Linksys E1200 Wireless Router Review

The Linksys E1200 Router is from the new line of switches and routers recently introduced by Cisco-Linksys, positioned at the entry level. It offers single band Wireless b/g/n performance suited for everyday activities, such as surfing the web, emailing, and printing wirelessly, in standard sized homes, apartments, and dorms.

As an entry-level product, the router comes with the Cisco Connect utility that makes setup fast and easy for routine installations. As well, you can access advanced setup functions either via Cisco Connect or through a web browser. So the burning question ... how does this router perform? We'll tell you what we found, right after a look at the features and specs.

  • IEEE 802.11 b/g/n, up to 300 Mbps
  • Single band 2.4 GHz
  • 1x10/100 Mb WAN, 4x10/100 Mb LAN ports
  • Up to 128-bit encryption
  • Advanced Security, including WEP, WPA/WPA2 and SPI firewall
  • Broad compatibility, works seamlessly with all b/g/n Wi-Fi devices
  • MIMO antenna array (internal) for expanded coverage and reliability
  • Cisco Connect software provides quick 3-step setup, parental controls (devices, time of day access control, and up to 8 specific site blocks), and guest access (separate SSID), as well as access to advanced settings
What We Liked:

Solid Performance: With the exception of some possible erratic behavior on the first day of use ... which we could not definitively source to the Linksys E1200, the router performed flawlessly. Signal was strong everywhere in our multi-level house, and in 2 full weeks of use, there was not a single dropped signal.

And unlike our FiOS Actiontec router, it was never necessary to reboot the Linksys to get it working. You can see from the specs that this is a single-band router and is not going to do the heavy lifting of streaming multiple HD audio/video feeds simultaneous with multiple online gaming sessions. For a basic wireless-N router, though, it's bulletproof.

Easy Setup: The included CD contained the Cisco Connect setup wizard that walked us through the entire connection process successfully. As well, you can access advanced router settings through a web browser window, which we did, to make any adjustments that might be needed. While the software warned that accessing the router's advanced settings could interfere with operation of the software, we did not experience any such difficulties.

Guest Access: We sometimes have visitors and really like the idea of providing Wi-Fi access without opening up our security totally to guests. Guest access lets you create a separate password protected network for guests to provide Internet (but not network) access.

What We Didn't Like:

No Manual on Disk: If one is having connection issues, and there is no manual on the CD, how in the world does one have a clue how to proceed? If you include a CD in the box with a setup wizard and several documents, why would you not include the user's manual on the CD? There was a link to the online user's manual, not much use if you can't get online with the product.

Activity LEDs on Rear Panel: Step one of any troubleshooting scenario is to observe indicator LEDs. This is a challenge when they are on the rear of the device. While it's true that not everyone likes blinking lights, the option of turning them off, as you can with the recently reviewed Linksys E1500 Switch, addresses this preference.

Glossy Case Attracts Crud: Fingerprints. Cat hair. Dust. In all their infinite cruddiness, are attracted to the case like a magnet. You have 3 choices here: keep it under the desk, dust it a lot, or learn not to mind crud on your router. While the case is an elegant, slim, streamlined design, the hi-gloss black finish works well only in cleanrooms or with people who wear gloves when handling it.

Our Verdict:

The Linksys E1200 router is a great entry level router for small to average sized dwellings and basic all around use. The E1200 offers solid performance, easy setup, and a very useful second SSID for guess access. We used it frequently over a period of 2 weeks and saw no signal outages, no limited network connectivity issues, and had no need to ever perform a reboot of the router. And despite its entry level specs, we saw no performance issues even streaming 1080p content on our Roku XD-S. We did find the failure to include the user's manual on the CD to be puzzling. As well, we would have preferred to see front panel activity LEDs with the option to dim the lights, as opposed to the less useful rear panel location. Still, these are minor detractions from overall product performance.


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