The Linksys E1200 is a single-band Wireless-N router that works only on the 2.4GHz frequency. The only noticeable feature it has is guest networking, which is convenient when you want to share the Internet with others but want to keep them from accessing your local resources, such as files or printers. The router's guest networking feature allows a maximum of 10 clients, which is limited, but enough for the router's target customers.
Like the rest of the E series, the E1200 includes a simple yet robust parental control content-filtering system. This feature, which you can manage with Cisco Connect or the Web interface, enables you to change and limit the way a particular computer on the network accesses the Internet. Via the router's Web interface, you can also access the Applications & Gaming feature that lets you set port forwarding and triggering for specific applications such as games, remote desktop, or 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 point, or a remote desktop connection to a certain computer in the network, you will find the above handy and convenient.
Like most recent routers, the Linksys E1200 supports all available wireless encryption standards, including WEP, WPA-Personal, and WPA-Enterprise. The router supports VPN pass-through for all existing VPN protocols, including IPsec, L2TP, and PPTP, so you can use a VPN client to access your office via a VPN connection.
The Linksys E1200 has nothing to show off when it comes to performance. The router was one of the slowest of the recent Wireless-N routers we've reviewed, averaging just 35.7Mbps when used with clients that were just 15 feet away. When we increased the distance to 100 feet, this number dropped to a dismal 6.4Mbps. Note that this only means that the router won't do well hosting heavy local network traffic. If you just want to share Internet access, that would pose no problem, as most Internet connections are still much slower than the speed the router has to offer.
We also found the E1200's wireless range to be very short, just about 175 feet at most, and the router should be used within 100 feet or less for its signal to be strong enough. Within that range, it passed our 48-hour stress test, in which it was set to transfer lots of data back and forth between clients. It didn't disconnect once.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
As with the rest of routers in the E series, Cisco backs the Linksys E1200 with a one-year limited warranty, which is short, but the same as for most routers on the market. Cisco'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 a FAQ section.
With short range, low throughput speeds, and a spartan set of features, the simple-to-use and affordable Linksys E1200 would make a good entry-level Wireless-N router only for those who want to share Internet access within a small space, such as an apartment or mobile home.