Review: Cisco Linksys EA4500

Cisco Linksys EA4500 is a joy to use and I would not hesitate to put it as showpiece or centre of attraction in a typical living room set-up as seen on the picture above. Network management has become simpler. You can be in control, at home, at work or even at play. By enabling access via a common web interface, http://ciscoconnectcloud.com – you can manage your router via a laptop, on your IOS or Android device.

he focus to simplify network managementkdid not come at the cost of security. Cisco Linksys EA4500 implements SPI Firewall. SPI Firewall keeps track of the state of network connections travelling across it.  This feature protects your Internet connection against Internet threats and Denial of Service (DoS). In technical terms, SPI Firewall (any firewall that performs stateful packet inspection (SPI) or stateful inspection) is a firewall that keeps track of the state of network connections (such as TCP streams, UDP communication) traveling across it. The firewall is programmed to distinguish legitimate packets for different types of connections. Only packets matching a known active connection will be allowed by the firewall; others will be rejected. (source:Wikipedia)

The Cisco Linksys EA4500 is dual band router, offering wireless connections at 2.4GHz and 5GHz simultaneously. Each band of the router offer speed of up to 450Mbps. At 2.4GHz, there is an additional option for a Guest wireless access mode. So essentially, it is possible to broadcast three separate SSIDS from the Cisco Linksys EA4500. However, the recommended operating mode would be to have a single SSID that is the same for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz network, running on mixed-mode % various wireless standards like 802.11b, 802.1qg and 802.11n).

for my own testing, since all the devices I have at home can connect at 802.11n speeds, I set my it to run specifically on 802.11n connectivity. for everyone else out there, please use the general mixed-mode as a recommended speed if you have older wireless devices at home.

At the rear of the Cisco Linksys EA4500, the essential connections available are; four Ethernet ports running at 1Gbps, a WAN port also running at 1Gbps and a USB 2.0 port. The USB port can be used to connect a printer or a storage device. In my case, I have connected my external 500GB hard disk, which essentially turned my Cisco Linksys EA4500 into a NAEA4500 into a NAS! You can add your own NAS devices too by connecting using the 1Gbps Ethernet port.

If you are concerned about who gets to access the storage content of the storage device that is connected to the USB port, fret not. The Cisco Linksys EA4500 provide two ways of sharing data on the drive. The simpler way where everybody in the network has the same level of access tokthe entire drive, or a more advanced way in which you can create accounts with access restriction. The advanced way to access the drive is accessible via the Cisco Cloud Connect portal. Trust me, it is simple to set this up too, despite me saying “advanced way”.

With regards to Cisco Connect Cloud, there will always be people who clamor for lesser of cloud based controls and privacy concerns. Their concerns are well-founded though – by opening up your router to the internet, you are essentially off%ring hackers another way into your network. And what of privacy – there were concerns that Cisco will track your internet activities. My responses for this are really to recommend that you use a strong password that you keep only in your head and to be also aware that Cisco have updated its Terms and Conditions in that it does not actively or passively keep track of your internet activities.

 

The above two images show how the Cisco Connect Cloud look like. After login, you will be able to see everything. Yes I know you can see my Guest Access password. More importantly, this page gives you a single view of what is happening on your network. And yes you view this information via your iPhone and Android devices too!

If you look at the bottom right of the image above, you can see Media Prioritization. Basically, more bandwidth will be devoted to either a select choice of applications or computers on your network. In my case, I have opted to give more bandwidth to Skype as that is my most used application and I do not want anything to go wrong whenever I am either in a Skype-out call or video conference.

 

The Speed Test option enables you to find out how fast your internet speed is at any point of time. The last time I used this function was at night. At that time, the download speed was a miserable 1.5Mbps so this test shows off a better result and a true indication of the speed which I paid for – 10Mbps cable connection. Please take note that the speed test function is not available for mobile apps.

By using Windows Media Player on my computer or using a DLNA-aware application on my Android device, I was able to view video content that was shared from the storage device connected to the Cisco Linksys EA4500. Viewing the video content, in high definition was pretty smooth.

To conclude this review, I like that the Cisco Linksys EA4500 offers the convenience of web access for network management. The high bandwidth definitely helped a lot – like I wrote above, since I have set the router to operate at only 802.11n speed, I am at least assured that the transfer of data from router and between the computers on the network is smooth. For power users who crave for greater control of their router, they may be disappointed that the router lacks the ability for minute, detailed advanced page where they can further customize their router settings.

At publishing time, the Cisco Linksys EA4500 has a recommended retail price of $299 and are available at the following retailers -

Challenger Superstore, Harvey Norman, Best Denki, Courts, South Asia Computer, Inforcom Technologies, Fuwell, A Genuine Technology, Cybermind Computer House, Cyberactive Technology, Bizgram, Videopro, Gain City, Parisilk, Palm Venture and
Mustafa

Cisco Linksys EA4500

Technical Specifications

Model:
Linksys EA4500
Technology:
Wireless-N
Bands:
Simultaneous 2.4 GHz and 5 Ghz
Transmit / Receive:
3 x 3 (6 Internal)
USB Port:
Yes (shared storage, virtual USB and media server)
Ports x Speed:
4 x Gigabit
IPv6 Support:
Native IPv6 and 6rd support
Cisco Connect Software:
Yes, App Enabled
Setup:
Cisco Connect CD Install
Warranty:
2 year hardware limited warranty
OS Compatibility:
Windows, Mac
Minimum System Requirements:
  • PC: Wi-Fi enabled PC with CD or DVD drive, running Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP1 or later or Windows 7
  • Mac: Wi-Fi enabled Mac with CD or DVD drive, running OS X Leopard 10.5 or Snow Leopard 10.6
Internet Browser Requirements:
Internet Explorer 7, Safari 4, or Firefox 3 or higher for optional browser-based configuration
Package Contents:
  • Linksys EA4500 Dual-Band N900 Router with Gigabit
  • Quick start guide
  • CD-ROM with setup software and resources
  • Ethernet cable
  • Power adapter

Product specifications and images of Cisco Linksys EA4500 Rear port view and top view from Cisco Linksys.

Subscribe / Share

Article by Mohd Hisham

Focus on technology, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Dementia and supporting several other social causes. Write mostly about the independent Arts scene in Singapore as well as the general works as organized by the various government bodies. Has a fascination with photography and indulge in a little mix of video editing. Very keen on living the social media experience without going over the top.
Mohd Hisham tagged this post with: , , , , , , , , , , Read 400 articles by

Leave a Reply

Follow me on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: