Cisco Linksys E4200 v2 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N900 router review: Cisco Linksys E4200 v2 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N900 router

The E4200 has simple and straightforward support for network storage, including features such as sharing the content of a USB external hard drive (formatted using either NTFS or FAT32), with user account restriction. By default the admin account has full access and can create more user accounts. It also has a built-in UPnP media server with which you can stream digital content to other UPnP-compliant devices, such as set-top boxes, network media players, and game consoles.

For file sharing, the E4200 supports Windows SMB, so you can browse the share folders easily while using a network browser such as Windows Explorer. You can also turn a folder on an attached USB hard drive into an FTP site.

Like the original, the E4200 v2 includes a simple, yet robust, parental control content-filtering system. This feature, which you can manage with the Cisco Connect software or the Web interface, enables you to limit the way a particular computer on the network accesses the Internet.

As for other routers in the E-Series, the E4200 v2's Web interface gives access to the router's Applications & Gaming feature, with which you can set port forwarding and triggering for specific applications such as games, remote desktop, and FTP and HTTP servers. You can also assign static IP addresses to certain computers in the network, making the port forwarding much more relevant and easy to do. If you want to create a VPN connection, an FTP access, or a remote-desktop connection to a certain computer in the network, you will find this handy and convenient.

Like most recent routers, the Linksys E42000 supports all available wireless encryption standards, including WEP, WPA-Personal, and WPA-Enterprise. The router allows VPN pass-through for all existing VPN protocols, including IPsec, L2TP, and PPTP, meaning that if you have the router at home, you can use a VPN client to access your office system. It also supports IPv6, the latest Internet protocol, replacing the old IPv4, which has been running out of addressing space.

Performance
The Cisco Linksys E4200 v2 is completely different from the original E4200 in terms of storage performance, thanks to its much faster, 1.2GHz processor. When coupled with an external hard drive via a Gigabit Ethernet connection, the router was about three times faster than the previous model in my testing, averaging 21.38MBps for writing and 25.35MBps for reading. These numbers are very impressive for a router, and comparable to, and even faster than, some dedicated NAS servers.

In fact, the E4200 v2 is so fast that for the first time I am now able to recommend a router as a viable storage option. With the E4200 v2, all you need is a high-capacity USB external hard drive and you have yourself a fast, easy-to-manage network storage and media-streaming system. In my trials, the router's storage speed was sufficient for streaming HD content to multiple players at a time.

The E4200 v2 is, however, first and foremost a wireless router and it also delivers as one, for the most part. As it supports dual-band and the 450Mbps standard, I tested it with both 300Mbps and 450Mbps clients. The router excelled on the 5GHz band.

When used with a 450Mbps client, the v2 registered close-range throughput of 185.6Mbps, the fastest I've seen. At this speed, it can finish transmitting 500MB of data in just about 20 seconds. When I increased the range to 100 feet, the router still managed to offer 122.2Mbps; again, the fastest among its peers.

On the 2.4GHz band the router again did very well with 450Mbps clients in close-range testing, registering a speed of 100.3Mbps. However, when the distance was increased to 100 feet, it scored only 35.8Mbps, slower than most. This is likely because the interference level gets progressively higher in my office on this band.

When used with a regular 300Mbps client, the E4200 v2 performed about the same as the previous model, higher than average among its peers. The E4200 v2 also offers about the same range as the original, about 290 feet in my trials. Note that as distance increases the throughput speed drops, and effectively the router should be used within 180 feet or less. This also depends a lot on the environment in which the router is used.

The Linksys E4200 v2 did very well in stress tests, finishing 48 hours of heavy continuous data transfer, on both bands simultaneously, without disconnecting once.

NAS performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Cisco Linksys E4200 v2
202.8 
171 
Apple Time Capsule
114.2 
81.2 
Netgear WNDR3800
88.9 
34 
Netgear WNDR4500
65.6 
63.2 
Cisco Linksys E4200
64 
60.8 
Netgear WNDR4000
57.6 
51.8 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
17.8 
Cisco Linksys E3200
36.2 
32.2 
Cisco Linksys E3000
32.2 
57.1 

2.4GHz Wireless-N performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Cisco Linksys E4200 v2 (with 450Mbps clients)
35.8 
100.3 
Netgear WNDR4000
23.9 
67.8 
Cisco Linksys E4200
46.9 
61.4 
D-Link DIR-825
38.8 
61.3 
Cisco Linksys E3200
40.4 
57.44 
Asus RT-N56U
34.4 
57.2 
Cisco Linksys E4200 v2
21.4 
56.6 
Netgear WNDR3700
29.44 
55.44 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
31.1 
52.1 
Belkin N750 DB
26.6 
50 
Cisco Linksys E3000
32.8 
43.5 
Linksys E2500
10.7 
36.5 
Linksys WRT610N
28.8 
35.76 
Netgear WNDR4500
12.5 
28.6 

5GHz Wireless-N performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Cisco Linksys E4200 v2 (with 450Mbps clients)
122.2 
185.6 
Cisco Linksys E4200 v2
35.8 
148.5 
Cisco Linksys E4200
79.1 
100.48 
Asus RT-N56U
76.2 
112.6 
Belkin N750 DB
74.64 
92.32 
Linksys E2500
70.2 
77.2 
Netgear WNDR4000
63.9 
89 
Linksys WRT610N
54.8 
64.8 
Cisco Linksys E3200
53.8 
95.3 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
49 
71.9 
Cisco Linksys E3000
48.8 
65.4 
Netgear WNDR4500
41 
109.4 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
60 
D-Link DIR-825
36.48 
80.96 

Service and support
Cisco backs the Linksys E4200 v2 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N900 with a one-year limited warranty. The company's toll-free phone support is available 24-7, as is online chat with a support representative. The company's Web site includes software, drivers, and firmware downloads as well as an FAQ section.

Conclusions
With great performance, the Editors' Choice Award-winning Linksys E4200 v2 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N900 makes a worthy upgrade to the previous model and an excellent wireless router for anyone who needs a robust, advanced, yet easy-to-use router for the home or office.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Cisco Linksys E4200 v2 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N900 router

Part Number: E4200V2
MSRP: $199.00 Low Price: $199.95 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Remote Management Protocol HTTP
    HTTPS
  • Data Transfer Rate 450 Mbps
  • Connectivity Technology wired
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