Cisco doesn't want to be just the number one networking hardware company for the enterprise, it also, through its Linksys brand, wants to be the number one network equipment company for your small-office and home (SOHO). So, it is that Cisco unveiled today, January 19th, 2011, it's latest top-of-the-line Wi-Fi home router, the Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual-Band Wireless-N Router.
According to Cisco, the E4200 is "designed for optimum home theater performance, the E4200 works seamlessly with the latest entertainment devices, including Internet TVs, iPad tablets, game consoles, smart phones, e-readers, and VoIP devices. This new router not only helps boost performance and range in the home, it provides industry-leading speed of up to 450 Mbps* for smooth streaming of video and music and uninterrupted gaming."
How does it do it? With simultaneous dual-band wireless-N, four Gigabit ports, and a 3x3 antenna configuration that help give it unparalleled speed and range. Additionally, a combination of internal and external amplifiers coupled with six antennas help increase the signal strength across greater distances, providing improved home network coverage and reducing dead spots. The E4200 also features a next-generation industrial design that combines sleek contours with advanced functionality."
Well, it all sounds good. I myself like the Linksys line. At this very moment, I'm using an older Linksys Simultaneous Dual-N Band Wireless Router WRT610N for my SOHO network. But, and this is a big but, some newer Linksys routers, such as the Linksys E3000 had some really serious heating problems.
My buddy Jason Perlow is currently checking the temperature of the E4200 in a review. I'll let him give you the full details once he's done kicking the new Wi-Fi router's tires, but for now, I will say that it seems Cisco has done a lot of thermal engineering work to make sure that the E4200 is not going to over-heat no matter how much of a load put on it.
The feature set looks good and it gives you all you need to make the most from 802.11n networking. This includes: Six antennas for maximum range; Simultaneous dual-band (2.4GHz and 5.0 GHz) transmission and reception; and 3X3 internal Multiple-Input/Multiple-Output (MIMO) special stream configuration on the 5.0Ghz band for ideal performance for streaming HD videos, gaming and voice. In addition, Cisco is including signal amplifiers to boost its range and performance. Put all that together, and if you configure correctly, you might very well see Cisco's claimed "Maximum performance of up to 300 Mbps [Megabits per second] (2.4) and up to 450 Mbps (5.0)."
In addition, the router includes WPA and WPA2 security and a Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewall; 4Gigabit Ethernet ports; Quality of Service (QoS) to prioritize video, voice or music bandwidth, and a Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) media server for any external USB storage you might add to the box. Last, but in no ways least, Cisco also announced that it will be adding IPv6 support via a firmware update later this year.
I like the sounds of all this. I hope that Jason reports that it delivers on its promises.
If you want to try it out for yourself, the Linksys E4200 available now for a list price of $179.99 at Best Buy and the online Linksys store. The E4200 will roll out to other retail and online retailers in the next few months.