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Wireless Reviews

Introduction

Updated 10/21/2010: Corrected component info and routing performance comment

Cisco Linksys E3000 High Performance Wireless-N Router

At a Glance
Product Cisco Linksys E3000 High Performance Wireless-N Router (E3000)
Summary Broadcom-based dual-band, dual-radio N router with Gigabit ports and USB drive sharing and media serving. Rebrand of Linksys WRT610N V2
Pros • > 200 Mbps routing throughput
• Gigabit ports
• Bundled easy setup utility that works well
Cons • Jumbo frames not supported
• No guest WLANs
• No repeating / bridging
• Slow USB storage sharing

By now, you should know that Cisco has thrown out its entire consumer wireless line and replaced it with Valet and Linksys branded offerings. As I detailed in Inside Story: Linksys E-series and Cisco Valet, the "new" routers are all rebrands of the old line.

In the E3000's case, it's a WRT610N V2 with a new name and a bundle of the Cisco Connect (details here) easy installation software (on CD, not flash drive) thown in.

For those completely unfamiliar with Cisco's top-of-line N router, it's a dual-band simultaneous (two radio) design with Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB port that can share a USB drive via SMB / CIFS or FTP. The USB Storage feature can also serve up media files via a UPnP AV (but not DLNA) media server.

Internal Details

The Inside Story article linked above has all the details you need on the innards of all Cisco's new consumer offerings. I'm including the board shot below in Figure 1, which proves my WRT610NV2 clone point.

Linksys E3000 (and WRT610 V2) board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 1: Linksys E3000 (and WRT610 V2) board
Updated 10/21/2010: Corrected component info

The component summary is:

- CPU: Broadcom BCM4705 Broadcom BCM4718 @ 480 MHz
- Switch: Broadcom BCM53115
- RAM: 64 MB
- Flash: 8 MB
- 5 GHz: In BCM4718
- 2.4GHz: Broadcom BCM4322 Intensi-fi Single-Chip 802.11n Transceiver

Features

The E3000's feature set is essentially unchanged from the WRT610N and the WRT600N before it. You can find admin interface screenshots in the WRT600N review, or just download the user manual. Here's a feature summary if you're really in a hurry:

  • DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP, Telstra Cable WAN types
  • Built-in Dynamic DNS clients for TZO and DynDNS
  • Static and dynamic routing
  • SPI firewall disable, multicast, WAN ping and IDENT filtering and Proxy, Java, ActiveX and Cooking blocking
  • IPsec, PPTP and L2TP VPN passthrough (enabled by default)
  • Single port forwarding and Port Range forwarding and triggered ports
  • HTTPS admin access, remote management (HTTP / HTTPS) enable with IP range restriction and port setting
  • Incoming, outgoing, Security and DHCP onscreen log access with support for Linksys Logviewer recording
  • Access Restrictions with 10 deny or allow-based policies, each with its own list of clients and day/time schedule
  • Uplink (LAN to WAN) only QoS with High, Medium, Normal or Low Priority that can be applied to specific applications (divided into Application, Online Game and Voice Device groups), physical switch ports or specific MAC addresses.
  • WMM (Wireless MultiMedia) (enabled by default)
  • SMB/CIFS file sharing, FTP access and UPnP AV media serving from attached FAT-formatted drive

The last bullet bears a bit more coverage. The Storage features are described pretty well in the WRT600N review, so I won't repeat them here. The one difference I found is that you can now set the Windows Workgroup name (default is Workgroup). I still could not get an NTFS-formatted drive to work and the Storage > Disk tab even reported its File System as *. I was able to mount, read and write to a FAT-formatted drive and got 5.7 MB/s write and 4.8 MB/s read.

Moving on to wireless features, the E3000 defaults to 20 MHz bandwidth mode for both the 2.4 and 5 GHz band radios and to using Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) for automatic wireless setup. If you switch to manual mode, you'll see the settings shown in Figure 2.

E3000 Wireless settings
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: E3000 Wireless settings

Other 5 GHz radio modes are A-only, N-only and disabled, while the G radio modes are B/G only, B only, G only, N only and disabled. Figure 2 shows the Advanced wireless settings, which include Transmission rate and power control.

E3000 Advanced Wireless settings
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: E3000 Advanced Wireless settings

Cisco hasn't changed its consumer router wireless feature set in some time and it has fallen behind the competition. For a top-of-line router, the E3000 is missing key features that its competition has on much less expensive offerings, including guest network support, WDS bridging / repeating, AP mode and even something as simple as scheduled wireless enable / disable.

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