You're not still rocking a wireless router from three years ago, are you? Or even worse, a wired-only router? If you answered Yes to either of these questions, it's time to think about upgrading to take advantage of today's technologies, not the least of which is Wireless-N connectivity.
Cisco hopes you'll consider its Linksys E2500 Advanced Dual-Band N Router. The E2500 is part of Cisco's revamped E-series, which consists of five new models offering a range of options and features for your home or home office network. This particular model sits smack dab in the middle of the bunch, and is the first of the top three models to sport simultaneous dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. With an MSRP of $100 (streets for around $80), the E2500 makes the strongest case for the bang-for-buck crown. It's sleek, a little bit sexy, and packs a handful of big-boy features you might not find on entry-level routers. The E2500 at a glance:
What We Liked:
What We Didn't Like
When we took our laptop outside, we saw similar gaps in performance. The Netgear router benched 26.17Mbps down (a drop of about 10Mbps) and the E2500 benched 12.91Mbps (a drop of about 7Mbps) using Speednet. With our local ISP's utility, the Netgear router benched 29.72 down (virtually no drop), and the E2500 pulled 12.57Mbps down (a drop of about 8Mbps). Perhaps the E2500 would have fared better on a slower connection, but on faster speed tiers, the E2500 simply doesn't allow you to get the bandwidth you're paying for.
We have mixed feelings about the E2500. On one hand, the asking price isn't egregious for a simultaneous dual-band Wireless-N router, and the only way it could be easier to use is if it came with robotic limbs to take itself out of the box and plug itself in. The Cisco Connect software makes it incredibly easy to make changes to the E2500's settings, and even advanced users will appreciate the GUI frontend.
On the other hand, Cisco made some quirky cuts, starting with the 10/100 Ethernet ports. Is it really a cost saving measure to omit 10/100/1000 WAN ports, or is it, as we suspect, an arbitrary cut designed to nudge potential buyers into considering the next model up in Cisco's E-series line? We're also disappointed with performance. Even at close proximity, there's a sizable gap between what the E2500 can offer and what you'll get by spending more on a higher end router.
Still, $80 (street) is a huge investment, and the software is a saving grace. As long as you can live with what the E2500 doesn't offer, we consider this a good (not great) buy.
Our Score: 3 out of 5
This Deal is provided by our partner Tech Bargains at www.techbargains.com.
Disclaimer: The Black Friday deal information given above is without warranties on accuracy and availability. Black Friday deals tend to sell out very quickly and as retailer only keep low inventories for doorbuster deals.
TechBargains Review - Linksys E2500 Advanced Dual-Band N Router
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