Review of Cisco Linksys E4200

Following my recent post on getting the Cisco-Linksys E4200 Dual-Band Wireless-N Router, I’ve finally found sometime to set it up to replace my current, or previous depending on how you put it, D-Link DIR-655 Extreme N Gigabit Wireless Router. 

The D-Link DIR-655 Wireless Router has served me well for the past few years without having any failures at all.  The only weird issue I had with it was it’s disappearing wireless connectivity which till date I still is not able to determine why.  Anyway, the problem did somehow also “disappeared” by itself so I didnt really bother to determine the root cause.  I will cover the features of this router in my small review instead of the speed tests as I think it has been already covered in many of the online reviews.  I’ll try to do a speed test review again later when I manage to find time to put the 5Ghz band to a test.

Here are the pictures again.  The Cisco-Linksys WUSB600N Dual-Band Wireless-N USB Network Adapter was a free gift from the purchase, courtesy of the DBS Black Card.

The E4200 itself s very flat and slick and the connectivities on it are all the back with 4 Gigabits Ports, a WAN Port, a USB port for any storage or printer device and of course the power input.  A nice touch to the router is the inclusion of an ON-OFF switch.  Something we don’t get to see on every single router out there.  I still remember the times I have to turn off my DLink DIR-655 at the power plug, which is usually even less accessible, should I need to power down the router for any reason.

As the E4200’s orientation is fixed at the flat position, I have to re-adjust the stuff in my cabinet a bit in order to fit it in.  Previously, I placed the DLink DIR-655 in a vertical position so it was quite economical in the real estate that it takes up.  Anyway, I got a IKEA RATIONELL VARIERA shelf insert and placed the E4200 on top of it.  Here’s how the new setup looks like.

Yah.. still a bit messy.. after taking this picture, I actually did another round of re-0rg and changed all the Cat 5e cable to the newer Cat 6 Flat ones that I’ve bought for a long time but never got to bring myself to do the necessary swops. 

Powering on the E4200, the first thing I noticed was the Cisco Logo.  It was lighted up very nicely. 🙂  As a person who is know for liking such blink blink stuff, I was pretty happy with this feature. 😀 Nice right?

In terms of configurations, this router’s interface is quite typical of the usual Linksys ones.  Upon login, this is what you will see.

All the necessary networking configurations required to start using this router is in this first place, include a convinent REBOOT button.  The rest of the more advance (I didnt want to use the word ‘less use’ or “use less”) things are in the other sub-tabs.  E4200 allows the usual DHCP reservations made available by clicking on the button but somehow, the reservation listing doesn’t do any auto sorting by IP addresses, making it a bit difficult to look for them after your listing gets longer.

On the second main tab, your will get the wireless settings.  Both the 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz bands settings are together on this page.  But somehow, they placed the security settings only on the second sub tab and not on this page.  Something a bit inconvinent in my opinion.  Based on the feedback on the web, one show note that the same SSID should not be used for both bands.  It will end up giving weird connectivity problems.  E4200 also allows the setting up of Guest Zones as well as Wireless MAC filtering.

For Security, E4200 allows both IPv4 and IPv6 Firewall protection.  Something I didnt see in my previous router. 

For storage, E4200 supports USB storage, Media and FTP servers.  In the administration tab, you will find the usual Groups and Users settings.

There are also Parental control features included in the E4200, included with schedules for these rules to be active. 🙂  On the Application and Gaming tab, you will find the usual port triggers as well as QoS settings.  For me, I dont really use QoS since the last router as I’m usually the biggest user of the Bandwidth in the whole household.

The Administration tab contains the rest of the settings for the E4200 including the admin password and other management console features.  At the last Status tab, this is where you get to see all your settings as well as the well-being of the router at a glance.

Lastly, one interesting thing about the E4200 is that it allows the turning off of the back LED lights that shows the activities of the ports connected.  By turning this off, you will not see any blinking lights behind even though the ports are still activated.  However, this feature only controls the rear port lights and not the lighted Cisco Logo.  So if you are trying to make the router less irritating in a total dark environment.  This is not going to be very useful.

The E4200 costed my S$279 inclusive of a free USB Dual Band adaptor.  I think it is available at SLS (Sim Lim Square) for around S$249 for the router itself.  Given the different of S$30, I took the plunge and option of getting it with the fre adaptor which cost around S$79 (SRP).  Oveall, it is still the most expensive comsumer router I see in the Singapore market with the Asus URT56 following very closely behind.  But overall, I would still say it’s worth every penny for the looks, features and performance you can get out of a dual band router.