Linksys MR7350 Intelligent Mesh Router Review: Too Clever by Half

LInksys MR7350 Router Front
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Linksys MR7350 comes with two non-removable antennas sticking up from its back.

The Linksys MR7350 Max-Stream Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router is the budget version of the MR9600. Other than the lesser hardware specs and, therefore, the much lower-cost, it’s the same as its big cousin.

READ NOW:  Linksys MR9600 Review: An Expensive Work-in-Progress Mesh Router

What’s most significant, it makes official the fact that all new and likely future Linksys routers will be part of Belkin’s Linksys (Velop) Intelligent Mesh ecosystem.

That said, in this review, I’ll focus on the Linksys Intelligent Mesh notion and differences between the routers, namely their performance. It’s a good idea you read my take on the MR9600 first.

As a Wi-Fi 6 solution, there’s quite a bit to talk about the MR7350, but here’s the gist: Throw the “budget” notion away, and you’ll be happy with this router. Indeed, at some $150, it’s twice the cost of the similarly-specced TP-Link AX10. And if you’re in the market for a Linksys mesh system, well, get a real Velop set instead.

Linksys MR7350 Dual-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router

7.4

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

6.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Mesh-ready, excellent performance as a single router
  • Fast NAS performance when coupled with an external storage device
  • Compact, convenient antenna design, wall-mountable

Cons

  • Expensive, fluctuating Wi-Fi speeds as a mesh node
  • Mobile app requires a login account with Linksys to work but still has limited access to the system
  • No setting backup/restoration; standard web-based settings deliberately obfuscated from users
  • Linksys Intelligent Mesh could use lots of improvement
  • No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation
  • WPA and earlier Wi-Fi encryption methods not supported

Linksys MR7350: The new phase in Linksys Intelligent Mesh

The MR7350 is the latest and the other Wi-Fi 6 router from Linksys, after the top-tier AX6000 MR9600. And like its older cousin, it’s also no longer just a standalone router. It’s now part of the Linksys Intelligent Mesh, which started with the Velop series.


Linksys (Velop) Intelligent Mesh overview: All you need to know

This mesh system brand was first available in early 2017 with the original 3-pack tri-band Velop. At the time, I thought the purpose-built mesh system — a direct rival to the Netgear Orbi — was cool, reliable but just also quite pricey and constrictive in terms of features.

Fast forward to the present time, Belkin has now decided that it’ll make all of its mesh-capable single routers part of this ecosystem. And that makes sense, Asus has been doing that with its AiMesh feature for years.

List of Linksys Intelligent Mesh solutions

These solutions include both canned Velop systems and standalone router that can be added or scaled up using the same Velop-based mesh technology.

Wi-Fi 5 Linksys Intelligent Mesh hardware

Wi-Fi 6 Linksys Intelligent Mesh hardware

What you can expect from Linksys Intelligent Mesh

This mesh approach means the above-mentioned Linksys routers can work as a standalone router as usual and also as part of a Velop-like mesh network. Like all things, it has both pros and cons.

Advantages of Linksys Intelligent Mesh

These apply to Linksys routers supporting this feature.

  • Hardware flexibility: You can start with a router and scale up the coverage at a later time. There are also many combos of routers to meet one’s budget.
  • Ease of use: Setup and on-going management can be done via a mobile app. Users have the option to manage their network from anywhere.
  • Uniformity: All routers share the same web user interface and mobile app. If you’ve used one, you’ll know how to deal with the rest.
  • Dynamic backhaul band: For wireless setup, routers within the mesh system automatically pick the best bad at a given time (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz) as the backhaul. As a result, this could allow for better reliability and coverage, especially, when you use tri-band routers.
  • Wired backhaul: You can use network cables to connect members of the mesh to deliver the best performance.
Extra: Linksys Velop vs. Netgear Orbi

It’s important to note that Links Velop Intelligent Mesh is much more flexible than Netgear’s Orbi line, considering Wi-Fi 6 Orbi hardware will not even work with Wi-Fi 5 ones at all.

