The Linksys E1200 N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router is the most affordable in Cisco’s refreshed E series of Wireless-N routers. For this reason, it’s also the one that offers the least. It’s a single-band router with no bells and whistles. I saw in other reviewers testing, it offered some of the lowest throughput and shortest range of the routers they compared.
The E1200’s saving grace, apart from its affordability, is the fact that it’s as easy to use as the rest of the E series, thanks to the included Cisco Connect software and its signal stability. If you’re looking for a simple entry-level Wireless-N router so you can share Internet access in a small apartment or office, the E1200 will get the job done.
Video – Unboxing Linksys E1200 N300 Wireless Router
Linksys E1200 N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router Features
– Enjoy the benefits of Wireless-N300 (802.11n) in your home ideal for surfing the web, emailing and printing wirelessly.
– Connect your computers, wireless printers, smartphones, and other wireless devices at up to 300 Mbps transfer speed.
– Enjoy broad wireless coverage provided by MIMO antenna technology.
– Use four Fast Ethernet (10/100 Mbps) ports to directly connect wired devices.
– Keep your network protected with customizable security settings, including WPA/WPA2 Personal and SPI firewall protection.
– Set up your wireless network in three easy steps using included Cisco Connect software.
– Give visitors password-protected Internet access on a separate network—so your visitors have access to the Internet, but not your computers or data.
– Use Cisco Connect’s Parental Controls to block specific websites and restrict Internet access during certain hours.
Our Linksys E1200 N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router Review
While not as attractive as the Valet Plus; with it’s almost Apple-esque design, the Linksys E1200 N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router boasts a sleek industrial look that netted the new E-series line a Red Dot Product Design Award. It’s a small, unobtrusive router, with a black, high-gloss finish. Gone from the top of the chassis are the peculiar LED symbols that were hard to decipher (one was shaped like a planet!). Instead, the WAN and LAN ports all have simple, corresponding LEDs that turn a solid green to indicate connectivity.
Although the E1200 has the same flat UFO design as the rest of the new E series: compact, good-looking, and with internal antennas, it’s not wall-mountable. Similar to the E2500 and E1500, on its back the E1200 has four LAN ports and one WAN port, the push button for the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) feature, and the power connector. The router has no status lights on the front as other routers do. In fact, it has no indicator lights at all, except for the LEDs on each of the ports, which can’t be seen from the front.
E1200 Ease Of Use & Setup
The router can be set up via the included Cisco Connect software, which makes the job a no-brainer. All you have to do is pop the CD into a computer and then follow the onscreen instructions; this gets most of the work done without your interaction.
Once the software has configured the router with Internet access–live Internet access is required for the software to work, by the way–it will pick a catchy name, such as YellowMonkey, and an easy-to-remember password for your wireless network. You can either keep that name and password or type in ones of your liking before finishing the initial setup.
In addition to the setup process, with the Cisco Connect software you can also turn the guest network on or off, manage the parental control features, and run the included Speed Test tool that shows how fast the connection to the Internet is.
If you want to use the router in an isolated network that’s disconnected from the Internet, or take advantage of other functions, you’ll need to log in to the router’s Web interface. You can get there by following the “advanced setup” link within Cisco Connect, or by pointing a connected computer’s browser to the router’s default IP address, which is 192.168.1.1.
Note that if you want to skip using Cisco Connect and use just the Web interface to manage the router, by default the password to log in to the interface is “admin,” with the username being left blank.
Video – How to setup Cisco Linksys N300 E1200 Wifi Router using Manual Setup
The Linksys E1200 is a single-band Wireless-N router that works only on the 2.4GHz frequency. The only noticeable feature it has is guest networking, which is convenient when you want to share the Internet with others but want to keep them from accessing your local resources, such as files or printers. The router’s guest networking feature allows a maximum of 10 clients, which is limited, but enough for the router’s target customers.
