There’s a battle that has been going on for many years. It’s a fierce battle between two of, arguably, the biggest heavyweights of consumer routers. What’s the battle in question? Netgear vs Linksys of course!
Ever since the 1990s, these home router giants have been fighting it out, trying to outdo each other by continuously launching the latest and greatest router. We are all familiar with these two routing brands, and we trust them to give us fast reliable routers with solid Wi-Fi.
But what we want to know right now is which router to go for depending on our needs? What is the absolute best router? What is the best router that isn’t going to break the bank? What’s the best budget router?
Well, the best thing to do is answer each question, one-by-one. Provided the router that fits the bill for the category, and run through what that router can do.
Ok, so without further ado, LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!
Netgear vs Linksys – Best AC Routers (oh, and AD!)
The best AC routers from Netgear and Linksys, you ask? Well, both Linksys & Netgear both happen to feature in the fastest class of router around today – the AC3200 class.
Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200
>>> Check it out on Amazon <<<
“AD” you say? Didn’t you mean to say “AC”? Nope, this is Netgear’s first foray into the world of the wireless standard 802.11ad.
What does this mean for you and I? Well, you’ll be able to connect over wifi at super gigabit speeds. Don;t get too excited yet. There isn’t a whole lot our there that runs on .11ad, but that should change over time. Also bear in mind that as AD runs the 60GHz range, the coverage distance is, well, not great. We’re really only talking line-of-sight, and within a few meters. Ideal uses are bridging and streaming uncompressed ultra high-def video between dedicated appliances….for now at least.
Aside from .11ad, there’s Quad Stream MU-MIMO, and of course it also uses Wireless AC and N. Tri Band is on offer across all 3 standards.
The X10 is also Plex server ready (for all your media), has a 10Gbps LAN ports (via SFP) and 6 RJ-45 LAN ports, that support aggregation.
It also has a quad core CPU to keep it up and running, Sweet!
If you’re happy to spend the money, you could do worse than the X10.
Linksys WRT32X AC3200 Gaming Wi-Fi Router (with “Killer Prioritization Engine”)
>>> Check out the WRT32X on Amazon <<<
Brand new for 2017 – the WRT32X is the first dedicated gaming router created by Linksys.
If your gaming device has a Killer NIC (Network Interface Card), the WRT32X will automatically prioritize gaming traffic going to and from the internet for those devices. It’s an easy way to set up QoS (Quality of Service) as opposed to going into the router setup page and manually setting up for every device that comes along, or using a blanket rule for multiple devices, which can sometimes inadvertently prioritize non-gaming traffic (if you don’t 100% know what you’re doing).
What else has it got? Well, there’s tri-stream MU-MIMO, which can cumulatively offer theoretical 2.6Gbps speeds on 5GHz (with a further 600Mbps on good old fashioned 2.4GHz). Yup – it’s a dual band router.
It’s also got a USB 3.0 port and the oh-so-common 4x 1Gbps LAN ports.
Overall, not as well spec’d as the X10 above, but then again, it’s aimed at the online gamers who want to get their ping down as low as possible – without having a Cisco qualification in QoS or a degree in networking!
We haven’t done a “Features In Common” for these two behemoths, as arguably, they aren’t in direct competition with each other.
Netgear vs Linksys – Top Mid-Range AC Routers
So, what about the middle of the .11ac pack?
Netgear Nighthawk X6
The Nighthawk X6 R8000 has taken the world by storm since its release in late 2014. Netgear’s most powerful router was also the first AC3200 router to hit the shops.
Netgear have also taken the stealth-fighter looks of the original Nighthawk, and made it even more menacing looking. We think it looks cooler than the EA9200. Not that the EA9200 looks particularly bad!
Linksys EA9200 AC3200 Wi-Fi Router
X6 R8000 & EA9200 Shared Features
Up to 3.2Gbps – Data rates hitting 3,200 Mbps over 3 bands (two 5GHz & one 2.4GHz).
Tri-Band – We are now entering the era of 3 bands. Two 5GHz bands (each 1.3Gbps) and a single 2.4GHz band (600Mbps) enables your 5GHz AC clients to hop onto one of two available bands. This is pretty cool, because it means that no one client can hog all the bandwidth within the 5GHz band.
The router, using intelligent software, balances wireless clients over the two bands evenly. This helps optimize your network as much as possible.
Dual Core CPU – A fast processor is required to handle all the traffic that an AC3200 can muster. Both have these, and also 3 extra processors to handle NAT translations (traffic in between your local network and the Internet).
USB 3.0 – A USB 3.0 port and a second port (USB 2.0) are at your disposal.
Beamforming & Antennas – As you probably know by now, both the EA9200 & Nighthawk R8000 have Beamforming technology. Clients can roam further than before and keep up the fast Wi-Fi speeds.
With 6 fully adjustable/removable antennas, it’s easier to say goodbye to wireless dead spots around the home. This is especially true for multi-story homes, as clients could struggle to connect vertically to a router on another level. Tilting the antennas can resolve this issue.
Netgear vs Linksys Routers – Best All-Rounder
You know….a decent routr, that delivers good “bang for buck”.
The ORIGINAL Nighthawk router. And guess what, it’s still an awesome router. In fact, in some ways it’s more awesome now than it ever was. Why? Because although it’s not the fastest kid in town any more, it is still pretty damn fast! It’s fast enough for 4K streaming, enjoyable online gaming, and handling multiple clients at the same time with no issues. It has loads of cool features.
So why is it more awesome than ever? Because it’s dropped price. With all these newer models, Netgear have had to drop the price down.
The WRT1900AC is up there with the Nighthawk in the coolness stakes. Looking like a Linksys classic, and with DD-WRT ready, this is a little gem.
Other Netgear Routers Worth A Look
Priced a little lower again, is the Netgear R6300v2. The buzzword of ‘Nighthawk’ seems to have gripped everyone. This is actually a really good router – and it has two USB ports…
If you want some built-in storage with good sharing functionality, look no further than the WNDR4700. The WNDR4720 version ships with a hard drive.
It’s a Dual Band Wireless N router which takes a SATA drive up to 2TB. There’s also a USB 3.0 drive, should the 2TB not be enough!
As well as being DLNA compatible, the WNDR4700 also lets you back up your laptop OS to the drive – automatically.
Other Linksys Routers To Check Out
The EA8500 is the first of two new ventures into the world of MU-MIMO for Linksys. This AC2600 router also has a 1.4GHz processor, USB 3.0 port with an additional eSATA option – nice.
The E8350 (yes we always get this confused with the too similarly title EA8500 above!) is another MU-MIMO router.
It’s less powerful, but the cost is a little lower…
Do you agree/disagree? Why not comment below and let us know what you think…