13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
EA4500 - slow and poorly designed software
, 31 July 2012
This review is from: Linksys EA4500 Dual Band N900 Smart WiFi Router with Gigabit Ethernet and USB Port (Accessory)
Firstly I'd like people to know I'm a very technical guy and have been working with all kinds of home and business networks, firewalls, wireless, ADSL and ISDN devices for years.
I bought the EA4500
a) because of the two separate Receiver / transmit modules so you can use both 5GHz and 2.4GHz at the same time.
b) the promise of Cisco Connect Cloud - and the proposed ability to integrate into home devices. I'm keen to manage my home as a virtual device pool, the PC's, iDevices, Denon 3310, Media Centre etc
c) strong security
d) expected high freatures - inbound rules, port forwarding etc
e) ability to remote RDP from the internet to my personal PC.
f) the USB NAS server - so I can turn off my Media PC most of the time
This has been a horid experience so far. What I knew through working with devices before has needed to be reconsidered because of the terminology and lack of forethought by Linksys - sorry, I should say Cisco.
The wireless works okay, not as well as I'd expect, probably a third of the speed. Good reception, doesn't drop, but not that fast - I've tried the iPad2, Samsung PC, Dell PC, iPhone - all stable but slow wireless
GB networking works well - consistent high speed. Hurrah!
Cisco online support - I've realy needed them. Their knowledge is limited.
The NAS server works but is pretty flakey. Set it to scan Music for DNLA and it misses files and directories out. Sometimes I've needed to unplug and replug my external Seagate 2TB drive for it to be recognised. When it's scanning the external drive the overall router performance is poor - yet I thought the 1.2GHz processor was supposed to have fixed that over the EA4200?
Bridge to me means a layer 2 bridge. Not in Cisco parlance, as this connection mode is used to add in additional network cables to a second online backup modem/router.
I did try it and although it worked the performance was diabolical. After contact with Cisco online support I was advised to use use Automatic DHCP - and if there were the same IP's either side of the router it would layer 2 bridge automatically and keep all the features. This is actually not true - the router assigns you a random 172.x.x.x internal network. Cisco support did not know this and I spent hours trying to get this to work and eventually went back to different IP's either side of the router. 10.1.1.1 LAN - 192.168.1.2 WAN talking to my Sky ADSL modem on 192.168.1.1.
Both IP ranges are private addresses ( no choice here ) and therefore you need to somehow setup routing from the 'real' internet, however, the EA4500 does not support RIP and will not accept inbound connections to the WAN interface - scuppered there..
So to get my desired config Cisco have now told me to disable DHCP on the EA4500, and move the WAN cable from my sky router to the LAN side - i.e. Essentially I've lost the the WAN port as an additional port to plug my devices into and any routing.
So 4 devices - Sky HD box, Media PC, Denon, and extension to a GB switch for PC's in the study over GB is the setup. I'd only therefore have 3 usable LAN ports now the WAN cable has moved and the Media PC has to be on wireless - at slow speed. D'Oh!
Using this config I've also lost any firewall rules, media control, and the very thing Cisco drove me to using - Cisco Cloud Connect.
As this device will not route inbound rules I cannot setup RDP connections through the Cisco device, they are now controlled only by rules on the Sky router - exactly as it was before...
Cisco Cloud Connect at this time is very slow to login and use. Even if you login to the local LAN IP it redirects to an Internet page which takes forever to load. You also have to create a cloud login to be able to configure the device. Yes, you have some features available whilst you're out on the Internet, however with a simple Dynamic DNS entry to locate your router you can have exactly the same without CCC.
Cisco Cloud Connect is not an open standards framework which will help us integrate devices, it's a simple network tool with simple features which you shouldn't need to setup more than once, so what really is the point - you actually lose a lot of functionality by using it over more traditional localised firmwares from other manufacturers.
All in all this device is fairly average, no rubbish is a better description. I had a simple Linksys 54g router a few years back and it was flakey. This EA4500 is not fit for the market yet.
My advice is let Cisco sort themselves out a decent firmware in 6-9 months after all the customer complaints before buying this hardware - I'd suggest there are better and cheaper alternatives. They are trying to dominate an as yet undefined 'Home Cloud' market using their brand name with a load of marketing hype and not delivering the goods...
This is the first time I've felt strongly enough to take the time to write a review. I hope you find it useful before taking this path! If you'd like a cheap second hand EA4500 let me know.
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