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How to Fix Linksys EA2700 Wireless Router



Brief review of the Linksys EA2700 Router, which is replacing an older WRT110.

It was time to upgrade my older Linksys WRT110 router with a newer model.  Linksys has a busy array of products, each at a slightly different price point.  I chose the Linksys EA2700 Dual-band N600 Router with Gigabit.  I recommend this product, with minor reservations, described below.

Features:
  • Wireless N for newer laptops
  • Wireless a/b/g for older laptops
  • 2.4ghz + 5ghz dual, simultaneous bands
  • 4 wired gigabit ports
  • Instant Guest Access
  • IPV6 support
  • $100

The real reason for choosing the router was, oddly, for IPV6 support -- which nobody, including me, cares about*.  Starting with Windows Vista, and then 7 and 8, the operating system was configured with IPV6 (a new IP standard). 

This was enough to drive the old router nuts because each time a new laptop arrived on the old home network, it crashed the router with an "unidentified network error."  The solution for this is documented in this keyliner article:  Windows 7 Network Problems  -- but I was tired of making the same registry changes when new computers were introduced.  I suspected a newer router would fix the problem.  I was right.

Having a speedier Wireless N and faster gigabit ports (for a future NAS) also drove the upgrade. The EA2700 was the minimum model with gigabit and it was at my price-point of $100. 

ConfusingProduct Comparisons:

Cisco has purposely built a number of products, each with different features at different prices.  This carefully planned strategy extracts the maximum dollars from informed customers.  With each slightly more expensive model, they add one more interesting feature. 

For an average consumer, figuring out which to purchase should be a challenge and most would purchase solely on price.  Asking the store's help might not be helpful because the clerks were as confused as I was and the best they could do was to spout statistics from the back of the box.  After some pondering, I managed to combine a dozen pages on Linksys's site, into one chart.

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How to Fix Linksys/Cisco E4200 problems?


All the problems started when I upgraded from a WRT54G (never had a problem with this router over several years) to the E4200 (v1.1.02)  a couple of months ago. No problems with any of the wired connections of course, but all my wireless 2.4 GHz connections had problems immediately -- decreasing signal strengths (no matter how close to the router) and eventual loss of connectivity.  I tried all the conventional solutions like switching channels, checking for interference, moving the router to "higher ground" where it could vent heat better (this baby really runs hot)  and be unobstructed,  etc., but the only thing that would cure the problem was to reboot the router, usually once or twice a day.   I checked the forums and found that lots and lots of folks were experiencing this behavior. I finally discovered that if I disabled the 5gz band the 2.4 GHz connections would no longer be dropped (by the way, once they're dropped, the only way to get back is to  reboot the router; eventually the router state is such that nothing can connect to it).  Still tends to have signal strength loss over time but at least we're running consistently.  The other problem I'm experiencing is that if I get more than about 30 - 35 feet away, there is a significant decrease in signal strength.

I bought this router for (1)  the gigabyte ports for my wired machines; (2) increased signal strength for my wireless devices at greater distances; and (3) the dual band capability to handle the 5 GHz spectrum as those devices become more prevalent.  Well, 1 out of 3 is pretty pathetic performance for what is a relatively expensive high end router from a  company that until now I had a confidence in their ability to produce technically sound hardware.

I may be way off base here, but based on over 40 years experience in IT, this appears to be part of a larger trend where the bottom line seems to be dicating the rush to market of inadequately tested hardware and software.

Linksys/Cisco -- can you please acknowlege these problems and what the current plan and timetable is to fix.  The E4200 has been in the market place for a while now and I still don't see a firmware upgrade.
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