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Features

Although the EA series will be "App Enabled", that enabling isn't going to happen until later this year. The slide below from the Cisco presentation I received shows the rough timeline. I cover in more detail how the EA series is supposed to evolve in this SmallCloudBuilder article.

EA series feature schedule

EA series feature schedule

For now, the EA3500's feature set is the same as the E4200 v2. Here's a quick summary:

Routing

  • DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP, Bridge WAN types
  • Built-in Dynamic DNS clients for TZO and DynDNS
  • Static and dynamic routing
  • SPI firewall disable (separate for IPv4 and IPv6), multicast, WAN ping and IDENT filtering, NAT redirection for IPv4 only
  • IPsec, PPTP and L2TP VPN passthrough (enabled by default)
  • Single port forwarding and Port Range forwarding with and without triggered ports. Single port forwards can specify external and internal ports
  • IPv6 port range forwarding
  • HTTPS admin access, remote management (HTTP / HTTPS) enable with IP range restriction and port setting
  • SIP ALG enable (default disable), UPnP enable and controls (default enable)
  • Incoming, outgoing, Security and DHCP onscreen log access with support for Linksys Logviewer recording
  • Parental Controls for 5 computers with eight blocked sites and "school night"/"weekend" internet access blocking
  • 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.
  • Ping / Traceroute diagnostics
  • Online upgrade option with automatic upgrade option (default enable)

Wireless

  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup (default) and Manual setup modes
  • Separate radio controls for 2.4 and 5 GHz radios
  • Auto channel set (default)
  • Home (PSK) and Enterprise (RADIUS) WPA/WPA2 modes
  • Individual radio disables, but no scheduled on/off
  • WMM (Wireless MultiMedia) (enabled by default)
  • Deny/allow MAC address filter
  • Guest access for 5-50 users (increments of five) for 2.4 GHz band only, no security

Sharing

  • SMB/CIFS file sharing, FTP access from attached FAT, NTFS or HFS+ formatted drive
  • USB printer/scanner sharing

Printer sharing has apparently been around since the original E4200, but I seem to have missed it. That's probably because it works only on computers where you have installed the Cisco Connect software, which I never do. So I can't vouch for how well printer sharing works. You may gain some insight, however, from this Cisco Home Community thread.

Access Restrictions are still very limited, with only rudimentary "Parental Controls" supported as shown in the screenshot below. This is the same complaint as I had with the E4200 v2 and a surprising weakness for high-end router.

Linksys EA3500 Access Restrictions

Linksys EA3500 Access Restrictions

Wireless features are the same as I found in the E4200 v2. Like the E4200 v2, the EA3500 defaults to Auto (20 or 40 MHz) bandwidth mode for both the 2.4 and 5 GHz band radios. This runs contrary to my understanding of the specs, so this time, I checked with the Wi-Fi Alliance to see if this meets Certification requirements.

I learned that the draft-N test plan, which was in effect from June 2007 to Sept 2009, 20 MHz channels were required "out of box" (OOB) in the 2.4 GHz band. In the current spec, however, the test plan requirements don't specify 20 or 40 MHz channel width OOB. So vendors may implement 40 MHz channels OOB in 2.4 GHz. But any devices doing this "must certify coexistence mechanisms to ensure good neighbor behavior", according to the Alliance

I sure hope those "coexistence mechanisms" work, because I have no way to check them. I'd rather see routers default to 20 MHz mode in the 2.4 GHz band, though, and will continue to note products that do not. If you want to ensure good neighbor behavior, you should change the 2.4 GHz radio to 20 MHz only mode manually.

While you're at it, you'll probably want to assign different SSIDs to each radio, because they both default to cisco. With the default, you won't be able to control which band dual-band devices use.

For other feature commentary, hit the E4200 v2 review.

Storage

Storage features are mostly unchanged from the E4200 v2, with one exception noted below. SMB file sharing and FTP are supported from FAT32, NTFS, and HFS+ formatted drives. There still is no support for iTunes serving, Torrent downloading, AFP or Time Machine backups.

I also noticed that the TwonkyMedia media server is gone. Media serving is supported only on the top-end EA4500.

Storage settings

Storage settings

I tested Windows filecopy performance for both FAT and NTFS formatted drives, using our standard Iomega UltraMax Pro drive in RAID 0 and transferring the same ripped DVD folder used in our standard NAS testing. Table 2 compares the EA3500 and E4200 V2, showing essentially the same performance. Everything except writes to a FAT32 formatted drive measured over 20 MB/s!

  EA3500 E4200V2
FAT32 Write 8.0 9.8
FAT32 Read 19.7 21.6
NTFS Write 17 20.1
NTFS Read 20.3 22.2
Table 2: EA3500 and E4200V2 Windows filecopy performance

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