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EA2700

The EA2700 is the least expensive way to buy into Cisco's cloud-connected future. For $110 (MSRP) you get a simultaneous dual-band "N600" (300 Mbps maximum link rate on each radio) router with Gigabit ports (1 WAN / 4 switched LAN), but no USB port.

Specwise, the EA2700 lies between the discontinued E2500 and E3200. It lacks the USB port of the E3200, but has Gigabit ports vs. the E2500's 10/100. As Table 2 shows, however, its components have more in common with the E3200's. Note the EA2700 is the only Broadcom-based member of the new EA line, at least for now.

  E2500 EA2700 E3200
CPU Broadcom BCM5358U Broadcom BCM47186 Broadcom BCM47186
Switch In BCM5358U Broadcom BCM53125 Broadcom BCM53125
RAM 64 MB 64 MB 64 MB
Flash 8 MB 64 MB 16 MB
2.4 GHz Radio - In BCM5358U
- No power amps
- In BCM47186
- No power amps
- In BCM47186
- Microsemi LX 5535 2.4 GHz power amps (x2)
5 GHz radio - Broadcom BCM43236
- No power amps
- Broadcom BCM43236
- No power amps
- Broadcom BCM43236
- Microsemi LX 5530 5 GHz power amps (x2)
Table 2: E2500, EA2700, E3200 component comparison

Here's a shot of the EA2700 inside.

Linksys EA2700 inside

Linksys EA2700 inside

And a shot with the RF cans removed.

Linksys EA2700 board

Linksys EA2700 board

And a composite shot with closeups of the key components.

Linksys EA2700 board detail

Linksys EA2700 board detail

Finally, an inside shot of the E3200 for comparison

Linksys E3200 inside

Linksys E3200 inside

EA3500

The EA3500 is the least expensive way to get a USB port for drive and printer sharing on a Cisco cloud-connected router. Internal details and photos are over in the EA3500 review.

The short story is that the design is very much like the E4200v2 / E4500, with half the RAM and flash, a slower processor and two stream vs. three stream N on the 2.4 GHz radio.

EA4500

The top dog in the new Linksys lineup is the EA4500 at $200 MSRP. Cisco told me that the hardware is the same for the E4200v2 and the EA4500. But the discussion in this Forum thread indicates that Cisco has quietly changed the processor in the E4200v2.

There was a 1.2 GHz Marvell F6101AW in my original test unit, and current product has a 1.2 GHz F6W01A1E. I also opened up my EA4500 test sample and confirmed that the 1.2 GHz F6W01A1E is inside.

Updated 4/17/2012

One of my industry contacts helped me identify this mystery Marvell processor as a member of the ARMADA 300 family. The base part number is 88F6W01. Other members of this family include the 88F6282 and 88F6283. The key difference for the F6W01 is that it lacks the two SATA 2.0 ports that the other parts have.

  E4200V2 / EA4500
CPU 1.2 GHz Marvell Processor
(MRVL F6W01A1E C120)
Switch Marvell 88E6171R
7 port Gigabit
RAM 128 MB
Flash 128 MB
2.4 GHz Radio - Marvell 88W8063 / 88W8366
- SiGe SE2598L 2.4 GHz P.A. (x3)
5 GHz radio - Marvell 88W8063 / 88W8366
- SiGe SE2567L 5 GHz P.A. (x3)
Table 3: Cisco Linksys E4200V2 / EA4500 components

Everything else in the EA4500 looks just like the E4200v2 shown in the photo below.

Linksys E4200v2 board

Linksys E4200v2 board

I've asked Cisco what the difference is between these two processors and will update when I hear back. I seriously doubt the processor change affects wireless performance, because Cisco didn't amend its FCC filing for the E4200v2.

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