But that’s probably the only thing Linksy’s Velop outdoes Netgear’s Orbi, which generally has better performance, a lot more features. Plus, it has a full web interface and a vendor-assisted mobile app being available as an option.

Linksys Intelligent Mesh’s shortcomings

From the get-go, Linksys Velop systems are to deliver ease of use at the expense of features and privacy. Being part of this ecosystem mean supported routers will also have to shed features and settings that are not available to the original Velop.

The following are some bullet points on what you should be aware of a Linksys Intelligent Mesh router (and system), including the MR7350 and the MR9600.

  • Unless you know this specific trick, you must use the Linksys mobile app and a login account for the setup process. This app-and-login-required shenanigan also applies to when you want to add or remove a mesh node. (In my experience, the app generally works well with Velop sets, but with non-Velop routers, it’s kind of buggy.)
  • The mobile app, as well as the router, remains connected to Linksys at all times.
  • There’s no way to set up a router without a live Internet connection.
  • You’ll need both the app and the web interface, which is available after the initial setup, to have full control of a router (or mesh system.)
  • In a mesh, there’s no clear and easy way to find out to which broadcaster a client connects.
  • By default, there’s no Wi-Fi performance-related configuration — the only option is the “Mixed” (compatible) mode. (You need to turn that on via a specifically obscured link within the web interface.)
  • No love for legacy devices. WPA and older Wi-Fi security methods are no longer available.
  • You can’t back up and restore or router’s setting.
  • There’s no way to download and update a router’s firmware manually.
  • Spartan features. Don’t expect popular and useful feature like online protection, game-related settings, VPN, and so on.

So the move to make standalone routers part of the Velop ecosystem means you’ll trade the robust web interface and customizability for ease of use. It’s almost the opposite direction from Asus’s AiMesh, something that will not make savvy and hardware Linksys fans happy.


Linksys MR7350: The mini version of the MR9600

So, again, the MR7350 is virtually the MR9600 in smaller physical design and lesser Wi-Fi spec. In fact, if you use them both, you’ll note that it’s tough to tell which one is which during the setup process where both are called “Velop.”

After that, the two share the same setup process, features, and settings. Again you can find out more about these in my review of the MR9600.

Linksys MR7350’s hardware specifications

The Linksys MR7350 is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router that doesn’t support the 160 MHz channel bandwidth. As a result, its theoretical Wi-Fi speeds cap at 1.2 Gbps when working with any Wi-Fi 6 clients. Wi-Fi 5 clients will enjoy up to 867 Mbps from it.

Detail photos

LInksys MR7350 Router 1
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

LInksys MR7350 Router 7
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

LInksys MR7350 Router 2
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

LInksys MR7350 Router 3
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

LInksys MR7350 Router 4
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

LInksys MR7350 Router 8
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

LInksys MR7350 Router 9
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

LInksys MR7350 Router 10
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

LInksys MR7350 Router 11
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech
Linksys MR9600 vs MR7350 Routers
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech You can combine the Linksys MR9600 and the MR7350 into a Linksys Intelligent Mesh system. Whether or not you should do that is a different question.

Not-so-smooth-mesh setup

I tested the MR7350 both as a standalone router and a mesh node that wirelessly extended the MR9600’s Wi-Fi network. While it worked fine as the former — again, it was the same as the MR9600 — setting it up in the latter proved to be buggy.

While the steps are exactly the same as those of the Linksys MX5 Velop AX, what happened in each step was a different experience.

First of all, it took a long time in my case for the app to add the MR7350 as a mesh node. It was much longer than the 6-minute estimation. And then I got an error saying the node couldn’t be added

Linksys Intellgenti Mesh Setup
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Intelligent Mesh setup process is straight forward but buggy and can take a long time.

And tried again, but the node was never even found. Turned out; it had been successfully added the first time around. It was the app that showed the wrong message. I reset the router and tried again, and the same thing happened.

I tried the process a couple of times, and there was only one time that it went through as intended. And even then, it took quite a long time — some 10 minutes — to add the MR7350 as a node.

So, the app didn’t give you the impression that Linksys Intelligent Mesh is a valid name. Hopefully, this will change via future updates.

