Linksys E3200 High Performance Dual-Band N Router review: Linksys E3200 High Performance Dual-Band N Router

Features
Other than the lack of support for the 450Mbps standard, the Linksys E3200 has the same features as the Linksys E4200. The router is able to offer concurrent networks on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and can also simultaneously provide a third guest network on the 2.4GHz band.

Guest networking is a great solution when you want to share your Internet connection with others but want to keep them from accessing your local resources such as files or printers. The E3200's Guest networking feature allows a maximum of 10 clients. While this is enough for home use, it may be too limited to supply Internet for public use, as at a cafe or restaurant.

The E3200 has simple support for network storage; for example, you can share the content of an USB external hard drive (formatted using either NTFS or FAT32), with user account restriction. By default the admin account has full access, including the ability to create more user accounts. It also has a built-in UPnP Media Server that supports streaming digital content, such as photos, music, and video, to other UPnP-compliant devices, such as set-top boxes and game consoles.

For file sharing, the E3200 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 the attached USB hard drive into an FTP site.

The E3200 also has the E series' simple, yet robust, parental control content filtering system. This feature, which you can manage with Cisco Connect or the Web interface, allows you to restrict the Internet access of particular computers on your network.

Finally, the E3200's Web interface also gives access to the router's Applications & Gaming feature, which 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 networked computers, making port forwarding much more relevant and easy to do. If you want to create a VPN connection, FTP access, or a remote desktop connection to a computer in the network, you will find the above handy and convenient.

Like most recent routers, the Linksys E32000 supports all available wireless encryption standards, including WEP, WPA-Personal, and WPA-Enterprise. The router supports Cisco's VPN PassThrough for all existing VPN protocols, including IPsec, L2TP, and PPTP, meaning with the router at home, you can use a VPN client to access your office network.

Performance
The Linksys E3200 did very well in our tests in both wireless bands, but, as with similar routers, its network storage feature didn't impress us much.

In the 5GHz frequency tests, the router registered 95.3Mbps for close-range throughput, which puts it in the top three on our chart, below the E4200 and the Asus RT-56U. At this speed, it can finish transmitting 500MB of data in about 42 seconds. At a range of 100 feet, the E3200 scored 53.8Mbps, about average compared with the other routers on the chart.

In the 2.4GHz frequency tests, the E3200 took the second place on the close-range throughput test with 61.3Mbps, just a tad slower than its brother E4200, which scored 61.4Mbps. It scored 40.4Mbps and 55.04Mbps respectively for the 100-foot and mixed-mode tests, making it the second best on both charts. The mixed-mode test is designed to show how the router performs at close range when working with both Wireless-N and legacy wireless clients at the same time.

The Linksys E3200 also did well in our 48-hour stress test, not disconnecting once during that period. It offered great range, too, in our tests at about 290 to 300 feet for both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands.

Like almost all routers with built-in network storage features we've reviewed, the E3200 won't impress anyone with its throughput when hosting an external hard drive. We tested this with a computer connected to the router via a network cable using Gigabit Ethernet and the scores were generally low, at around 60.4Mbps for writing and 64Mbps for reading. These speeds only allow for minor data sharing, such as documents and small photos, and maybe some music streaming. For a viable network storage solution, we'd recommend a dedicated NAS server.

NAS performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
QNAP TS109 Pro (Single Volume)
152.4 
101.4 
Apple Time Capsule
114.2 
81.2 
Cisco Linksys E4200
64 
60.8 
Cisco Linksys E3000
32.2 
57.1 
Cisco Linksys E3200
36.2 
32.2 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
17.8 

2.4GHz Wireless-N Performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Mixed mode  
Range  
Throughput  
Cisco Linksys E4200
57.6 
46.9 
61.4 
Cisco Linksys E3200
55.04 
40.4 
57.44 
D-Link DIR-825
53.2 
38.8 
61.3 
Asus RT-N56U
52.6 
34.4 
57.2 
Belkin N+ Wireless Router
41.8 
38.6 
54.8 
Netgear WNDR3700
36.16 
29.44 
55.44 
Cisco Linksys E3000
35.3 
32.8 
43.5 
Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station
35.2 
21.12 
40.6 
Linksys WRT610n
27.04 
28.8 
35.76 
Apple Time Capsule
20 
20.8 
32.2 

5GHz Wireless-N Performance (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Asus RT-N56U
76.2 
112.6 
Cisco Linksys E4200
79.1 
100.48 
Cisco Linksys E3200
53.8 
95.3 
D-Link DIR-825
36.48 
80.96 
Apple Time Capsule
57 
70.16 
Cisco Linksys E3000
48.8 
65.4 
Linksys WRT610n
54.8 
64.8 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
60 

Service and support
Cisco backs the Linksys E3200 with one-year limited warranty, which though short from a user's point of view is standard for routers. Cisco's toll-free phone support is available 24-7, as is online chat with a support representative. The company's Web site hosts software, driver, and firmware downloads as well as an FAQ section.

Conclusions
Fast, good-looking, easy to use, and with a good set of features, the Linksys E3200 makes a good router for both novice and experienced users who want a fast home network. With a less limited Guest networking feature and better storage performance, we would have given this router an Editors' Choice Award.

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Where to Buy See all prices

Linksys E3200 High Performance Dual-Band N Router

Part Number: E3200
Low Price: $81.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Remote Management Protocol HTTP
  • Data Transfer Rate 300 Mbps
  • Connectivity Technology wireless
  • Weight 7.6 oz