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Wireless Reviews

Features

Cisco told me that the V2's firmware is all new and no longer based on ODM'd code. Aside from the different version numbering, many users won't notice a difference, since the new GUI retains the same organization and look of the old firmware.

The V2's feature set is essentially the same as the V1's, but there are key differences I'll get to shortly. Here's a quick feature summary. Download the user manual for full details. Differences from the V1 are indicated by italics for adds and strikethrough for deletes.

Routing

  • DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP, Telstra Cable 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, Proxy, Java, ActiveX and Cookie blocking, 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 and UPnP AV media serving from attached FAT, NTFS or HFS+ formatted drive

There are a few things worthy of note in this new firmware. First, Cisco still prefers you install and use its Cisco Connect program to set up and manage your router. As I found on other recent Cisco/Linksys routers, you can't access the Internet until you run Cisco Connect or log into the admin screens and check the box acknowledging that you are riding the Internet at your own risk.

In the WAN setup, the Telstra Cable option is gone and there is a Bridge mode added, which turns off all routing features and lets you use the V2 as an Access Point without moving cables and doing the necessary reconfiguration.

In the firewall, you no longer get Proxy, Java, ActiveX and Cookie blocking options. But the bigger deal is that you no longer have the option of switching from the simple Parental Controls to the more advanced Internet Access Policy.

Parental Controls

Parental Controls

The Parental Controls screen above is the same on V1 and V2. But the Internet Access Policy screen below is gone in the V2. So the V2 has no way for you to block access to specific services for users.

Internet Access Policy

Internet Access Policy

Moving on to wireless features, the V2 defaults to Auto (20 or 40 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. Either the Wi-Fi Alliance has changed the requirement for 802.11n access points and routers to default to 20 MHz mode only on the 2.4 GHz band or the V2 isn't defaulting properly.

At any rate, you should change the 2.4 GHz radio to 20 MHz only mode unless you have no neighboring networks and/or don't mind hogging bandwidth in the way-too-overcrowded 2.4 GHz band. While you're at it, you'll probably want to assign different SSIDs to each radio. Otherwise, you'll have to use controls in your client devices to control the band they use.

Wireless settings are otherwise unchanged as shown in the V1 screenshot below.

Linksys E4200 Basic Wireless settings

Basic Wireless settings

Both radios default to Mixed mode, with other 5 GHz radio modes of A-only, N-only and disabled. The additional 2.4 GHz radio modes are B/G only, B only, G only, N only and disabled.

Channel width can be set to Auto (20 / 40 MHz), 20 MHz only or 40 MHz only for the 5 GHz radio, but only Auto (20 / 40 MHz) or 20 MHz only for 2.4 GHz.

Like the V1, the V2 doesn't have any "advanced" wireless controls. There is still no WDS bridging/repeating support, wireless enable/disable schedules or physical wireless on/off switch.

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