Amazon 4K Fire TV Stick needs 5GHz for 4K), you have to replace your wireless router to use that high-speed broadband. So make sure you upgrade to a dual band or triband router at the earliest. But wait, any dual band router will serve the basic purpose. We suggest you opt for a future-ready router.
Linksys has one for you — the Linksys Gaming Max-Stream AC2200 MR8300 triband router. A mouthful, isn't it? Well, that’s the way they want to name it so it sounds cool too. So what is this router, and why do we recommend it? Read on.
Linksys MR8300 Design, Specifications
The MR8300 is a well-built wireless router, packed within a firm and rugged plastic body. With perforations on the top for heat ventilation and a wall mounting slot on the rear, you can place it on your desk or hang it on your wall. It sports four antennas with 6 high-power amplifiers and four gigabit Ethernet ports to help your devices get up to 2.2Gbps speeds as well as connect with more routers around your house for a wider range and coverage. More on that ahead.
Underneath that hood is a powerful 716MHz quad-core processor with 512MB of RAM and a flash storage of 256MB. With a dual 5GHz and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi bands (up to 802.11ac), this little beast can ensure that your 4K entertainment simultaneously along with your son’s FPS gaming is never interrupted. The router also sports a USB 3.0 port so that you can use it as a small NAS or share a printer with all your home devices. Lastly, Bluetooth 4.1 LE is also built-in for app connectivity and setup. Yes, this is a smart router that also incorporates mesh routing.
What is a Mesh setup? How can it be used here?
Well, since Linksys has the Velop mesh router system in its alley, most of their current and all future routers will now sport mesh right into their core. So if you have this router installed, you will find that most of your devices in its vicinity are able to latch on easily, but devices that are in other rooms, far away, are not able to even see the network. You can either install another router in those rooms or simply deploy a mesh node in each room. Just purchase a Velop Node and link it up to the Linksys router and enjoy seamless network in all your rooms, without the headache of wires from one room to the other or the need to know about any networking skills to deploy them. Mesh routers work in tandem to give you the best network in every area they are deployed without compromising on speed or latency. And best of all, multiple nodes talk to each other and will intelligently pass on the network to your device using the shortest possible route. Lastly, if a node is dead, the other nodes take charge and won’t let your network down, apart from alerting you about the fault.
Linksys MR8300 Setup
Setting up the router is almost child’s play. Whether you know the basics of networking or not, you can set up the router with a simple app on your smartphone. Just download the Linksys companion app, turn your router on and proceed with the standard setup. Need more configurations for your purpose, the browser setup will allow you to get into advanced settings to help you get the best out of your router. Using the app, you can set up the internet, check internet speeds, get router updates, check intruders on the network, lock connected devices to IP addresses and a lot more. You can also configure, deploy and clone nodes too.
Using this as a hotspot or adding it to an existing network? No worries — you can also use this as a bridge to seamlessly have the best network ever. You can also enable guest mode to allow friends and outsiders to use your internet temporarily while ensuring that they cannot peep into your network devices. Lastly, with the device prioritization option, you can choose which device (gaming or TV) should get priority over the internet bandwidth. And yes, parental control exists as usual so you can monitor your kids/employees to stay out of trouble.
Linksys MR8300 Performance
We tested this router in our office where we have multiple routers beaming out their own networks too. With little effect on its performance, we could get the best possible range and throughput even at longer range. Multiple barriers in between (wooden walls and some furniture) and our max range for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz maxed out to around 50-60 feet. However, the performance of a router completely depends on the apps, the device, the environment and the internet, which will vary from home to home and user to user. However, we did try a few setups with one person gaming on PUBG Mobile on his phone while another 4K TV was playing some high content, and we did not find any bottlenecks as yet. While most homes will not have such a scenario at most times (it’s either/or), we could say that the Linksys MR8300 can handle it when it’s needed.
We also did add a few Velop nodes to the Linksys MR8300 in a mesh. Setting up was a cakewalk and deploying it is even easier. The app helps through the process without the need for any requirements for details such as IP address, gateways, etc. as the setup process will automatically add each node to its network. However, the process to incorporate each node into the network involves a lot of time — around 15–20 minutes each.
Post deploying each node, you can now independently place the nodes around your house or office at various distances. The nodes will indicate the network strength to the main Linksys router and notify you in different colours — blue/yellow/red, which stand for best signal, weak signal and no signal respectively. Once you place the nodes at different intervals, each node communicates with each other and with the mother ship (the Linksys router) to work as a single strong network, bouncing your data off each node. When a node goes down (power or range issues), the other nodes take the task of trying to fulfil the network blind spots. If you want to cover more area, deploy multiple nodes accordingly. Use an app, such as Network Analyzer, to find out the network strength and place nodes accordingly.
Linksys MR8300 Verdict
This router seems to be one of the best options if you are planning to upgrade your existing home/office wireless network. Powerful network range with MIMO quad antennas, remote management with IoT-style app-based management, possibility to expand into a mesh network for a wider range coverage and use it as a NAS/print server. The Linksys Max-Stream MR8300 will definitely ensure your wireless network needs for gaming or streaming are taken care of for the near future.