Linksys EtherFast Cable/DSL Router with 4-Port Switch

The Good Web-based configuration; user-friendly manuals.

The Bad Short warranty; network cables not included; no serial COM port.

The Bottom Line It's hard to go wrong with the EtherFast router, but if you do, you'll wish you had a longer warranty.

Editors' Rating
7.0 Overall

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Review

Linksys EtherFast Cable/DSL Router with 4-Port Switch

If you want to share a broadband connection among a small group of PCs at home or at the office, check out the Linksys EtherFast four-port, cable/DSL router. Setup is trouble-free, thanks to the intuitive, Web-based interface, and the included uplink port adds out-of-the-box expandability by letting you connect to another switch or hub. However, the EtherFast's short warranty and lack of cables make it hard to recommend over other similarly priced routers.If you want to share a broadband connection among a small group of PCs at home or at the office, check out the Linksys EtherFast four-port, cable/DSL router. Setup is trouble-free, thanks to the intuitive, Web-based interface, and the included uplink port adds out-of-the-box expandability by letting you connect to another switch or hub. However, the EtherFast's short warranty and lack of cables make it hard to recommend over other similarly priced routers.

Ease of setup
The $129 EtherFast router comes with a quick-installation sheet and an illustrated 45-page user guide. First, you must connect the PCs you want to network to one of the four LAN ports located on the back of the router. (Of course, all of the PCs you connect must have installed network-interface cards.) Unfortunately, Linksys doesn't include any network cables, so you'll need to get your hands on some Cat-5, UTP cables. Next, connect your broadband modem to the router's WAN port and plug in the power supply. Once all the cables are connected, configure each PC's TCP/IP settings to obtain an IP address automatically from the router's DHCP server, which supports up to 253 users. (Check the user manual for TCP/IP information.) Finally, launch your Web browser and enter the router's IP address, which is provided in the manual. The router's setup page appears and lets you configure the device, depending on your particular ISP and network setup.

Standard features
The EtherFast router comes with all the features you'd expect for the price--and then some. A built-in, auto-sensing, 10/100mbps switch gives each node dedicated bandwidth, which dramatically boosts performance when running applications such as videoconferencing, IP telephony, and multiplayer games. The EtherFast router also has an uplink port--a feature noticeably absent on similar routers, such as the D-Link DI-704 Cable/DSL Internet Gateway. The uplink port expands your network by letting you connect to another switch or hub. However, when you use the uplink port, you must sacrifice the first LAN port, which is automatically disabled. For security, the EtherFast router includes a built-in NAT-based firewall for keeping hackers at bay. However, we wish the EtherFast router had is a serial COM port, which lets you share an external analog or ISDN modem connection if your broadband connection fails.

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Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $294
  • Brand Cisco
  • Compatibility PC
  • Type Router
  • Data Link Protocol Ethernet, Fast Ethernet
  • Form Factor desktop
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