By the way, again, you must use the mobile app to add a node to a Linksys Intelligent Mesh system. Using the web interface, the mesh node will appear just like another connected client.

Linksys MR7350’s performance: Another type of mixed performance

Similar to the case of the MR9600, the MR7350 also delivered mixed performance in my testing. However, it was quite a bit different.

Fast Wi-Fi as a modest single router

Needless to say, I didn’t expect much from the MR750 considering its modest Wi-Fi specs and the lack of multi-gig network ports. But thanks to the low expectations, the router proved to be quite an excellent little performer.

Linksys MR7350 Wi Fi 6 5GHz Performance Chart
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

Without the support for the 160 MHz channel width, the router allowed my 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 test clients to connect at 1.2 Gbps. At a close range, on the 5 GHz band, they averaged a sustained speed of more than 770 Mbps. Farther out, they now registered 460 Mbps. Both were quite impressive compared with similarly-specced routers.

Linksys MR7350 Wi Fi 5 Performance Chart
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

The MR7350 did well with Wi-Fi 5 clients, too. My 4×4 test machine got some 640 Mbps at close range and father out, my 3×3 client averaged 570 Mbps.

Linksys MR7350 Wi Fi 6 2 4GHz Performance Chart
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

The router did even better on the 2.4 GHz band, better than many higher-end routers. It’s worth noting, however, that on this band, where I live, the performance fluctuates so much that I wouldn’t recommend using it as anything but a reference.

Outstanding NAS speeds, excellent Wi-Fi range

The MR7350 also delivers excellent range for the router of its caliber. In fact, I found that it had about the same range as the MR9600. So if you live in a home of around 1500 ft² (139 m²) or even maybe slightly larger, you can count on it. Of course, Wi-Fi coverage carries depending on your home.

The rotuer also passed my 3-day stress test with no disconnection. I had no issue with it in fact.

Linksys NAS Performance Chart
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

What’s most impressive, however, is its network-attached-storage (NAS) performance. When coupled with the Crucial X8, via a Gigabit wired connection, it delivers the sustained copy speed of 110 MB/s and 112 MB/s for writing and reading, respectively, slightly edging out many more expensive routers.

Quite terrible as a mesh node

Again, I tested the MR7350 as a mesh node of a network hosted by the MR9600 as the main router. It wasn’t the best mesh experience I’ve had. Far from it.

Other than the hiccups in setting it up, the performance was quite abysmal. First of all, at just 40 feet away (with a line of sight), for some reason, the MR7350’s front status light showed solid embar, indicating that it didn’t’ have an excellent link to the main router.

Linksys MR7350 Mesh Performance Chart
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

And the number showed. It was the slowest Wi-Fi 6 mesh node I’ve tested, even when factoring in the lack of a dedicated backhaul. And the range was quite bad, too. However, it wasn’t the coverage that I had a problem with, but the signal quality.

Generally, in a mesh setup, I either got plodding Wi-Fi speeds or just no Internet connection around the edge of the coverage. Typically in a 2-pack mesh test, I use an area of around 3000 square feet as the reference zone.

So after almost two days of trying to use the combo as our main Wi-Fi network, I gave up. The experience was just awful. Considering the MR9600 didn’t perform well in my testing, my guess is if you use two MR7350 units, things might be better, though unlikely by much.

Consclusion

As a single router, the Linksys MR7350 Max-Stream Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router has just one thing against it, the price. It worked well in my testing, just not better than those that cost significantly less or deliver a lot more features.

As part of a mesh system, it’s safe to say, at its current state, Linksys Intelligent Mesh is not ready for prime time and in no way can compete with Asus’s AiMesh.

Things will likely improve in the future via firmware and app updates. But for now, if Linksys is your mesh brand, stick with a true Velop set instead. Or you broaden your horizon and can check out one of these top Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems.

