Linksys E-series routers have been referred to as ashtrays, dinner plates, and even UFOs since their augmentation last year. Hoping to change that impression, Cisco has since revisited the drawing board to recreate a swanky new N-router, which hopefully, is able to shun those awkward descriptions. Apart from its sleek and stylish outfit, Linksys' biggest marketing spin has to be the six internal antennas packed inside the E4200, capable of 3x3 MIMO spatial streams on the 5GHz band. Being a dual-band contender, the router also supports the more conventional 2.4GHz frequency (fixed at 2x3) on a simultaneous connection.
Powered by a Broadcom BCM4718 chip, the E4200 is marketed, not surprisingly, as a compatible companion to fiber networks. Theoretically, it is capable of top speeds of up to 450Mbps on 5GHz, and 300MHz on 2.4GHz. Impressive, no doubt, although the device's real world performance matters more. Can the router's actual wireless throughput and range truly deliver? Recently, we understand the E4200 also earned a nod from the DD-WRT camp, which gives networking enthusiasts an alternative Linux firmware to tinker with. Last we checked, Linksys has also added support for native IPv6 Internet connections with its stock 1.0.02 (build 13) firmware as well. That's well and good. Now it's time to find out if the E4200 is competent enough to fill its big shoes.