The Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless N Router is an affordable Wi-Fi router with excellent features. For its £64 price, you get a 300Mbps 802.11n dual-band wireless access point that can run either in 2.4GHz or 5GHz mode, as well as a four-port Gigabit ethernet switch. The best part is that it's very reliable and fast.

Linksys E2000: Features

Just like the older Linksys WAG320N (which, unlike the E2000, had a modem), the Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless N Router can't run both the 2.4GHz network and the 5GHz network simultaneously, so you'll have to pick one network frequency and stick with it. We can't fault the router for this given its price. You'll have to consider purchasing the £110 Linksys E3000 if you want simultaneous dual-band operation.

The Linksys E2000 looks the same as the older Linksys WAG and WRT models; it doesn't have external antennae, it can be wall-mounted, it has bright LED status lights and its capabilities can be gleaned by the colour of its wing (grey means it has Gigabit ethernet capability). It lacks fancy features such as storage ports for turning ordinary drives into NAS devices. The E2000's web interface hasn't changed, but the special setup software that Linksys ships with its wireless routers has been simplified in a bid to make it as easy as possible for novice users to install it.

Linksys E2000: Performance

In our tests, the Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless N Router proved to be solid as a rock; we used it with the Billion 5200S RD ADSL2+ modem and our iiNet connection never once dropped out unexpectedly during our week-long test period. Furthermore, the router's wireless performance was stellar.

When transferring video files from our server (which was connected to the router over ethernet) to our dual-band capable notebook, the Linksys E2000 never faltered. Using the 2.4GHz band, we achieved transfer rates of 9.47 megabytes per second from 2m away from the router and 8.38MBps from 10m away. These are excellent results that pretty much blow away the competing routers at the same price point, such as the Netgear Wireless N 300 WNR2000 and the D-Link DIR-600. From 2m away, the 5GHz tests produced the exact same transfer rates as the 2.4GHz tests (9.47MBps), but from 10m the transfer rates dropped slightly to 6.74MBps.

The Linksys E2000  offered great range in our test environment; it was able to supply a usable internet connection from over 35m away, but its range will vary depending on the environment where you install the E2000. We think it will perform well in a mid-sized house for streaming video in addition to sharing a fast Internet connection across many computers.

Linksys E2000: Software setup

Linksys has done a lot over the years to try and take the pain out of setting up wireless routers. With the Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless N Router, the supplied CD-ROM autoruns the Cisco Connect software, which goes through all the steps you need to undertake in order to first connect your new wireless router, and then asks you to type in your ISP username and password. That's all there is to it. In our tests, though, we also had to manually restart the router in order for it to work after the program updated its settings.

The only thing that caught our attention about this setup procedure was how long it took. We were able to set up the router a lot quicker by logging into the web interface and entering all our details manually. But the CD-ROM is aimed at people who don't want to have to deal with advanced settings, and in this respect it's definitely useful.

Linksys E2000 main screen

Cisco Connect: Main screen

Cisco Connect will also check for updates to the router's firmware and automatically install them. We had to update the firmware the first time we used the program and it took less than five minutes all up, although we did get a message at first telling us that we may have to restart the router in order for it to be recognised - we didn't have to.

Next page: More setup options, connecting a smartphone or wireless router, and our expert verdict >>

See also:

Group test: what's the best wireless router?

How to: Set up a 3G failover

How to build a better wireless network

How to: Set up a Wi-Fi router and home network

The Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless N Router is an affordable Wi-Fi router with excellent features.

The Linksys E2000 will select a default name for the wireless network (ours was SilverOak). If you don't want to go in and manually change any settings, then you can use this default SSID and its associated password, but you will have to create an Easy Setup Key. To do this all you have to do is insert a USB key when you are prompted (you'll have to use your own - we wish Linksys supplied one in the box), and the program will copy the wireless network's details to it automatically. To complete the setup, all you have to do (in theory) is plug it in to your laptop or desktop PC with a wireless adapter and wait for it autorun before telling it to connect to your Linksys router. In practice, we had to navigate to the USB drive's root directory and manually launch the 'Connect' application.

Linksys E2000: Cisco Connect

Linksys E2000: Cisco Connect

Adding wireless clients to your network is easy, although you may have to launch the Connect program manually if it doesn't autorun

To connect a smartphone, wireless printer or a gaming console, you'll have to type in the wireless network's credentials manually. Cisco Connect will display the SSID, password and security type (WPA, WPA2 or mixed WPA or WPA2) - don't forget the password is case sensitive so you'll need to type it in exactly as you see it on the screen.

We were able to connect the Nokia N8 phone to the wireless access point without any problems. The Linksys E2000 also allows users to connect to it as guests (the Cisco Connect software shows you the password for this), which is convenient if you have visitors and want to give them internet access but don't want them accessing the computers on your local area network.

Cisco Connect also allows you to set up parental controls for specific computers. You'll only be able to apply filters to computers that are already connected to the router, and you'll need to apply each filter to each computer (if you want to restrict more than one). This is a little cumbersome if you want to lock down the majority of your network. To block content, you'll have to enter specific URLs as the software does not support keyword filtering. If an attempt is made to access a flagged site, the router will block it. The block can be bypassed if the user knows the password. Interestingly, the parental filters are not available in the router's web interface, only in the Cisco Connect software. We think it would be more beneficial if it also included keyword filtering.

Linksys E2000: Cisco Connect

Linksys E2000: Cisco Connect

Parental control is limited to website address filtering

Next page: Our expert verdict >>

See also:

Group test: what's the best wireless router?

How to: Set up a 3G failover

How to build a better wireless network

How to: Set up a Wi-Fi router and home network

Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless N Router: Specs

  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • dual-band operation
  • 3 antennae
  • 4-port Gigabit ethernet switch
  • firewall
  • NAT
  • DHCP
  • port-forwarding
  • VPN pass-through
  • DynamicDNS
  • QoS
  • URL filtering
  • WEP/WPA/WPA2
  • up to 128bit encryption
  • type CAT 5e cabling
  • 12-month warranty
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • dual-band operation
  • 3 antennae
  • 4-port Gigabit ethernet switch
  • firewall
  • NAT
  • DHCP
  • port-forwarding
  • VPN pass-through
  • DynamicDNS
  • QoS
  • URL filtering
  • WEP/WPA/WPA2
  • up to 128bit encryption
  • type CAT 5e cabling
  • 12-month warranty

OUR VERDICT

In addition to dual-band Wi-Fi and Gigabit ethernet, the Linksys E2000 has all the features you'd expect of a modern wireless router: a built-in firewall, QoS, port-forwarding, DynamicDNS support and VPN passthrough support. It performed very well in our tests and it was rock-solid and reliable. For £64, it's hard to go wrong with this router, and we recommend it not only for sharing a broadband connection, but also for tasks such as media streaming and online gaming. The only thing that would make it better is support for simultaneous dual-band networking, but if you want that feature then you can look at the E3000 instead, which costs £50 more.

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