With networking vendor, Cisco Systems, recently refreshing its Linksys E-series range of wireless home routers, ARN had the opportunity for a hands-on experience with the new E1500 wireless-N router with SpeedBoost.
The first thing I noticed with the E1500 is its stylish and compact design, which does not make it look like a typical router at all.
The myriad of indicator lights that normally adorn routers have been done away with, and the antenna has been hidden inside the router’s flat case design.
While routers used to be bulky and ugly chunks of plastic most users hid away behind a desk or under a table, the sleek exterior of the E1500 will ensure that you want to have it displayed out in the open.
The E1500 also comes packed with fast wireless transfer rates of up to up to 300 Mbps, as well as 10/100 Mbps Ethernet ports for wired devices.
There are four LAN ports on the router, as well as one WAN port for connecting to sources such as a cable modem.
As the E1500 is positioned squarely for basic home networking, the set up process has been simplified thanks to the bundled Cisco Connect software that comes on a CD.
While the setup process of a router in the past was fraught with unintuitive web interfaces, Cisco Connect walks the user through the steps of connecting the router to the modem and how to configure the system, whether it is creating a wireless network SSID name, securing the wireless connection through encryption, or choosing a password.
If users want to make use of more advanced features, such as creating a VPN connection or setting up FTP access, the Cisco Connect software can be bypassed and the web interface can be used instead.
The only potential downsides to the E1500 is that none of the ports on the router are high speed Gigabit Ethernet, and there is no USB port for extended capabilities either, though users looking for these features can find them on the higher end E3200 and E4200 models.
The E1500 is available for $119.95 from October, and is distributed by Express Online, Multimedia Technology and Ingram Micro.
Verdict: Stylish, fast, and easy to set up, the Linksys E1500 Wireless-N Router with SpeedBoost makes networking a painless process for home users.