The Web interface is also the only way you can use the E2000 in situations where no Internet connection is needed; for example, when you want to set up an isolated network. The setup software will not finish the initial automatic setup process when it can't detect a connection to the Internet.
Though we liked the setup and software and the Web interface, we were disappointed by the fact that they don't work together. For example, once you have logged into the Web interface and made some significant changes, such as changing the admin's password or the wireless network's name, the desktop software will stop working. To use the software again, you'll need to reset the router and run the setup process from beginning.
This wouldn't be a big deal if you could use just the Web interface to manage all features of the router. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Certain features, such as the parental control and a few others, are only available when you use the desktop software.
Like other high-end routers, the E2000 offers guest networking, which allows you to create a separate network for guests. Those connected to the guest network can have access to the Internet but not your local resources, such as files or printers. Unfortunately, you can't set more than 10 guests at a time. Guest networking, by the way, can only be managed using the Cisco Connect software and is not available through the router's Web interface.
The Linksys E2000 is a dual-band router but not a true dual-band one. This means it can only work in either 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands, but not both at the same time, as mentioned above. You can only switch to using the 5GHz band by using the Web interface.
The Web interface also gives access to the router's "Applications and 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, 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 E2000 supports all available wireless encryption standards including WEP, WPA, and WPA2. The router allows for VPN passthrough for all existing VPN protocols including IPsec, L2TP, and PPTP, meaning that having the router at home, you can use a VPN client to access your office via a VPN connection.
We had mixed feelings about how the router's desktop software and Web interface don't work with each, but we were completely impressed by the E2000's performance. The router easily and categorically topped our charts.
In tests with the 2.4GHz frequency band, the router hit 74.2Mbps for Max Throughput, significantly faster than the second-fastest D-Link DIR-825, which scored 57.44Mbps. In the Max Throughput test, we prime the router in settings and distance that are optimal for wirelesses throughput performance. Note that this is the actual sustained speed, and at this speed the E2000 can finish transmitting 500MB of data in just over 50 seconds. In the Range Test, when the router was put 100 feet away from the client, it still scored 51.3Mbps, by far the fastest on our chart. Finally, in the Mixed Mode test, where the router was set to work with both N and pre-N wireless clients, it registered 71.3Mbps, about double the average number of the other 2.4GhHz routers.
The E2000 did equally well, if not better, in the 5GHz band. In the Max Throughput test, it scored 93.4Mbps, again topping the chart by a large margin. And in the Range test, at 73Mbps, the E2000 led the rest of the routers by a wide margin.
The router also passed our 48-hour stress test without any problem. During this test, the router was set to transfer a large amount of data back and forth between multiple clients, and it didn't disconnect once.
We did notice, however, that the router got rather warm, especially on the bottom, after being used for an extended amount of time. It's recommended that it should be used in an open area.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
Cisco backs the Linksys E2000 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 an FAQ section.