- Speed up to N450 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + AC1300 Mbps (5 GHz)
- SimpleTap Technology to add Wi-Fi and NFC-enabled devices to your network
- Advanced Beamforming technology improves Wi-Fi reception
- USB 3.0 port
Solid router, but too pricey. Not a fan of the firmware. 01/31/2013
* Appearance: The product itself is attractive and has the top-end build quality I'd expect from this brand.
* Installation: The CD-based installation process and browser-based firmware interface has a visually nice design..
* Router: I had a stronger / further signal range than I've ever gotten with the three or more routers I've previously owned while living at my present area. Many of my home devices are only 802.11g and this is the first router I've owned that gives "5/5 bars" everywhere in my apartment.
* Other features: USB printing service functions well, but it required installation of software onto the networked computers to access it. The Cisco driver creates a virtual USB hub to access the USB device(s) connected to the router. Also, network video/music sharing (DLNA) worked (though I only had 480p video stored; I tested streaming to XBOX360 over Wi-Fi with good results.)
* Installation: As a hobbyist/techie, I find mandatory software-guided installation for a router a bit irritating, and the lack of any kind of printed manual/guide in a $200 MSRP product almost insulting. Since that's merely personal preference (and maybe some trees were saved) I'm not deducting an egg.
* Other features: I got horrible transfer speeds (~60 kilobytes per second at best) when using an externally-powered USB 2.0 WD MyBook drive as the attached storage device. (Drive was tested, both with about 50% capacity, and after freshly formatting.) I feel the router menu should have offered more dynamic instruction (tips) on configuring USB devices. Printer sharing was practically a hidden feature in the USB devices menu. I had to install a Virtual USB driver onto my computers in order to see the printer. ## -1 Egg for this because this is enough to make me revert to using my previous router that does both USB-related functions better.
* Usability: I think the modular (widget style) interface is nice for intermediate users and individuals who are more adept with a smartphone than home networking, but it was honestly harder to navigate than any router I've configured in the last 12 years. I'm not entirely a luddite and I've been using smartphones, tablets, and even Windows 8 for a while now, but I like what I'm familiar with when it comes to networking equipment and router firmwares. I don't think this is a place where a dramatic UI transition was really necessary. I hope Linksys/Cisco will consider allowing installation of third-party firmware in the future, or perhaps add an optional "text mode" navigation menu that resembles the old style. ## -1 Egg: The main menu is not verbose enough to be out-of-the-box intuitive. Until I set this up, I haven't had to look at a manual or support site just to configure on-the-box features for a router since 2003.
* Other features - My previous $80 Belkin router had superior network printing service and network accessible storage. I did not have to install any Virtual USB driver on my computers with that configuration, and I was able to browse to the devices normally on my local network. I always felt that the 1 to 2 megabyte per second transfer speeds my old router achieved with the MyBook drive were weak, but I was only getting around 60kbytes/s with this router. I would like to have tested other external drives to verify the poor performance of the Linksys router, but neither my spare USB flash drive nor my self-powered WD MyPassport drive were recognized by this router (to be fair, they didn't work on the Belkin router either).
* Other thoughts - This is an expensive router, with more features than I could adequately test with what I own over three weeks. I've used a lot of routers in the past 12 years, but this is the first one that *really* needed a basic paper manual just to help someone like me get over one's expectations on the firmware management interface. Reducing the number of words in the navigation bar and reducing a traditional branching menu into a combination branched and tabbed interface MIGHT make it look prettier but it doesn't help user friendliness.
I plan to give the router another try in a couple months, as Linksys/Cisco are taking an active interest in addressing most complaints about the router. Even if they don't improve the interface, I would be psyched if this router's USB functions actually outperformed my old router. It would be worth it.
* Bottom line:
- The premium features are not well executed compared to other products I have personal experience with.
- The router and wireless access point are solid, but there's a learning curve with the firmware that (in my opinion) could be aided by a cheat-sheet user guide or basic manual, adding more tips to the interface, or providing an optional branching navigation.
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