Linksys E2500 Multiple User N600 WiFi Router review:

Linksys E2500 Multiple User N600 WiFi Router

Guest networking is a great solution 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 E2500's guest networking feature allows a maximum of only 10 clients, which is limited but enough for home use.

Like the rest of the E series, the E2500 includes a simple, yet robust, parental control content-filtering system. This feature, which you can manage with the Cisco Connect software or the Web interface, allows you to change the way a particular computer on the network accesses the Internet.

Finally, the E2500's 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 port forwarding much easier. If you want to create a VPN connection, FTP access, 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 E32000 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, meaning that with the router at home, you can use a VPN client to access your office via a VPN connection.

Unfortunately, the Linksys 2500 doesn't support IPv6, at least with the current firmware at the time of this review. IPv6 is the new version of the Internet protocol designed to replace the current IPv4, which is running out of addresses.

The Linksys E2500 didn't impress us with its performance. While the router performed as expected on the 5GHz band, its 2.4GHz band performance was dismal. On top of that, it has the shortest range of the routers we've reviewed recently, just about 170 feet in our testing facility. Ideally, to get decent throughput performance, the router should be used within 100 feet or so.

In the 5GHz frequency tests, the Linksys E2500 router registered 77.2Mbps and 70.2Mbps for close-range and long-range throughput, respectively. These numbers, while not the fastest, were on par with those of other routers. On the 2.4GHz band, however, the router registered only 36.5Mbps and 10.7Mbps for close range and long range, respectively, by the far the slowest we've seen among dual-band routers. Note that though slow, this level of Wi-Fi performance won't affect your connection to the Internet, which generally is much slower than this. Those who want to have a fast local network for wireless file-sharing or content-streaming needs, however, will for sure need to use just the 5GHz band or opt for a different router.

To make up for this, the E2500 successfully passed our 48-hour stress test, without disconnecting once during that period.

2.4GHz Wireless-N performance (megabits per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

5GHz Wireless-N performance (megabits per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Service and support
As with the rest of the routers in the E series, Cisco backs the Linksys E2500 with one-year limited warranty, which though short is 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 and relatively low throughput speeds, the Linksys E2500 is only a good fit for small homes or offices with not much space. Its nice design, ease of use, and affordable price, however, still make it a very good buy for novice Internet users.

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