Like the rest of the E series, the E1200 includes a simple yet robust parental control content-filtering system. This feature, which you can manage with Cisco Connect or the Web interface, enables you to change and limit the way a particular computer on the network accesses the Internet. Via the router’s Web interface, you can also access the Applications & Gaming feature that lets you set port forwarding and triggering for specific applications such as games, remote desktop, or FTP and HTTP servers. You can also assign static IP addresses to certain computers in the network, making the port forwarding much more relevant and easy to do. If you want to create a VPN connection, an FTP access point, or a remote desktop connection to a certain computer in the network, you will find the above handy and convenient.
This Parental access works very efficiently as users can block Internet access to any computer on a home network or can block at specific times (like when the kids are supposed to be doing homework.) As soon as I blocked another laptop connected to the router from accessing the Internet, that laptop had no access, even without opening and closing its browser.
Cisco Connect also allows you to block up to eight URLs. Blocking works well but it’s rather limited when it comes to control. I would like to see Cisco incorporate the ability to block by keywords—a feature I found of value in Asante’s AWRT-550N router.
One caveat to using Cisco Connect’s Parental Controls: if you have other parental control software installed it may conflict with Cisco’s software. When I tested Cisco’s Parental Controls I had another vendor’s control software installed. Configuring controls on the Cisco side with the other software installed made Cisco’s software block me from accessing the router’s settings. I could no longer use the Cisco Connect after applying the parental control settings. Once I uninstalled the third-party’s software and reinstalled Cisco Connect, I had no issues. If you already use some sort of parental control software you will probably just want to use it or Cisco’s Parental Controls, but not both.
Like most recent routers, the Linksys E1200 supports all available wireless encryption standards, including WEP, WPA-Personal, and WPA-Enterprise. The router supports VPN pass-through for all existing VPN protocols, including IPsec, L2TP, and PPTP, so you can use a VPN client to access your office via a VPN connection.
The Linksys E1200 has nothing to show off when it comes to performance. The router was one of the slowest of the recent Wireless-N routers I saw being tested, averaging just 35.7Mbps when used with clients that were just 15 feet away. When they increased the distance to 100 feet, this number dropped to a dismal 6.4Mbps. Note that this only means that the router won’t do well hosting heavy local network traffic. If you just want to share Internet access, that would pose no problem, as most Internet connections are still much slower than the speed the router has to offer.
They also found the E1200’s wireless range to be very short, just about 175 feet at most, and the router should be used within 100 feet or less for its signal to be strong enough. Within that range, it passed their 48-hour stress test, in which it was set to transfer lots of data back and forth between clients. It didn’t disconnect once.
Video – Linksys E1200 / N300 Disassembly / Mod
E1200 Service and Support
As with the rest of routers in the E series, Cisco backs the Linksys E1200 with a one-year limited warranty, which is short, but the same as for most routers on the market. Cisco’s toll-free phone support is available 24-7, as is online chat with a support representative. The company’s Web site includes software, drivers, and firmware downloads as well as a FAQ section.
Linksys E1200 N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router Customer Reviews
“So, I purchased this router a little over a week ago and hooking it up was a breeze. However, I went to speedtest.net and checked my download speed…and I was supposed to be getting up to 20mbps download speed…but I was only getting around .80 mbps. Not good. I hooked my computer up directly to the cable to test and make sure it wasn’t my internet provider. I got around 24mbps. So, it was the router. After troubleshooting it for a while over the phone with my brother (who is very good with computers and this kind of stuff…I’m terrible) we were about to call it quits and accept that I received a faulty router. But, we tried one last thing and now I really like this router!
If you are having a similar problem as I described above…try this.
Open up the Cisco Connect program that came with the router. Click on Router Settings. Then, under Other Options click Advanced Settings. This will open a new page. On the menu bar at the top click on Applications and Gaming. Then, in that sub-menu click on the QoS link. The very first setting should be called WMM support. If this is enabled…disable it. Save your settings. And then go test your internet speed. Speedtest.net is a good site if you don’t already know another one.
