I've had a WRT1900AC (v1) for 17 months now and I've been disappointed three ways.
First, the thing has been wonky with connections dropping...both wireless and wired. A router restart always fixes it but who wants to do that even once a week?
Second is the subject of VPN servers. You can NOT host a PPTP or L2TP server behind this thing. It will NOT allow it. There's no documentation on this so I wasted a lot of effort troubleshooting before finding out it couldn't be done. Ridiculous! So I was very excited to see an OpenVPN server added to the firmware as the original firmware didn't include it. Well, it works, but it doesn't work as "send all traffic via VPN" with your client making it worthless to me. When I leave town I have to switch out with my old router to have a full VPN experience back to my home.
Third is the current state, after months and months of versions being released, of OpenWRT and DD-WRT firmware versions for this thing. I've tried them out a few times but they're quite "buggy" and also do NOT seem to correct the VPN issue mentioned in #2.
I say stay away from these. Considering the price I give it a 6 out of 10.
I absolutely love my WRT1900ACs. It worked fine in stock form but I'm never content with stock so I flashed DD-WRT onto it and now it's absolutely amazing. I have it setup as media server using MiniDLNA as well as using Samba to connect to the 3TB hard drive I have attached to it. And as icing on the cake, I have it setup to use my VPN for secure access to the web.
I bought this router on the strength of this review and the reputation of the site. Then I found problems with it and returned it. That's the last time I buy a router based on a positive review without doing more due diligence!
When I was setting up the router and testing it I was horrified to discover that the guest network was not secure. No encryption and the “password” is entered on a non-secure web page. It’s like you’re signing onto an open network in a hotel or coffee shop where you gain access by accepting terms and conditions. It is not only unprofessional for a company like Linksys it’s completely (and I want to use a really bad word here but instead I’ll say) ABSURD!!!! I googled it and found a number of publications and people had written articles about this oversight. If you need a guest network, THEN DON’T BUY THIS ROUTER!!! If you don’t use one and never will, then feel free. I also read an article which said that 15 days ago from the day I set it up (5/5/17), multiple security vulnerabilities were discovered in the Linksys line of routers including this one, and until new firmware was released (the most up to date one I downloaded was released 6 months ago), the fix was to shut off the guest network. Which I had already done when I discovered it was insecure.
Of course this router allows open source firmware to be used and so there may be ones out there which allow you to create secure guest networks. I spent a little time reading about that but decided that it’s complex and time consuming enough that I really don’t have the time to deal with that. I would rather just return it and buy a good enough router with better firmware!
In other testing I found that the router didn’t bother to find the best channel for the “legacy” 2.4GHz N band. Thus the signal strength was weak. I could have gone into the router and changed the channel. But first you need a tool to be able to look at all the networks in the area and which channels are being used. I have a couple of those tools from the two adapters I was using and testing. In addition, the 5GHz N band, while the adapter said it connected at a higher speed, the actual speed in a speed test was still as slow as the 2.4 GHz.
But we really didn’t buy this router for its legacy N broadcast right? Well except for all the older devices sitting around the house which can only utilize 2.4 GHz N.
I bought this model's big brother, the WRT3200ACM, refurbished direct from Belkin/Linksys a couple of months ago -- at only $99US I couldn't pass up the deal. So far it's been rock-solid, giving faster and more reliable connections than the Linksys EA4500 it replaced.
Yes, it's larger than most comparable routers, but I knew that before I bought it and I actually like the size. As for the design, I consider it "tech-industrial" rather than "uninspired". (In truth, the design is inspired by the classic original WRT Wi-Fi routers, which are still highly regarded after all these years.) It doesn't blend well with the decor in the average living room, but it's fine for a dedicated office/computer room.
I gave the old EA4500 to my style-conscious girlfriend, who was switching ISPs (from verrry slow DSL to cable) and needed to provide her own modem and router.It still works fine, and fits in well with the decor in her study She's on a slower broadband tier than I am, so an N-class router is more than adequate for her needs;
I'm actually looking to upgrade to a faster service (possibly Gigabit fiber) in the future, and I have a much more extensive home network than she does; I don't actually need the WRT3200ACM's full capability, but it should help keep me future-proof for awhile. And it adds a welcome dash of color to an office dominated by dark wood and black boxes.