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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