New smart Wi-Fi Router review — Linksys EA2700


Since the last time I looked at home Routers, home net­work­ing has got­ten more com­plex. These days, folks are hook­ing up almost everything to their home net­work, either wired or wire­lessly: game con­soles, audio sys­tems, tab­lets, hand­held gam­ing devices… the list goes on. And older routers have occa­sion­ally been cranky when mix­ing brands and types — caus­ing more net­work head­aches.

That being said, home net­work­ing just got much easi­er with the recent intro­duc­tion of the new smart Wi-Fi router lineup from Link­sys.

Over the next few posts, I’ll be look­ing at three mem­bers of this linup — start­ing with the power­ful Link­sys EA2700.

Update: If you’ve got this router, you may want to read this post re: Cis­co’s forced Cloud ser­vice update and how to revert back to a pre­vi­ous ver­sion of router firm­ware:

Fur­ther Update: Cisco changes it’s mind:

I’m going to start by look­ing at a fea­ture that shows a lot of prom­ise in this product series. The Link­sys EA2700 is the low­est priced of the Link­sys EA lineup that is ‘App Enabled’ — a fea­ture and func­tion set that allows 3rd parties to devel­op hard­ware and soft­ware that work seam­lessly with these routers.

Accord­ing to Cisco/Linksys press mater­i­al, soon you’ll be see­ing com­put­ing devices and smart appli­ances (fridges, etc) that take advant­age of the App Enabled archi­tec­ture. This will allow con­sumers to con­trol their devices from any­where in the home, or, by using Cis­cos’s Con­nect Cloud ser­vice, lit­er­ally any­where in the world. I can­’t wait to try this stuff out!

You can expect to see Con­nect Cloud launch­ing later this year, and with it, a host of App Enabled products.

On to the router itself. Who’s it for?

So with three routers in this lineup, who would bene­fit from the EA2700 most. Well this unit is really designed to provide advanced per­form­ance for stream­ing video on tab­lets, gam­ing and file shar­ing. Accord­ing to the mar­ket­ing mater­i­al, it’s ideal for:

  • Net­work­ing lar­ger house­holds and home offices
  • Surf­ing the web, email­ing and print­ing wire­lessly
  • Con­nect­ing mul­tiple users and devices at high speed
  • Trans­fer­ring and down­load­ing lar­ger files
  • Adding stor­age, print­ers, or oth­er devices

And I agree! In my home test envir­on­ment, with mul­tiple wire­less devices and a rather extens­ive wired (Gig­abit) lay­out, the EA2700 worked like a champ — con­cur­rently stream­ing video from my loc­al stor­age, stream­ing music to my mobile device, copy­ing files to dif­fer­ent loc­a­tions, and down­load­ing Linux dis­tros without a hic­cup.

Adding it to your net­work­ing mix

Setup was a breeze, using the provided install­a­tion disk. This help­ful com­pany video pro­files the setup pro­cess.

Get­ting your hands dirty
Or, if you, like me, have a more com­plex net­work setup with maybe two routers, and if you’re not afraid of dig­ging into the arcane innards of net­work­ing, you can eas­ily cus­tom­ize and con­fig­ure the EA2700 from the browser. Though most com­mon set­tings and fea­tures can be man­aged through the com­puter applic­a­tion (or the free down­load­able mobile device app).

And as long as we’re deal­ing with ‘advanced’ sub­jects, here’s a brief list of some of the key fea­tures of the Link­sys EA2700:

  • High speed (up to 300 + 300 Mbps)
  • Exten­ded range with MIMO antenna array
  • Gig­abit Eth­er­net Ports for 10x faster wired speeds than Eth­er­net
  • Sim­ul­tan­eous dual-band to max­im­ize through­put and help avoid net­work inter­fer­ence
  • Cisco Con­nect Cloud (Avail­able sum­mer 2012)- Get any­where, any­time access to your home net­work from a browser or mobile device. Plus, optim­ize your online exper­i­ences with included apps.

Thumbs up!
There you have it. I really like the Link­sys EA2700 router. I love the simple ‘Guest Inter­net Access’ setup and man­age­ment fea­ture, among oth­ers. It’s a great entry-level first router that has quite a few advanced fea­tures. It’s also a great add-on or exten­sion for an exist­ing home net­work.

Up next, I take a look at the Link­sys EA3500… watch for it!

Oh, and if you have any thoughts or aspects about these routers you’d like me to touch on, let me know in the com­ments!

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Published by Brad Grier geek.hack