Among inexpensive, easy-to-use wireless-N home routers, experts recommend the Linksys E2000. It actually beats the pricier, top-rated Netgear WNDR3700 (*Est. $80) in CNET's older speed and range tests, and boasts some high-end features such as access for guests; parental controls; four Gigabit LAN ports so you can attach Gigabit-enabled computers, hard drives and servers; and the ability to use both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies, although not simultaneously.
Since many devices such as printers and smartphones work only on the 2.4 GHz band, experts say you may not be able to use the faster 5 GHz band if you want this Linksys router to be compatible with all of your devices. The E2000 also lacks a USB port, so you can't plug in a USB printer or hard drive to share it on your network. Speed, however, is a strong point -- two of our sources say the Linksys E2000 is the fastest home router they've seen -- but testers find that throughput on the 5 GHz band slows down if you move 30 feet away from the router. If you're willing to spend more for an advanced unit with USB hard-drive sharing and simultaneous dual-band frequencies, experts recommend the WNDR3700 instead.
PC World (Australia) evaluates the Linksys E2000 for a full week -- the most thorough test we found for this model. CNET and PCMag.com also conduct expert tests with full reviews. We found plenty of owner feedback at Amazon.com.
1. PC World (Australia)
During this week-long test, the Linksys E2000 never once dropped its connection. Elias Plastiras finds it fast, reliable, easy to set up and a good value. Editors name it a best buy.
Review: Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless N Router, Elias Plastiras, Nov. 19, 2010
The Linksys E2000 "is by far the fastest router for home [use] we've seen," says CNET's Dong Ngo. It outperforms other routers -- including its big brother the Linksys E3000, the top-rated Netgear WNDR3700, and the Apple AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule -- in both range and throughput tests. Ngo says it's great for home users who want something simple to set up, but without USB ports or the ability to use both of its bands simultaneously, it's not a CNET top pick.
Review: Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router, Dong Ngo, Oct. 7, 2010
When comparing easy-to-use home routers, Samara Lynn prefers the Cisco Valet Plus to the Linksys E2000. She finds that the E2000's throughput both drops dramatically on the 5 GHz band when she moves 30 feet from the router and dwindles unless she reboots the router every few hours.
Review: Cisco Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router, Samara Lynn, June 23 , 2010
The Linksys E2000 gets an overall score of 3.7 stars out of 5 in about 350 owner reviews here. Most give it 4 or 5 stars, saying it's easy to set up and gets good range. But several owners giving it 1 star say they couldn't install the router properly and Linksys customer service was no help.
Review: Cisco -Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2012