Enter the new entry level Linksys E1500 Wireless-N Router with SpeedBoost.
How is that new design?
Sharing many of the same design ques we saw in the E4200 the E1500 looks sleek. It features a new totally flat black color, completely flat shape, internal-antenna design and more noticeably the removal of any sign those annoying status lights. Instead, just like the E4200, it has only one light on top in the shape of the Cisco logo. This light is a solid soft white when everything is working as normal and blinks when the router boots up or something is not working correctly.
To me the new shape seems a bit odd. Where the E4200 is wider than it is long measuring 9"wide by 6" deep the E1500 is longer and sleeker measuring just under 6" wide by 7" deep. Neither of the routers take up much room and both are a far site better looking than most the competition so its not a major factor
E1500 Features and Specifications
The E1500 is your basic entry level Wireless-N router. The router doesn't have dual-band or Gigabit Ethernet. It does however offer Cisco's SpeedBoost feature, which is designed to provide extra wireless coverage. You also get the Linksys Guest Networking features. A feature that allows you to set up a separate wireless network for, you guessed it, guests. Their connection will be isolated from your main network so they will have access to the Internet but not your personal local network with shared files or devices.
- Technology: Wireless-N with SpeedBoost
- Bands: 2.4 GHz
- Standards: IEEE 802.11b/g/n
- Security: Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2), WEP, Wireless MAC Filtering
- AntennasTransmit / receive: 2 x 3 Internal
- Ethernet ports x speed: 4 x 10/100 (All Ethernet ports support auto-crossover (MDI/MDI-X) -- no need for crossover cables )
Step and Cisco's noted ease of use
As with all of Cisco's Linksys routers setup is a breeze. The E1500 features the standard Cisco Connect software which honestly has to be some of the easiest router software we've ever used. You also get the typical Wi-Fi Protected Setup button that initiates a 2-minute time window for hooking up your WPS-enabled wireless devices to the wireless network. The really couldn't make things and easier!
The one complaint we had about the setup is that I personally never use the software and instead opt for manually making my changes. The E1500 was persistent on insisting that I use the Cisco Connect software. For example, by skipping the software setup CD and browsing to the setup page a Web page appeared telling me to run the CD first. I thought this was a bit annoying but hardly anything that would deter me from using the router. The rest of the interface hasn't changed much and will look pretty familiar to anyone that has dealt with Cisco/Linksys routers in the past.
Performance, coverage and our conclusion
Being an entry level device doesn't mean sacrificing performance. During testing the router performed quit well. Range and throughput performance seem to be pretty much inline with what you'd expect from a router at this price point. For a standard single story 3-4 bedroom house you should expect pretty decent coverage. Anything beyond that and you might see some drop off.
The only major downsides we really found were the lack of Gigabyte Ethernet. More and more people are moving to sharing files and multimedia across more devices in their homes and those people will need the extra overhead that a Gigabyte network adds. For those homes that aren't going to be doing a lot of file transfers the router will be a nice addition.