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Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router review: Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router

Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
7 min read

The Cisco Linksys E2000 shares the same design and desktop software as other new routers from Cisco, such as the Valet Plus and the E3000. Novice users won't have any problem setting it up and advanced users can also take advantage of its robust Web interface. In addition, the E2000 has the best performance we've seen.


Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router

The Good

The Cisco Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router offers excellent performance and includes a nice set of features. The router also has an aesthetically pleasing compact design and an intuitive software application to help home users set up and manage their home wireless network with ease.

The Bad

The Linksys E2000 can't operate in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands at the same time. The router's Web interface and desktop software don't work together, and neither offers complete control over the router's configuration. There's also no USB port to host network storage or printers.

The Bottom Line

The Cisco Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router is the fastest router we've seen in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and will definitely make home users happy with its easy-to-use setup software. Advanced users, however, might find its desktop software and Web interface combination a little disjointed.

Unfortunately, the router also shares the same major drawbacks as others in Cisco's Linksys E and Valet series: its easy-to-use desktop software doesn't work with its Web interface, and you'll need both to take advantage of all of its features. The router also doesn't come with a USB port and it can only work in either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band at a time, rather than both at the same time.

At the street price of around $90, however, those who want a fast and friendly router for their home need not look any further than the E2000.

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Design and ease of use
The Linksys E2000 looks good with its sleek, plate-shaped chassis. All of its antennas are hidden within the chassis, so the router seems much smaller. Its flat design helps it stay grounded on any surface; it's also wall-mountable.

On the back, the E2000 has four Gigabit LAN ports (to host wired network devices) and one WAN port (to connect to an Internet source, such as a cable modem). Also on the back are a recessed Reset button (it restores the router to its factory default settings when pressed) and the power jack. There's no USB port, so there's no network storage or print-serving capability.

The Cisco Connect software makes setting up and managing the Linksys E2000 router a no-brainer for even the least computer-savvy users.

On the front, the router has an array of sleek-looking blue LEDs to show the status of the ports and the Internet connection and wireless connection. In the middle of these lights is the Wi-Fi Protected Setup button, which initiates the 2-minute window time for hooking the WPS-enabled wireless device to a wireless network.

It's very easy to set up the router with the included CD, which contains the setup and managing software called Cisco Connect. The CD walks you through the steps of how to unpack the router and connect it to the modem with the cable. After that, the software takes about 5 minutes to do the configuration for you. This includes establishing the connection to the Internet, creating a wireless network name (SSID), encrypting the wireless connection, and picking a password (or the encryption key).

The network's name is picked at random, but it's always something short and catchy such as "RedHorse" or "BusyMonkey." You can change this name if you want, but you won't even need to memorize it. When you want to add another computer, be it a PC or a Mac, to the wireless network, just insert the CD and again the software will take care of the rest. At most, you just have to interact with the application via two or three mouse clicks.

If you have computers that don't have an optical drive, such as Netbooks, you can make a copy of the Cisco Connect software from the CD to a thumbdrive and use it via a USB port. For other devices, such as a wireless printer or a handheld device, the setup software shows the wireless network information together with the encryption key for you to enter them manually. You can also use the Wi-Fi Protected Setup function to connect those that are WPS-enabled.

It's worth noting that the software runs directly from the CD (or the thumbdrive) without installing anything on your computer. This means you don't have to clutter your computer with extra software.

Now, for most users, there's no need to do anything else. Advanced users, however, might want to check out the router's Web interface. The first time you do this, you'll need to run the Cisco Connect software and go to its "Advanced" section, which will reveal the log-in information and will launch the Web interface for you. Once you have memorized the log-in username and password, you can always go to this Web interface by pointing a browser to the default IP address: The Web interface allows you to further customize and access the router's other advanced functions.

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.

CNET Labs 2.4GHz Wireless-N performance score (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Mixed Mode  
Cisco Linksys E2000
D-Link DIR-825
Belkin N+ Wireless Router
Netgear WNDR3700
Cisco Linksys E3000
Linksys WRT610n
Apple Time Capsule

CNET Labs 5GHz Wireless-N performance score (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Cisco Linksys E2000
D-Link DIR-825
Apple Time Capsule
Cisco Linksys E3000
Linksys WRT610n

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.


Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router

Score Breakdown

Setup 8Features 8Performance 9Support 6