Review : Cisco Linksys EA4500

The functionality of wifi routers has always left a lot to be preferred. With relationships apparently designed by specialized engineers on a limited due date, they frequently believe a innovative level of specialized skills. There have been a few efforts to present more user-friendly visual relationships, but none have gone quite as far as Cisco's newest providing.

Cisco Connect Reasoning makes its first appearance in the new EA4500 dual-band 802.11n hub, and consists of a gui with a cloud-based element to give distant accessibility functions. The unique is that 'cisco' has created an SDK available to third-party app designers via the Linksys Programmer Group, enabling the development of applications that include with what 'cisco' is contacting its 'Smart Wi-Fi App Allowed Routers'. Apps to control gadgets like NAS equipment are nothing new, but these are usually in-house products.

At release, six professional applications were declared for iOS and/or Operating system operating system mobile phone gadgets — a complete record is available on Cisco's website. These include the web filtration and preventing resources Netproofer and Prevent the Bad Things, movies online gamers Hipplay and Twonky Video, System Tracking and the Gemini IP camera monitoring application. Not all of these applications were available at the time of writing, but there is a no cost 'cisco' Connect Reasoning app for iOS and Operating system operating system mobile phone that allows entry to a few hub configurations such as visitor accessibility and adult manages.

The hub itself is nothing out of the common, giving an similar framework and very similar innards to the current E4200 v2 design. It has three-stream MIMO (450Mbps) ability on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz receivers, complimentary of double Marvell 88W8366/88W8063 transceivers. The six inner antennas are a collapsed steel design organized around three factors, and the smooth greyish and gold case dispenses with any position lighting apart from those on the four Gigabit Ethernet LAN and single WAN slots (there is no ADSL version). There's also a white-illuminated 'cisco' logo displaying power position.
A USB 2.0 slot finishes the I/O features; this can be used for giving either storage space or models, but 3G dongles are not reinforced. For printing device and multi-function device giving, a easy USB-over-IP application is offered for client PCs.

Setup is via a CD-based master, and is easy apart from the fact that it's designed to be used over a wifi relationship. We tried it over wired Ethernet and (after improving the firmware to the newest version) it proved helpful, although the guidelines in the master make no referrals to wired relationships. The master additionally allows the SSID and security important factors to be modified, along with the hub administration private data and system name.

The administration individual interface is utilized by signing in at and creating a merchant consideration. The complete assistance needs a web relationship — if this is down, you can sign in in the area using the hub administration private data, but only basic WAN and LAN configurations can be customized. If the world wide web is OK, the hub is associated with the 'cisco' Connect Reasoning consideration, and all configurations are then available via the regional LAN or slightly from any internet browser. It's a somewhat awkward system — returning to a conventional fully-featured text-based selection in the insufficient a web relationship might have created more sense. (Cisco has addressed early client problems on this issue, and does allow a firmware reduce or eliminate to a conventional individual interface, skipping 'cisco' Reasoning Connect altogether).
The individual interface is quite user-friendly, if a little slowly and less competent, with configurable icons displaying the position of various configurations organized to the right of a record of groups. The top six groups are named 'apps', with hub configurations below these. It seems an odd variation, but any establishing in the app area is only available when there's a working web relationship. These built-in applications provide adult manages, USB storage space configurations, LAN client management, Wi-Fi visitor accessibility, press prioritisation (QoS) and an online speed analyze applet. Third-party applications do not appear on this record, however.

There are a lot of innovative configurations nestled away in the various LAN and WAN configurations choices, such as slot sending, DMZ, MAC filtration and so on, so experienced customers need not lose hope of too much dumbing down. The DLNA press hosting server and computer file giving (via SMB or FTP, but not HTTP) are designed in the USB Storage app, but confusingly models are added via the System List. All distant accessibility functions can be incapable if required without impacting regional settings options, but third-party applications may be impacted as these connect into the cloud-based assistance, not the regional system.

Performance was a very combined bag. Using our conventional installation of a laptop computer with an Apple Greatest Wi-Fi Link 5300 and Passmark Efficiency Test 7, at 1m variety on the 2.4GHz group (auto 20/40MHz setting) it offered a clearly regular 44Mbps. However, at 25m it revealed amazing endurance, keeping around 26Mbps with no trouble. At 5GHz (with 40MHz-only programs configured) it enhanced to 57Mbps at 1m but decreased partially to 23Mbps at 25m. These are excellent long-range results, but they don't really make up for the unexceptional close-range performance.

Although we compliment the attempt to easily simplify settings, other hub producers are already going down similar tracks. The app foundation may be unique, but its success relies upon very much on attractive excellent designers to generate attractive applications. As a display for this new foundation, the EA4500 is excellent, with excellent functionality and a strong, if dull, function set. But its wifi performance is frustrating, and some excellent adjusting of the installation and settings techniques is still required.

Pros :

  • Simple setup
  • Compact and stylish design
  • Easy remote configuration from any browser
  • Third-party apps can add extra functionality
  • Good range
  • Guest network
  • Dual-radio, three-stream MIMO

Cons :

  • Setup wizard assumes a wireless connection
  • Limited configuration options when no web connection
  • Single USB port
  • Lacklustre maximum throughput
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