New smart Wi-Fi Router review part three — Linksys EA4500

EA4500box.jpg

This post will wrap up my three-part series the latest offerings from Cisco / Linksys. If you want to check them out, part one looks at the Linksys EA2700part two looks at the Linksys EA3500, and today we’ll take a boo at the Linksys EA4500, the top of the line entry in the EA-Series.


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/


It’s the same, with one major difference
The Linksys EA4500 is essentially the same unit as the EA3500, with one big difference; this router is Dual Band at 450 + 450 Mbps. That improvement, and a few other tweaks, allows the EA4500 to be DLNA Certified — which means that it’s an awesome router to drive the backbone of your multimedia and gaming network.

But does it work?
Using the same setup software as the previous entries, the EA4700 was also a dream to configure and add to my network.

An added bonus to both the EA3500 and the EA4500 is the inclusion of a USB port for an external drive or printer. On the EA4500, When you combine the USB port with the DLNA Media Server certification, you get an inexpensive home media server.

Basically it means that you can just plug in any USB drive containing your media, and your DLNA enabled computer, TV or Set Top Box will automatically be able to find and view that content.

And it worked without a hitch. I was able to stream video from a USB thumb drive through the router to my DLNA TV and didn’t have any network issues I could see.

 

Overall?
Depending on your need, I’d easily recommend any of these three routers for almost any home networking situation.

I’ve included the handy product comparison chart below. It’ll easily let you look at the three unit’s I’ve evaluated to compare and contrast the differences.

And if you want more information, Cisco / Linksys have produced a combined product manual pdf for all three — which you can check out here.

I found their setup and installation among the easiest I’ve encountered over the many (far too many) router installations I’ve done. When I need to replace or extend my existing home network, you can bet I’ll be looking at these units first.


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