Parental controls; performance
Annoying setup process
Linksys is the consumer arm of global networking giant Cisco so it has plenty of experience in delivering reliable, robust and well-performing networking equipment.
The Linksys EA4500’s initial setup was executed using an application that is installed to your Mac. However, the software requires that the EA4500 is connected to the internet – something we prefer not to do until we’re sure everything is secure.
Also, we noticed that the setup utility turned on our Mac’s Wi-Fi radio even though we were connected by Ethernet cable and had the wireless off. However, part of the process lets you set an SSID and passcode for the network.
Setup was easy enough, although we were bemused when we tried to access the user guide from the accompanying CD. There is a single PDF with versions of the guide in a number of languages. English was about a fifth of the way into the 591-page PDF. It would have been easier for the guides to be split into separate PDFs or have a table of contents for each language.
The EA4500 has the standard complement of four 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports. It adds a USB port for sharing storage. Wireless is ticked off with dual-band Wi-Fi.
Cisco Connect is an application that’s installed when the EA4500 is first set up. The application makes most router tasks easy to manage. In particular, we liked the Parental Controls that made it easy to manage internet access for specific computers, down to when the computer could connect and/or blocking access to particular sites – a great feature for parents.
Performance was excellent. The EA4500 boasts a maximum wireless speed of 450Mbps. We found that it offered excellent range and solid performance with the iMac and MacBook Air we used for testing.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice.
Although it’s pricey, the Linksys EA4500 is a great router for the home or small office.