A Router you actually want to play around with? *Gasp*
Usually when people get routers they want the simplest ones available. You know, the type that you just turn on, plug, and then leave on forever until it gets broken and you have to replace it again. That’s not the case with the Linksys Smart WiFi Router EA4500. This baby is packed with features that techies and non-techies alike would love to tinker around with. We’ll save the juicy details for the full review but we’ll definitely give you a teaser as we go through this unboxing and initial impressions article.
Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router EA4500 Spec Sheet
- Technology: Wireless-N
- Bands: Simultaneous 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
- Transmit/Receive: 3 x 3 for 2.4 GHz, 3 x 3 for 5 GHz
- Antennas: 6 Internal (longer range)
- OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac
- Software Setup: CD Install
- Ethernet Ports x Speed: 4 x Gigabit
- Cisco Connect Software: Yes, App Enabled
- USB Port: Yes, Shared Storage, Virtual USB and Media Server
- Mobile Applications: iOS and Android
- Cisco Cloud Connect Software
Unboxing the EA4500!
The EA4500 comes in a medium-sized box printed with all the various features that the router offers. Cisco and Linksys definitely made it a point to highlight the Cisco Cloud Connect and the mobile apps (iOS and Android) that can support the router functions. As usual, opening the box is straightforward. Just pop it open from the bottom and you’ll immediately find the router, cushioned by carton, looking right back at you.
The body of the router is shaped like a rectangle with rounded corners. It’s made from durable plastic but they coated it with some sort of material that gives it a very smooth finish. I’m not sure if it’s matte.
As for the design and the color scheme, it’s primarily all black save for the silver strip that runs in the middle with the CISCO logo at the bottom. The logo actually lights up when it’s on and there’s an LED indicator near the end that tells you the status of your connection. It’s definitely pretty posh and flashy for a router but hey we’ve already reached a point wherein gadgets are fashion statements. Routers shouldn’t be exempted from that, haha!
At the back you’ll find all the important ports. There are four ethernet gigabit cable ports, internet cable port, USB, reset button, refresh button, and the wall outlet power port. To hit the reset button you’ll need some sort of pen to hit it. Note that the reset is different from refresh. If you hit reset all of your settings will get set back to default. If you just need to change IPs hit the refresh button.
Other than the router, you’ll also find the following inside the box: CD-ROM with set-up software (you can download it though if you lose it), Ethernet Cable, and the Power Adapter.
What’s so special about this router?
We’ve been playing around with it for the past few days and other than it’s so easy to set-up, the router is also packed with cool features that will make wireless internet access much more convenient. Once you initially hook it up at home or at the office, you can connect and associate your router with the Cisco Connect Cloud. This will let you download the iOS and Android apps for your router management. With the app you can change the settings, manage a second guest network (you can send out passwords), add additional devices, do speed tests, and monitor all the gadgets hooked up to your network. We’ll tackle this in detail during the review.
The range is also pretty impressive. Prior to this I was using a Belkin router than cost around Php3,000. The Wi-Fi signal barely reached my bedroom from the kitchen. With the EA4500 I get full signal anywhere in the condo unit which is definitely awesome.
We’ve also read that the EA4500 will making streaming content to your Smart TV and tablets easier and more efficient but we’ll test those features out as we do the full review.
Pricing and Availability
The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router EA4500 sells for PhP9,595. It’s now available in various gadget and tech stores in malls. Watch out for our full review next week!