Found a typo? Please report by highlighting it and pressing Ctrl Enter Thank you! ❤️

You might also like

9 thoughts on “Linksys MR7350 Intelligent Mesh Router Review: Too Clever by Half”

  1. Great reviews, Dong! One question: If one use ethernet backhaul to connect existing Airport Extremes (which I understand should be able to use in a Velop mesh setup) as mesh nodes, will WR7350 then free up the backhaul-mesh band to wifi clients? Is there a performance gain in using ehternet backhaul? If I understand correctly Asus AiMesh can free up the dedicated backhaul 5GHz backhaul band when nodes are wired togehter with cat5e/cat6 cables.

    Reply
    • You can’t use the AE as a mesh node, but only as an access point (or a router), Eric. And yes, in this case, the wireless band is free.

      Reply
      • But according to this description https://www.linksys.com/us/support-article?articleNum=278433 , the Apple APExtreme/TC/APE can be included in the Velop mesh network (only with ethernet backhaul though, but that is how my home network is set up anyway). The Apple Airports will be set up as wifi access points, but my understanding was that with Velop and a Linksys router this would work similar to how Apples “mesh”/roaming works, and that works very well, actually!

        Reply
        • That’s just using the AE in the access point (bridge) mode, Eric, which will work with ALL routers. Linksys just wanted to bullshit you there into thinking its hardware is smart. 🙂

          Reply
  2. Further to the point about installing Linksys routers with their app. I installed the router by the web interface, only, by following the steps you set out in your other post.

    However, the router could not tell me whether the connected devices were online – they were always listed as offline. The router itself showed a purple indicator light on the front, meaning it was still ready to be setup, although it was otherwise functioning well.

    So I thought, perhaps this is Linksys’ way to drive you to the app – and installed the app on my phone. I connected to the router only directly, and not by registering an account. The app immediately upon connecting told that there was “a little problem with your device” and then set about “fixing it”. A few minutes later, all was fine, the light on the front of the router was now blue – meaning ready for action – and the devices that were connected now appeared as online and those that had been connected but weren’t now listed as offline.

    I think that this is a very, very, poor way to sell a product to consumers – the router is otherwise a very good router for distance, speeds, and connectivity on the whole. My last Linksys router, an EA3500, lasted nine years until now – and still functions, I just needed an upgrade. Solid machine, that.

    But by forcing us consumers to use the Linksys app while driving us away from a more sophisticated and advanced web interface in a time when most of us are working from home and need better internet connectivity for VoIP, teleconferences, and so on, is a very, very, poor business decision by the company. It’s like they’re saying, Hi, ASUS, we’re going to send you all the customers in the WIFI router consumer market, now, because your products actually let the consumer improve their user experience.

    Thanks for the reviews, Dong, and make sure Linksys hears you loud and clear on this subject, since they can always just change their firmware to reverse their current business model. And return to being a company with good products.

    Reply
    • Agreed, Michael. I was quite disappointed and frustrated when reviewing this one and the MR9600. Did have a long talk with Linksys after. Hope they’ll get their act together.

      Reply
      • Dong,

        Great review! I was actually looking for a review on the linksys AC3000(MR9000). Like Michael I too have an old reliable linksys E4200 router that is still going. I needed to upgrade as my internet service went up to 400mbps. I currently have the AC3000 as I got it on sale but now I’m wondering if I should look elsewhere. The linksys app left a bad taste in my mouth and I’m still working on configuring the network. I currently have about 14 devices connected and it’s been solid so far. We mainly stream movies but with school back we sometimes have multiple zoom meetings going at the same time. We live in a 1 story home about 2100 sq ft. Wanting your advice and see if I should stick with linksys or make the jump to the highly touted Asus RT-AC88U or another router. Thanks

        Reply
          • Will, for my long term plans, I’m going to wait and see if the MR7350 router works well within the 60 day return period. If the router doesn’t manage the dual home office traffic in my house very well, it’s being replaced by an Asus AX series. The reasons I’m showing some patience with the MR7350 is brand loyalty, plus the hardware seems solid. However, I’m not a fan of companies forcing me into a position where they harvest my personal usage data from an app on top of my having first bought their product. Are consumers just to be farmed for money and usage data?

Leave a comment below. (Subject to approval. No spam or profanity, please!)

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: