Cisco Linksys EA4500 N900 Dual Band Wireless Router
Visually, the EA4500 remains nearly unchanged from its predecessors. If it weren't for the discreet "Linksys EA 4500" script on the center strip, this could be any one of Cisco's flagship routers from the past several years. This is not necessarily a bad thing - we loved the design when it was first released, and it still looks great today.
In terms of performance, the EA4500 has very little to offer on top of what the E4200v2 is capable of. This is because the EA4500 is merely a re-release of the E4200v2, with its name changed to fit Cisco's new model numbering scheme. In fact, the EA4500 even shares the same FCC ID as the older Linksys E4200v2. Once again, this is no cause for concern - the E4200v2 was one of the best-performing routers available, so more of the same is a good thing in this case. As before, expect about 680-690 Mbps via Gigabit Ethernet, and up to 84 Mbps wirelessly.
Firmware updates make up the core of the EA4500, as well as the rest of Cisco's EA-series routers. The new models now feature a redesigned user interface that works with new software; namely, Cisco Connect (for home computers) and Linksys Smart Wi-Fi (for smartphones and tablets). Combined, these interfaces allow complete control over your network - right down to parental controls and guest access (up to 50 users). Other benefits include IPv6 compatibility, and networked printing via the USB port. These enhancements conveniently address our gripes about the old E4200 models, bringing the EA4500 closer to the ever-elusive "perfect router" title. The only drawback now is the price, but it's worth every penny.