THE XAC1200 HAS a reasonably small footprint for a wireless-AC router as the ADSL2+ modem component is, unusually, built into the router’s large power plug.
As well as the mains, this plug connects to your telephone line, and the other end of the power lead splits into a DC jack and an Ethernet lead to connect to the router’s Gigabit Ethernet WAN port. The router also has four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports.
The XAC1200 is an ADSL2+ modem router, but you can also connect it to your existing cable or fibre modem, and an installation wizard walks you through the setup process. The wizard also lets you set up the 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks, although these have default SSIDs and passwords set straight out of the box. The router’s 2.4GHz band has a theoretical throughput of 300Mbit/s and of 867Mbit/s on the 5GHz band. You can create a single guest network on the 2.4GHz band, and limit the number of connected devices from between five and 50.
A USB3 port on the back lets you share an external storage device over SMB or FTP. You can also create a DLNA media server to share files to compatible devices such as network media streamers. There’s no eject button on the router, so you’ll need to access the web interface to remove your storage device. You can also share a printer across a network; you’ll need Linksys’s printer sharing utility on each computer you want to use for printing.
The web interface is identical to the one used on many of Linksys’s other routers, with options broken down under various tabs. The layout generally makes sense, although some occasionally used settings are tucked away behind a number of sub-menus. Changing the router’s Dynamic DNS settings is an example: it’s hidden behind an ‘Apps and Gaming’ submenu. Quality of Service (QoS) is provided through a ‘Media Prioritization’ menu. Wireless performance using our test laptop’s built-in 802.11n adaptor was a little disappointing considering the router’s price. On the 2.4GHz band we saw speeds of 42.2Mbit/s at 10m and a middling 13.3Mbit/s at 25m. Performance was significantly better on the less-congested 5GHz band, where we saw a reasonable throughput of 104.9Mbit/s at 10m but a poor 25.8Mbit/s at 25m distance.
Linksys’s WUSB6300 802.11ac adaptor (£37 inc VAT from www.ebuyer.com) produced much faster speeds. With the router set to 802.11n 5GHz mode we saw a fast 195.7Mbit/s at 10m and a huge 139.8Mbit/s at 25m. Switching to 802.11ac mode led to an increase at 10m to 279.6Mbit/s, although 114.8Mbit/s at 25m was less impressive. If you’re looking for a wireless router with an integrated ADSL2+ modem, the Linksys XAC1200 is a fair choice thanks to its compact and attractive design. Wireless performance is very quick at medium range, but longrange performance is poor. We’d recommend using the quicker D-Link DIR-868L with a cheap ADSL router as a modem, or spending £40 more on the Asus DSL-AC68U.