Linksys LAPAC2600 review

An easily managed Wave 2 business AP that’s great on value, performance and scalability

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£307
  • Excellent speed and range; Highly scalable; Affordable
  • None to speak of

Linksys' LAPAC2600 gives small businesses the best of both wireless worlds, as they can deploy it as a standalone AP or use its built-in cluster mode for resiliency, roaming and centralised management. Clustering allows up to 16 Linksys APs of the same model to be joined together and configured from one AP designated as the master.

As a standalone AP, the LAPAC2600 has a lot going for it. This Wave 2 dual-band 802.11ac AC2600 model has 4 x 4 MU-MIMO internal aerials, offering speeds of up to 1,733Mbits/sec on the 5GHz radio and 800Mbits/sec on the 2.4GHz radio.

Installation is swift and Linksys includes a power adapter for those that don't have a PoE source. The AP defaults to having both radios enabled and broadcasting open SSIDs but it's simple to secure, as the well-designed web interface provided quick access to the SSID settings where we selected a security mode and entered a key.

The AP offers plenty of business-class features and both radios support up to eight SSIDs, each with their own custom encryption schemes. Client isolation stops users on the same SSID from seeing each other and selected SSIDs can be quickly enabled or disabled with a single click.

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Rogue AP detection can be enabled separately on both radios and within seconds it had listed over 40 other APs in our vicinity. Those we knew about were placed in a trusted list with a single click, so if any new APs appeared, they were very easy to see.

Real world performance is good; our Netgear AC1200 equipped Windows 10 Pro desktop mustered a speedy 58MB/sec when copying a file to a server on the LAN. At 10 metres there was no appreciable drop in speed and the AP's long reach allowed our iPad to be taken 43 metres down the main building corridor before its SweetSpots iOS app rated the signal as unusable.

The LAPAC2600 is great choice if you want to present guests with a captive portal. Two portal profiles define HTTP or HTTPS access plus local or RADIUS authentication and you can customise the portal with logos, colour schemes and terms of use messages.

Clustering is a cinch to set up. We set one AP to master mode and gave it a location and cluster name. We designated another LAPAC2600 AP as a slave and provided the master's details in the Cluster page of the Configuration view.

Within seconds, the slave AP appeared in the list of cluster members at the master's console and immediately took all its wireless settings. We could still access the slave's web interface and view its details but all wireless settings were disabled.

All cluster configuration is done at the master and changes are propagated quickly. After adding a couple of new SSIDs on the master, we watched them appear in the slave's console interfaces in around 15 seconds.

From their respective web interfaces, we could see which cluster member our clients had connected to. You can also designate one cluster member as a backup master, which takes over if the master fails or is having its firmware upgraded.

Roaming means never losing wireless contact again and to test this, we connected some clients to the slave AP and then turned it off. Within a few seconds, they had all shifted over to the master AP with no interruptions to services.

Budget-conscious SMBs that want a business-grade Wave 2 wireless AP will find Linksys' LAPAC2600 a great choice. It's a cinch to deploy, offers great performance and its elegant clustering feature allows wireless networks to grow easily with demand.

Verdict

Budget-conscious SMBs that want a business-grade Wave 2 wireless AP will find Linksys' LAPAC2600 a great choice. It's a cinch to deploy, offers great performance and its elegant clustering feature allows wireless networks to grow easily with demand.

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Dual band 2.4GHz/5GHz 802.11ac 4 x 4 MU-MIMO Internal aerials 2 x Gigabit (LAN and PoE/PoE+) External power adapter included Kensington lock Ceiling/wall mounting plates 243 x 237 x 44mm WDH 848gm Limited lifetime warranty

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