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Cisco announces E-Series wireless routers

Cisco Systems details new line of wireless routers for home, business, and savvy users.

The new top-of-the-line Cisco E3000 wireless router. Dong Ngo/CNET

The Linksys by Cisco brand of networking products might be on the way out. Along with its announcement Wednesday of  the Cisco Valet, a new line of wireless routers for home users, Cisco Systems has detailed a new line of routers for business and savvy users. These new routers have Cisco in their name but Linksys as their model number.

The E-series includes four new Wireless-N routers: Linksys E1000, Linksys E2000, Linksys E2100L, and Linksys E3000. The E1000 is the budget router for people with light networking needs.

The E300 comes with all you can expect from a wireless router. It even has a USB port to host a storage device. Dong Ngo/CNET

The E2000 is a midrange wireless router with support for Gigabit Ethernet and selectable dual-band, letting it to in either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands. The Linksys E2100L is one of a few routers powered by Linux that allows for flexibility in network customization. It doesn't support Gigabit Ethernet or dual-band wireless, but it has a USB port and built-in UPnP AV Media Server that is capable of streaming digital content to an Xbox 360, PS3, or other compatible devices.

The top of the line is the Linksys E3000, which supports all the features available in Cisco consumer-grade wireless routers, including simultaneous dual-band, Gigabit Ethernet, built-in UPnP AV media server, USB port to host network storage, and more.

All routers in this new line include new Cisco Connect software that is intended to give users tools for easy customization and control of their home wireless experience. During setup, the software autoassigns the WPA security pass key and SSID. Once configured, users can use Cisco Connect to add multiple Internet-capable devices, set parental controls for each device, give visitors password-protected Internet access on a separate guest network, and customize advanced settings and change the network SSID and password.

Users can still manage the new routers via a Web interface.

The new E-Series Cisco routers are available now. The budget router E1000 costs $80 and the top-of-the-line E3000 costs $180.