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Wireless Reviews

Routing Performance

Routing throughput running the latest 1.0.01 build 3 firmware and our router test process measured 91 Mbps WAN to LAN, 91 Mbps LAN to WAN and 154 Mbps total with up and down tests running simultaneously. The IxChariot composite plot below shows up and download speeds pretty evenly matched in the simultaneous routing test.

Maximum simultaneous connections topped out at numbers indicating a maximum of 8,192 connections.

E2500 wired routing performance summary

Figure 5: E2500 wired routing performance summary

Wireless Performance

The E2500 is Wi-Fi Certified and properly defaulted to 20 MHz bandwidth mode on the 2.4 GHz radio on power-up. The 5 GHz radio defaulted to Auto 20/40 mode.

I successfully ran a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) session with my Win 7 client by entering the WPS code found on the E2500's bottom label. The WPS session completed quickly and resulted in a WPA2/AES secured connection to the 5 GHz radio with the same WPA2 pre-shared key on both bands. All tests were run with this secured connection using our latest wireless test process.

NOTE: The E2500 defaults to both radios having the same SSID (ciscoNNNNN) where NNNNN represents the last five digits of the E2500's serial number. So if you have a dual-band client and want to control the band you're on, you'll need to change one (or both) of the SSIDs.

I ran 2.4 and 5 GHz Wireless Performance tables for the E2500. the E3200 and ever-popular ASUS Black Diamond RT-N56U. In both bands, the ASUS "Black Diamond" is the clear winner, sweeping all comparisons.

Highest 2.4 GHz throughput for the E2500 of 72 Mbps was measured using our wireless test process in Location A running downlink with the client set to Auto 20/40 mode. Running simultaneous up and downlink tests yielded 92 Mbps in the same location and condition.

Linksys E2500 Wireless Performance summary - 2.4 GHz

Figure 6: Linksys E2500 Wireless Performance summary - 2.4 GHz

Comparing just the E2500 and E3200, the E2500 does a bit better in the medium-low signal test location D in most 2.4 GHz tests. In the 5 GHz band, however, the E2500 falls behind the E3200 in all Location D tests.

The IxChariot plot in Figure 7 shows some rate shifting behavior during the Location A test that was present in multiple runs. I also saw this from time to time in other test runs.

E2500 IxChariot plot - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz, downlink

Figure 7: E2500 IxChariot plot - 2.4 GHz, 20 MHz, downlink

Here are links to the other 2.4 GHz plots for your reference:

Figure 8 compares the three routers in the 5 GHz band. Highest E2500 throughput of 48 Mbps was measured using our wireless test process in Location A running uplink with the client set to 40 MHz mode. The simultaneous up and downlink test yielded 70 Mbps in the same location and condition.

Linksys E2500 Wireless Performance summary - 5 GHz

Figure 8: E2500 Wireless Performance summary - 5 GHz

5 GHz throughput stability in Figure 9 is pretty good. But you can see the rate shift effect again in the Location D plot.

E2500 IxChariot plot - 5 GHz, 20 MHz, downlink

Figure 9: E2500 IxChariot plot - 5 GHz, 20 MHz, downlink

Here are links to the other plots if you'd like to check them out.

Closing Thoughts

Cisco once again makes it easy for you to step up to the next level in its E family by offering a refurbished E3200 for $80—$10 less than they'll sell you a brandie-new E2500. But if you're ok with 10/100 ports and somewhat weaker 5 GHz performance, a refurbished E2500 at $40 is a pretty good deal for a simultaneous dual-band router with guest network capability (even if it is only on the 2.4 GHz band).

You can further explore and compare the E2500's performance using the Router Chart and Router Finder.

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