- Wireless Technology: Wireless-N
- Bands: Simultaneous 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
- Ports x Speed: 4x Gigabit, USB IPv6 Support: Native IPv6 and 6rd support
- Simple setup
- Great range
- Amazing feature set
- Some may have an issue with a web-based interface
A router is something worth investing in, and the EA4500 is a great way to go.
Routers. There usually isn’t much to say about them. If you’re a non-power user, The process is pretty much “power, plug, forget.” It’s a device that we don’t really notice until it stops working, and when it does, it’s expletives, prayers and a quick trip to the computer store. This happened to me recently, and I was determined not to have it happen to me again. I decided it was time to get a new router that would give me solid service and a whole bag of features. Before that could happen, however, I got the Linksys EA4500 to review, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it.
The Linksys EA4500 is a wireless router, yes but it is much, much more than that. The unassuming little box is about the size and weight of a large paperback book. It has no external antenna to snag, catch or otherwise get in the way of placement. It’s a device that is meant to disappear into your network, and the slim profile really lends itself to that. Initial setup is pretty straightforward, as routers are supposed to be. I unpacked the device, plugged in the power supply, and the LAN cable, and it was live.
I then connected to the router and went on to change the important settings to get started. Everything went without a hitch, and, frankly, I could have stopped there. I did, however, know that the router was capable of so much more, so after a very quick, painless firmware update, I was able to gain access to my own Linksys Smart Wi-Fi account that lets me control the router remotely, from anywhere in the world, as long as my home router is online. Before I go on to that, let’s dive into the basic specs of the device.
The EA4500 is a simultaneous dual-band (2.4 and 5GHz), wireless a/b/g/n router that does everything a regular router can do, plus a few neat tricks to boot. On the back of the device are four gigabit ports for wired connections, the main connector where the cable from the modem plugs in and a power port.
It has an internal antenna, which gave surprising coverage. It allowed a strong signal to places in our house that the older router couldn’t reliably reach, all without the unsightly antenna. The connection provided was rock-solid, with not a flicker even through one floor and a bunch of solid concrete and stone walls.
The EA4500 also had a USB port for plugging in and sharing storage media over your wireless network. I was very pleased to have this feature, as it made sharing media and other data with other computers dead easy, without having to go through complicated network settings. It was a breeze to get the network storage feature to work.
I just plugged in storage media and navigated to the appropriate address within the network, and there were all my files, ready for transferring, from any computer connected to the EA4500. The port can also be used for printer sharing, and remote access via FTP with the same simple setup. on top of this, the EA4500 is a DLNA- certified media server, so other smart devices play nice with it, guaranteed.
For those who like having friends over, the EA4500 has a special “Guest Network” setting that allows users to connect to the router without having access to the rest of the local network through a simple browser-based sign-in and password. The password can be a simpler, easy-to-convey phrase, as security is taken care of by the device. It’s pretty slick, and useful if you want to have a nerd coalition over for a party.
The EA4500 is a great device just with those features, but what really makes it shine is the web interface. After the quick firmware update and an even quicker sign-up, the Linksys Smart WiFi interface can be accessed from any location as long as the router is connected to the Internet. This allows me to control every aspect of the router from media prioritization that gives more bandwidth to certain devices, to parental controls that can keep devices from going to certain sites or kill a connection completely with the flip of a switch or based on a schedule. It even allows you to install apps that give you value-added features, such as additional streaming software, security software and even an iOS/Android app that gives you the same functionality as the browser interface, right from the comfort of a native app.
The EA4500 is a great router on its own that gets a leg up over the competition because of a solid name and all the value-added features thanks to the Smart Wi-Fi web interface. It has all the hardcore features of a regular router, but all in a package that any average Joe can understand and control.
First published in Gadgets Magazine February 2013
Words by Ren Alcantara