I guess that the WMM setting is there to help enhance games/applications (?), but lots of people have problems with it interfering with the internet speed/causing problems. So, it totally fixed my problem…I hope that this feedback can fix others problems as well!” …. Read More
“So far, I’ve been using it for the past three days and I’m happy with it.
I noticed that the 5GHz band seemed to have wild fluctuations in connection speed over a short time interval, so I ended up disabling it, as I suspected that it would cause connection stability issues. My experience with 5GHz bands is that, unless you have a direct and unobstructed line of sight between the router and your target device, it’s not going to work well.
Initially, I tried to simply access the router, without running the setup program by navigating to 192.168.1.1. on my browser. I was getting “Bad Gateway” messages, so I then ran the setup program, provided on a cd-rom disc, on my Macintosh computer and it was pretty easy to set up. BTW, if you don’t have a cd-rom drive, you can download the setup program from LinkSys/Cisco, as the latest version is available online.
During the setup, it asked me if I wanted to sign up for the remote access option (I forget the exact wording), which would allow me to access my router from anywhere on the internet. This seemed like a BAD idea to me and a security risk/hole (since if you can access your router from anywhere on the internet, so can a hostile third party) so I declined that option.
I found the router GUI to be easy to navigate and to configure. Also, it has a speedtest option, which allows you to test the connection between your router and your ISP [Internet Service Provider].
I also had a samba share drive which was easy to setup and configure via the router GUI interface.
The Guest Network feature made me a little nervous at first, since there’s no way to set it to use wireless WPA2 security. Instead it uses a simple login mechanism, similar to what many public wifi access points use. But, on second thought, it occurred to me that most sites are moving to using https (secure http) protocol anyways, so even unprotected guest networking should be fairly acceptable, as https cannot be decrypted even over an unsecure wireless network.
I ran some speed tests using both dsl reports and speedtest. I was able to get speeds of up to 70 megabits per second download times (Cablevision ISP) at times over my wireless network with only the 2.4GHz band enabled, so pretty awesome. There were times when the download times over my wifi decreased to about 30 megabits/second download times. To zero in on the issue, I ran the speedtest from the router GUI, which had a hardline (non-wifi) ethernet connection to the cable modem and verified that I was getting similar 30 megabit/second download times over the hardline connection as well, indicating that the speed decrease was due to my ISP and not due to wifi issues.” …. Read More
Video – Cisco Linksys E1200 N300 Router Review
Linksys E1200 N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router Review Verdict
The Linksys E1200 N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router is a worthy router for those with light home networking needs. I do wonder if it may cannibalize sales of the Cisco Valet Plus—it’s faster, has better software, and it’s cheaper. According to Cisco, the Valet will hold more appeal for users who are extremely novice about setting up wireless routers; the strongest feature of the Valet is its easy setup. Yet the Cisco Linksys E1200 Wireless-N Router offers the same software setup, more advanced technology, and a lower bottom price.
With short range, low throughput speeds, and a spartan set of features, the simple-to-use and affordable Linksys E1200 would make a good entry-level Wireless-N router only for those who want to share Internet access within a small space, such as an apartment or mobile home.
Linksys N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router with Linksys Connect Including Parental Controls & Advanced Settings (E1200)
14 used from $ 3.30
- Enjoy the benefits of Wireless-N300 (802.11n) in your home ideal for surfing the web, emailing and printing wirelessly
- Connect your computers, wireless printers, smartphones, and other wireless devices at up to 300 Mbps transfer speed
- Enjoy broad wireless coverage provided by MIMO antenna technology
- Use four Fast Ethernet (10/100 Mbps) ports to directly connect wired devices
- Keep your network protected with customizable security settings, including WPA/WPA2 Personal and SPI firewall protection
Video – Cisco Linksys E1200 Reset Password and First Configuration
Video – How to Update Cisco Linksys E1200 Wifi Router Firmware