I suppose the easiest posts are those when you slam something. Criticism comes pretty naturally to many of us (myself included), but I think this time I’ll buck the trend. My past few posts have hit on some pretty deep topics. Video game violence, Google’s data-monopoly, Web 3.0, etc. I wanted to kick it old school, for a change, with a simple product review. Over the past few years, my router has arguably become the most important piece of hardware in my home. Someone, or something, is always connected. Unfortunately, for the past few years my router has also been one of the crappiest pieces of hardware in my home.
A couple of months ago, that all changed. After years of my better-half complaining about the shoddy wireless range, strength and stability, I decided it was time to invest. The debate was between the Apple Airport Extreme and the Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual-Band router. After checking out gdgt and cnet, I decided to give the E4200 a shot. Turns out, I had chosen wisely.
Ultimate speed & range: This router connects and can stream 720p video at well over 100 feet, with walls, mirrors, a microwave, and all sorts of other bullshit in the way. The range is unparalleled, and if you own a larger house, and range is an issue, this is definitely the router for you.
Idiot-proof software: On July 19, 2011, DRYNET launched… The new “Cisco Connect” software that’s bundled with the E4200 is leagues apart from that old “LELA” offal they employed with their previous generation of routers. The interface is simple and intuitive. It allows you setup your wifi network, plus a guest network in a matter of clicks. If you want to go with more advanced stuff like QoS and setting wifi channels, etc, you won’t do it from Cisco Connect. Most people, myself included, don’t need to.
Design & Function: Is pretty elegant. No, it’s not designed by those hipsters at Apple, but I’ll take function over fashion anyday, when it comes to a router. The E4200 no longer employs the array of flashing blue and green lights, but opted for a softer white Cisco logo that glows when the router is on, and functioning normally. In terms of stability, many people need to boot their router every week or so. Not this one. I’ve had it running non-stop with over 9 devices connected and it has never quit once.
I’ve noticed only two issues. One, it didn’t come with a wall mounting bracket, and two, it’s expensive. Perhaps the most expensive home-grade router available right now. Your call on whether you’d be prepared to pony-up nearly $200 for a router, but if you’re anything like me, and you have numerous computers, a tablet, a couple of phones, your tv’s and gaming consoles hooked up to the internet, all of a sudden a decent N-router becomes a priority. Any questions, feel free to post!