Cisco refreshes wireless-N Linksys E series routers

Cisco announces new wireless-N routers in the Linksys E series family.

The new jewelry-box Linksys E1500 router from Cisco.
The new jewelry-box Linksys E1500 router from Cisco. Dong Ngo/CNET

If you have read the review of the Linksys E4200 router and decided to move on, thinking "It's just so sweet but it's too expensive, plus I don't want all the bells and whistles anyway," perhaps you don't need to walk away. As it turns out, the E4200 is just a teaser of an entire new generation in the Linksys E series that Cisco announced today.

Apart from the E4200, the new generation includes four new routers: E1200, E1500, E2500, and E3200. Except for the E1500, which is a new tier of its own, the rest of them are the upgrades of the E1000, E2000, and E3000, respectively.

The Cisco Connect software now includes a handy Speed Test tool.
The Cisco Connect software now includes a handy Speed Test tool. Dong Ngo/CNET

Like the previous routers in the E series, the new routers all feature Cisco Connect software, which makes setting up and managing a no-brainer for even the least tech-savvy person. The software is now updated to offer a Speed Test utility that helps you quickly determine how fast your connection to the Internet is. This comes in handy in case you want to know if you're getting what your provider says you pay for.

Similar to the E4200, the rest of the new routers in the E series sport a new esthetically pleasing design that makes them look more like jewelry boxes than networking products. The new designs are also compact and more streamlined than previous models.

Other than that, these wireless-N routers range from a basic router, the E1200, to the high-end, the E3200 and, of course, the top-of-the-line E4200. You can find  more in the comparison chart below.

The new generation of Cisco's Linksys E series covers all different tiers in the wireless-N router spectrum for homes and small businesses.
The new generation of Cisco's Linksys E series covers all different tiers in the wireless-N router spectrum for homes and small businesses. Dong Ngo/CNET

All of these routers are available now. The Virtual USB features, when applicable, however, require additional software that will be available for download for free by this summer, according to Cisco. You can read the review of the Linksys E1500 here.

Besides the routers, Cisco also announced three new switches for homes, including the five-port 10/100 Linksys SE1500 ($29.99), the five-port Gigabit Linksys SE2500 ($54.99), and the eight-Port Gigabit Linksys SE2800 ($74.99).

These switches share the cable connect detection energy-saving feature that automatically turns off the ports that are not connected. The two Gigabit switches also have a sleep mode that turns off the ports when the connected devices are not in use. These switches are also available now.

 

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