Cisco's Linksys E4200 v2: The best saved for last

Cisco announces the second version of the Linksys E4200 router, which turns out to be arguably the best router of the year.

Cisco's new Linksys E4200 v2 from looks exactly the same as the previous version but offers much faster performance and supports 450Mbps on both 5.GHz and 2.4GHz bands.
Cisco's new Linksys E4200 v2 from looks exactly the same as the previous version but offers much faster performance and supports 450Mbps on both 5.GHz and 2.4GHz bands. Dong Ngo/CNET

Cisco Systems released the original Linksys E4200 in January, which turned out to be a formidable wireless router.

Now as the year is ending, the company announced today the second version of the same router. And the Linksys E4200 v2 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N900 turns out to be one of the best, if not the best, router of the year.

The E4200 v2 comes with Cisco Connect Express mobile app for Android and iOS devices that helps users monitor any wireless router in the E and X series, right from their mobile devices.
The E4200 v2 comes with Cisco Connect Express mobile app for Android and iOS devices that helps users monitor any wireless router in the E and X series, right from their mobile devices. Screenshot by Dong Ngo/CNET

The new E4200 v2 looks exactly the same as the original on the outside, with a sleek-looking design that looks more like an expensive jewelry box than a router. On the inside, however, it packs much more power than the first version. The new router now supports the latest 3-by-3 (450Mbps) configuration on both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands, a much faster processor that runs at 1.2GHz (compared with 480MHz of the original), a much faster USB port, and the capability to host up to 50 clients for the guest network.

In my testing, the E4200 v2 excelled on the 5GHz with a fastest wireless throughput speed among its peers. Its performance on the 2.4GHz wasn't too sappy, either. The router also offered great range and stellar wireless signal stability.

However, the E4200 v2's top selling point is probably its network storage speed. When coupled with an external hard drive, it offers data speed, via a gigabit connection, comparable to that of a dedicate NAS server. This means, with the E4200 v2, for the first time, all you need is a high-capacity USB external hard drive to have a truly viable network storage solution for data sharing and high-def media streaming.

As a bonus, together with the E4200 v2, Cisco also released today a mobile app, called Cisco Connect Express for iOS and Android devices. The app allows users to monitor and make changes to their home network right from the mobile device. The app can be used to monitor all Cisco routers in the E and X series.

To find out if the new Linksys E4200 v2 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N900 is definitely worth its $200 price tag, check out the full review here.

 

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