Cisco Linksys E4200 review
Fast, particularly over 5GHz, but a little light on features for such an expensive router
Review Date: 10 Mar 2011
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed: £141 (£169 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
In order to achieve the best possible speed from your router, you generally need a top-end adapter with a 3x3 antenna configuration, such as Intel’s Ultimate-N WiFi Link 5300 or Ultimate-N 6300. That hasn’t changed with the Cisco Linksys E4200 cable router, but what is new is its maximum theoretical throughput: it’s the first router we’ve come across rated at 450Mbits/sec; most other high-end dual-band models top out at a theoretical 300Mbits/sec.
As with all routers, the real-world speeds you can achieve, even in ideal conditions, differ vastly from these headline speeds. And note: 450Mbits/sec is achievable only over 5GHz; 2.4GHz devices connect at the slower 300Mbits/sec.
There’s no denying it’s a quick router, though. Over 5GHz we achieved average throughput of 161.1Mbits/sec transmitting large files from our test laptop to a laptop hooked up to one of the E4200’s four Gigabit Ethernet ports. That’s around 14Mbits/sec faster than the fastest router we’ve previously seen in this test, the D-Link DIR 855.
In other tests at close range, the E4200 is less consistent than the D-Link, though. Speeds dropped to 95Mbits/sec when receiving the same files, and to 96Mbits/sec and 80Mbits/sec when transmitting and receiving 1GB of smaller, 1MB files. Over 2.4GHz it’s slower still, achieving large-file transmit and receive speeds of 94.2Mbits/sec and 72.2Mbits/sec, and small-file transmit and receive speeds of 58.5Mbits/sec and 66.8Mbits/sec.
What’s most notable about the E4200, however, isn’t its performance at close range, but its speed at long distance. Where most other routers slow dramatically or completely fail to connect consistently over 5GHz in our long-range test (this involves moving the laptop 40m away from the router, with a wood wall and double glazed window in the way), the E4200 put in a sterling performance.
Despite lacking external antennae (there are six inside, three each for 2.4GHz and 5GHz), we measured transmit and receive rates for large files of 51.5Mbits/sec and 50.7Mbits/sec, and 37.7Mbits/sec and 51.4Mbits/sec for small files. For comparison, the D-Link DIR-855 failed to complete this test over 5GHz; only the Belkin Double N+ is faster at long range over 5GHz. We can only imagine what the performance would be if only Cisco would forego the internal antenna design.
Elsewhere, however, the E4200 isn’t quite as impressive. Long-range performance over 2.4GHz is below average, and features aren’t stellar either. You get four Gigabit Ethernet ports and concurrent 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, as you’d expect, but there’s little else to justify the high price tag. A single USB port enables NAS features, but speeds are slow at 5.4MB/sec for large file transfers and 5MB/sec for small files. There’s nothing unusual in the web settings pages either. You can set up a guest network, and there are basic parental controls, but there’s no sign of proper hardware VPN, VoIP or support for 3G dongles or printers.
At £169 though, notwithstanding the excellent all-round performance, we’d expect rather more than this. The Cisco Linksys E4200 may be cutting edge, but there are very few adapters that allow you to take full advantage of its 450Mbits/sec speed, and without a more rounded feature set it’s hard to recommend.
Author: Jonathan Bray
It's an E4200 not E2400!
Which accounts for why the Best Deal is over three times the Price When Reviewed...
By JohnGray7581 on 12 Mar 2011
Good review so I bought one. Now wondering why the review didn't mention it's not PPPoA compatible, so not BT compatible as that uses PPPoA not PPPoE. A key piece of information for customers. Can it be tricked into working.
By gmasson1 on 7 Apr 2011
- Google ditches OpenSSL in Chrome
- Apple and Swatch to buddy up for iWatch release
- StubHub fraud: how hackers stole $1m using tickets
- Mobile success boosts Facebook's profit by 138%
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Unlock your Moto X with a "tattoo"
- Samsung continues Tizen OS push with Galaxy Gear "upgrade"
- Killing the Surface Mini hit revenues, Microsoft reveals
- How to report website overblocking and miscategorisation to ISPs
- iPad sales stall as owners "too happy to upgrade"
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone
- Meet the robots helping teach children
- PaperLater: would you pay to print the internet?
- Amazon vs Kobo: how much to make the ebook switch?
- Phishing emails: how I nearly got caught out
- Hacking the Internet of Things: from smart cars to toilets
- BlackBerry Passport release date, specs, features, and rumours: when is the new BlackBerry coming out?
- What's changing in the computing curriculum
- Teaching kids to code
- Best free translation apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone
- Five worst SMB security threats... and how to solve them
- Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows 8 – what's the best compact tablet OS?
- The 12 best tablets of 2014: what’s the best tablet on the market?
- How to free up hard disk space
- Driverless cars: could your next car be driven by a robot?
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?