The original Linksys E4200 (you can read our review at goo.gl/TEfmG) delivered two 150Mb/s spatial streams on its 2.4GHz radio and three 150Mb/s spatial streams on its 5GHz radio (for theoretical throughput of 300- and 450Mb/s, respectively). This updated model features a new chipset that delivers theoretical throughput of 450Mb/s on both its radios.
So all the changes are under the hood—the enclosure’s industrial design is identical, and that includes the lid that prevents us from plugging hooded Ethernet cables into the four-port gigabit Ethernet switch. We didn’t encounter any problems getting the router to power up a 2.5-inch USB hard drive this time, but it could be because we switched to a newer 500GB drive (we had been using a Verbatim Clōn; we’re now using a Western Digital My Passport Essential). There’s a UPnP media server onboard, but the router is not DLNA certified. If network-attached storage isn’t important to you, the USB port can be used to share a printer instead.
The only way to tell the Linksys E4200v2 from the original E4200 is to flip it over and check the label on the bottom.
In terms of wireless performance, the E4200v2 proved to be considerably slower than our current Best of the Best pick, Netgear’s WNDR4500, at all five of our test locations and on both the 2.4- and 5GHz frequency bands. On the other hand, the E4200v2 proved to be 30Mb/s faster than the WNDR4500 when the client and server were hardwired to the network. The Linksys router’s USB port was dramatically faster than the Netgear’s, too. But the WNDR4500 is faster where it counts, and its street price was $20 lower at press time.
Easy to set up; very fast USB and Ethernet ports.
Slower wireless performance than Netgear’s WNDR4500; only one USB port.
Bedroom, 10 feet (Mb/s)
Kitchen, 20 feet (Mb/s)
Patio, 38 feet (Mb/s)
Media Room, 35 feet (Mb/s)
Outdoors, 65 feet (Mb/s)
Best scores are bolded. TCP throughput measured using JPerf. Additional benchmarking methodology at bit.ly/ajskdh.