New smart Wi-Fi Router review part two — Linksys EA3500

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This week we’re going to look at the second router in my three-part series on the latest offering from Cisco / Linksys, and for this post we’re going to step it up a notch with the Linksys EA3500, targeted at folks with slightly more sophisticated network needs.

If you haven’t read my previous post on the EA2700, take a moment and do that now. It’ll give you a good framework to build upon, because that’s what Linksys has done with this router series and the EA3500 in particular; taken everything that’s great about the EA2700 and made it better while adding a few new features, at a slightly different price point, of course.


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: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/07/freeing-your-router-from-ciscos-anti-porn-pro-copyright-cloud-service/

Further Update: Cisco changes it’s mind: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2012/07/cisco-backpedals-after-uproar-drops-cloud-from-default-router-setting/


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Still drop dead awesome
Another member of the App Enabled family (the iOS apps were released this week in Canada), the EA3500 improves upon the EA2700 by:

  • Increasing the base speeds. The EA3500, like the EA2700 is a dual-band unit, but in this case Linksys has increased the speed of the second band by 150Mbps (300 + 450 improved over 300 + 300).
  • Adding SpeedBoost, which is “higher quality antenna technology helps to maintain high speeds across greater distances throughout your home for maximum wireless coverage and in-home mobility.”
  • Adding a single USB port for which lets you add storage devices and printers to your network to share files or print wirelessly throughout your home.
  • Added tech to support your home entertainment system by building in an improved Quality of Service (QoS) technology which will prioritise latency-sensitive traffic that can help you to stream media, place a phone call or play multiplayer games without interruptions.

Who’s it for?
If you want a router for your home networks that’s easy to setup and manage, *and* you don’t want to take advantage of powerful hardware for streaming, and other bandwidth intensive tasks, then the Linksys EA3500 is an excellent choice.

In many ways, it reminds me of the simple, appliance-like functionality that my Apple Airport Extreme router provides. The Linksys EA3500 is simple and it works. Just like an appliance. Which is good, because frankly, I don’t want to spend time with my router. I just want it to stay out of the way as I do what I do on my network and the Internet. The Linksys EA3500 does just that.
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