Affordable. Easy to install. Supports Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) streaming. Good close-proximity throughput.
Slow file-transfer rate. Middling long-range and MU-MIMO performance.
- Bottom Line
It's not the faster router out there, but the Amped Wireless Artemis RTA1300M supports MU-MIMO, is reasonably priced, and easy to install and manage.
The Amped Wireless Artemis High Power AC1300 Wi-Fi Router with MU-MIMO (RTA1300M) is proof that you don't have to spend a fortune for the latest Wi-Fi technology. At $129.99, this midrange router is the least expensive 802.11ac model we've reviewed that supports Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) data streaming, a technology that sends simultaneous data transmissions to compatible clients rather than sequential transmissions, resulting in improved throughput. It offers a good selection of I/O ports, and performed admirably in our close-proximity throughput tests, but its MU-MIMO and long-range performance are average. Our midrange Editors' Choice, the Trendnet AC2600 StreamBoost MU-MIMO WiFi Router (TEW-827DRU) offers overall better performance, but it also costs a lot more. If you're on a budget, the RTA1300M is worth considering.
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Design and Features
At 1 by 8.7 by 5.5 inches (HWD), the RTA1300M is more compact than the Synology Router RT1900ac (2.5 by 8.1 by 6.2 inches) and the Trendnet TEW-827DRU (1.8 by 9.8 by 7.1 inches). It has five LED indicators on the front of the cabinet (Power, 2.4GHz and 5GHz band activity, Internet activity, and USB activity) and two removable, adjustable antennas in the back. Also in the rear are four Gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, a USB 3.0 port, and buttons for Power, WPS, Reset, and turning the LED lights on and off. The router can sit horizontally or be positioned vertically using the included stand.
The RTA1300M is powered by a quad-core processor and 128MB of RAM. It's a dual-band AC1300 router capable of maximum throughput speeds of 399Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 866Mbps on the 5GHz band, and it supports beamforming and MU-MIMO data streaming.
The Web-based management console has the same look and feel as the console used to control the Amped Wireless High Power Wireless-N 600mW Gigabit Router (R10000G) and the Amped Wireless Athena High Power AC2600 Wi-Fi Router (RTA2600). It opens to a Dashboard page that displays a simple network map and basic information, including Wi-Fi SSIDs, security passwords, connected devices, and guest-network status. At the bottom of the page is a Setup Wizard button that, when pressed, takes you to a page that walks you through a basic installation procedure.
Clicking the More Settings tab on the left opens a menu with options for 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi Settings, Network Settings, Security Features, USB storage, Firewall Settings, Quality of Service settings, and Management settings. Wi-Fi settings include basic and advanced settings for each band, guest networking, Airtime Allocation, which adjusts bandwidth speed for each SSID, and Wireless Coverage, which adjusts output power and range for each radio band. Here, you can also create hourly, daily, and weekly access schedules for each band.
Security features include website blocking and user-access controls using MAC or IP addresses, while Quality of Service (QoS) settings allow you to prioritize network traffic for specific applications and devices. Firewall settings are made up of Port Forwarding, Port Filtering, and Denial of Service settings, and Management options let you view system status and event logs, upgrade firmware, and change passwords.
Installation and Performance
Installation is quick and easy, thanks to the Setup Wizard. Once the RTA1300M is plugged in and connected to the Internet and a host PC, you open a browser and type //setup.ampedwireless.com in the browser's address bar to open the Dashboard page. Click the Setup Wizard button at the bottom of the page to configure Internet and basic wireless settings.
The RTA1300M turned in impressive scores when the client was in the same room. Its score of 97.4Mbps in the 2.4GHz close-proximity test was a bit faster than the D-Link AC1900 EXO Wi-Fi Router (DIR-879) (90.4Mbps) and the Synology RT1900ac (95.9Mbps), but not the Trendnet TEW-827DRU (108Mbps). However, at a distance of 30 feet, the RTA1300M only managed 38.Mbps, compared with the D-Link DIR-879's score of 43.6Mbps and the Synology RT1900ac's throughput of 45.6Mbps. The Trendnet TEW-827DRU led with a score of 75.3Mbps.
Results were similar in our 5GHz tests. The RTA1300M's score of 582Mbps in the close-proximity test was second only to the Trendnet TEW-827DRU (590Mbps) and a good deal faster than the D-Link DIR-879 (442Mbps) and the Synology RT1900ac (479Mbps). In our 30-foot test, the RTA1300M (187Mbps) couldn't keep pace with the Trendnet TEW-827DRU (260Mbps) or the Synology RT1900ac (231Mbps), but it was nearly even with the D-Link DIR-879 (186Mbps).
We test MU-MIMO performance using three identical Acer Aspire R13 laptops equipped with Qualcomm's QCA61x4A MU-MIMO circuitry. The RTA1300M averaged 140.3Mbps in the close-proximity MU-MIMO test, trailing the Zyxel AC2200 MU-MIMO Dual-Band Wireless Gigabit Router (NBG6815) (148Mbps), the Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router (176Mbps), and the Trendnet TEW-827DRU (238Mbps). At 30 feet, the RTA1300M managed just 47.6Mbps, compared with the ZyXel NB6815's score of 87.3Mbps and the Linksys EA7500's throughput 81.2Mbps. The Trendnet TEW-827DRU led with a score of 127.6Mbps.
To test read and write file-transfer performance, we move a 1.5GB folder containing a mix of photos, music, video, and documents between a USB drive connected to the router and the wired host PC. The RTA1300M's read speed of 26.7MBps was relatively slow, compared with the Trendnet TEW-827DRU (53.7MBps), the Linksys EA7500 (66.7MBps), and the Synology RT1900ac (34.9MBps). Similarly, its write speed of 15.2MBps trailed the Trendnet TEW-827DRU (30.3MBps), the Linksys EA7500 (27.8MBps), and the Synology RT1900ac (38.5MBps).
The Amped Wireless Artemis High Power AC1300 Wi-Fi Router with MU-MIMO (RTA1300M) isn't the fastest router out there, but it is reasonably priced and gives you plenty of features for your money. It provided relatively good scores in our close-proximity 2.4GHz and 5GHz throughput tests and offers a full complement of management options, including basic and advanced Wi-Fi settings, QoS and Firewall settings, and access scheduling. That said, its long-range and MU-MIMO throughput performance was less than stellar. Our Editors' Choice for midrange routers, the Trendnet AC2600 StreamBoost MU-MIMO WiFi Router (TEW-827DRU), provided much faster throughput scores in testing and offers dual USB 3.0 ports. Granted, it costs around $80 more than the RTA1300M, but if you have multiple devices vying for bandwidth, you'll appreciate the performance boost.
By John R. Delaney Contributing Editor
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, John spent six years in retail operations for… More »
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