Almost a decade ago, when Belkin's 54GL router reigned supreme, routers could afford to be somewhat restricted when it comes to bandwidth. You had a desktop, maybe a laptop, and if you're a really early adopter, a smartphone connected to your network. Now, devices have multiplied like asexual amoebas, we're swimming in laptops, tablets, smartphones, connected handhelds, smart home sensors, gaming consoles, on and on and on, and the router suddenly becomes the most important device you own.
Last year, Belkin released the 1900AC, one of its most powerful routers that resurrected WRT. It was blazing fast with a huge pipeline for everything in your home, but it also came at the huge price of $250 and held the not-so honorable distinction as one of the most expensive consumer routers you could buy. The new 1200AC, announced at CES, offers comparable speeds at a more reasonable $180 price. This dual-band 2x2 wireless router can pump out speeds up to 1.3Gbps, according to Linksys, and also ships with WiFi amplifiers.
In case those amplifiers don't do the job, Linksys is also debuted at CES two new WiFi extenders to help eliminate any deadspots in your home. The the AC1200 range extender ($120) offers the awesome benefit of AC power pass-thru, meaning you don't have to sacrifice an electrical outlet to get a better WiFi Signal.
Finally, Linksys rolled out a future-proof multiple-user MiMo-enabled router, the EA8500. As our smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets become more and more MiMo-capable, this router will be able to handle loads of connected devices and still offer reliable streaming speeds. However, this router will cost a premium at about $280 and is best for networks that need to keep a lot gadgets and sensors connected.
Photos by Nicholas Stango