Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review: Linksys E4200v2 Wireless Dual Band N900 Router

We’ve previously reviewed several Linksys routers including the predecessor to the E4200v2 the Linksys E4200. If you've read that review you'll know we love the updated looks and styling of the Linksys line. You'll also notice that we loved the performance numbers the first generation E4200 reached. So obviously we were excited to get our hands on the new E4200v2.

Just to be clear I am only providing a basic review on the features. I do not have the tools available at this time to provide info about testing real-life performance of the router or to test the maximum theoretical speeds!

Linksys E4200v2 Specifications:
  • Wireless-N Compatible with Wireless-A (802.11a) Wireless-B (802.11b) and Wireless-G (802.11g) standards, IEEE 802.3/3u/3ab 
  • Simultaneous 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
  • Antennas: 6 Internal 3 x 3 on 2.4 and 5 GHz (Up to 450 + 450 Mbps)
  • 4 x Gigabit Ethernet Ports
  • All Ports support Gigabit speed and Auto-Crossover (MDI/MDI-X) - no need for crossover cables
  • USB Shared Storage Port, Virtual USB, Built-In UPnP AV Media and Printer Server
  • IPv6 Enabled

So whats new?

On the outside nothing really changes. You get the same sleek design we saw in the first E4200. They continue with many of the features we liked like the internal antenna design and optional lights. Yes I mention the lighting again only because I love having the ability to get rid of those annoying flashes! Sitting side by side the two routers look almost identical. One thing most users will notice that is new is the absence of the big bulky power pack that most users disliked. After several complaints Cisco opted to change to more traditional power adapter in both the newer E4200 and the E4200v2.

It's really the new chips and what we find on the inside that counts!

According to the information I've found the Linksys E4200 uses Broadcom SoC BCM4718 chips that supported 2 streams @ 300 mbits/s on the 2.4ghz frequency. The new E4200v2 uses a new Marvell chipset that supports 3 streams @ 450 mbit/s on the 2.4ghz frequency. The new chips offer faster overall speeds, support for IPV6, WAN L2TP, and PPTP protocols.

Cisco also updated the virtual USB feature making it easier to add printers, storage and other USB devices to the network which with the added 1.2 GHz processor allows users to experience faster download speeds from their USB connected storage device.

Included in all Linksys E-Series routers is Cisco Connect software, which provides for simple setup and network management for Macs and PCs. For smartphone users you can also use the new Cisco Connect Express mobile App. The app allows quick access to common Cisco Connect features and your network information.

Speed and Performance?

Currently there are a few 450Mbps wireless routers on the market, all boasting to be the fastest. The truth is most users won't be able to take advantage of those speeds, making the argument a pretty moot point.

Why you ask do we say that? Well the answer  is simple:

Wireless users need a 450Mbps client adapter in order to realize the promised 450Mbps throughput speeds. The problem is most computers with integrated wireless are only rated at 150Mbps and most adapters available on the market are only rated at 300Mbps.

Sadly this means that when connecting to a 450Mbps router, a users computer's connection speed will be bottlenecked at the fastest theoretical rate their adapter provides. In layman's terms you are only going to get as much out of this router as your computer can support. If your wireless adapter is only capable of 150Mbps you aren't going to get anywhere near the fastest possible speed. Unfortunately we did not have a high speed 450Mbps adapter available during our review to see if the Linksys E4200v2 actually achieved those speeds.

Conclusion - is it worth the upgrade?

You might be asking yourself if it will actually be worth upgrading or not. Well it would be hard to give you an honest answer one way or the other. If you are currently running an older router or something slower then yes it may be. If you are already running the E4200 or another similar high performance router then probably not. If, like many, you just want the latest, greatest, best performing router on the market. Then by all means this might just be it!

In my personal opinion the changes Cisco made are nice and I did see some improvement. I didn't however see anything that would warrant an upgrade from anything I'm using now. The lack of availability of 450Mbps adapters really stifles the desire to spend the extra cash.Hopefully with the influx of faster routers well soon see more high speed adapters hitting the market. Once that happens the E4200v2 will definitely be a contender and likely make most people's wish list.

For those of you wanting to get your hands on the Linksys E4200v2 it has an MSRP of $199 and can be bought at, MacMall or


  1. Anonymous6:47 AM

    I went thru 2 E4200's and had to send them back as they were slower than my old 1st generation Time Capsule. I spent dozens of hours with Cisco support(script readers) to no avail. Cisco did refund my money after several months of trying to get it working.

  2. That's unfortunate. I have two of them, one running in the office and one setup to run a home theater system at home and both run flawlessly.

  3. Anonymous11:12 PM

    I was also able to get it working in about two minutes and noticed a faster response when streaming videos on my 59inch Samsung Plasma.

  4. Anonymous7:45 AM

    what is the diffrence between the E4200 AND THE E4200V2???

    1. I pointed out all of the major differences in the review. It really only comes down to a slight faster chip that provides 450 mbit/s on both frequencies as apposed to the first Gen E4200 which only had 300 mbit/s on the 2.4ghz frequency .

      In some of the reviews I read on the E4200 people claimed having issues stating that they were fairly buggy. Something I haven't seen with the V2.

  5. Anonymous6:59 PM

    This thing is nice.

  6. Joseph6:50 PM

    I've been using linksys for quite some time now!


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