- Review Date: 04/28/11
- Bottom line:
Cisco touts the E1550 as a more robust performer than its excellent entry-level router the E1200. Unfortunately, the E1550 costs more, but offers no better performance.
Excellent throughput for single-band, consumer router. Easy setup. Has USB port for external, shared storage.
More expensive than the E1200 router with no noticeable throughput improvement and slightly worse range at greater distances.
The one major distinction of the Cisco Linksys E1550 Wireless-N Router with SpeedBoost ($79.99) from the other latest E-series lineup of Linksys routers is its availability. It will only be available from Best Buy, beginning June of this year. The E1550 is a single-band router marketed as a more robust offering than the entry E-series model, the Editors' Choice winning Cisco Linksys E1200 Wireless-N Router ($60, 4.5 stars). Unfortunately, although it's a bit more expensive, the E1550 did not have any noticeable throughput speed or range gains over the E1200. Actually, from a distance of 40 feet, behind a glass partition, the range was a little worse with the E1550 than with the E1200
Setup, Features and Design
The E1550 uses the same Cisco Connect software as the E1200 and the Cisco Linksys E2500 Advanced Dual-band Wireless-N Router($99.99, 3 stars). For a full review of the feature set, check out the E1200 review. The Cisco Connect software makes the router so easy to set up, and it gives users the option to set up guest access to their wireless network, easily add other computers and devices to the WLAN, set parental controls, and access advanced settings.
The E1550 does not have the high-gloss chassis of the E1200 or the sophisticated matte-and-brushed-metal housing of the E2500. In fact, it's cheaper-looking, and made of a simpler-looking, apparently plastic material. It does retain the sleek, flat shape of the E1200 and the E2500, however.
The E1550 has a WAN port in the rear as well as four Fast Ethernet 10/100 ports, as do many single-band routers on the market. There's also a USB port on the back for shared storage. The E1550 also includes a 2x3 MIMO antenna configuration versus the E1200's 2x2 and it has an external amplifier—the E1200 has an internal, on-chip amplifier.
Performance-wise I saw very little difference between the E1200 and the E1550. Both had about the same throughput rates performing the exact same test in the exact same locations in our lab. Both have excellent throughput for a single-band router, but you would naturally expect peppier performance with the E1550. Here are the comparisons:
You can see there isn't much difference in numbers between the E1200 and E1550. Both however, have superior throughput to comparable, single-band routers. I did notice that at 40 feet away behind a glass door, the E1200 kept throughput in the 50 Mbps range, wheras the E1550 fell to about 40 Mbps.
The E1550 is a decent single-band router, one that outperforms most similar routers I've tested, and it's got Cisco's great setup software. Like the E1200, the E1550 is fine for users with moderate sized homes, who want to connect wireless devices to surf the web, email and print wirelessly. The problem is Cisco already has an excellent single-band router for less. Is the E1550 worth the extra $20 over the E1200? Unless you need the shared USB storage, I can't imagine why.
More Router Reviews:
• Cisco Linksys E1550 Wireless-N Router with SpeedBoost
• Cisco Linksys E2500 Advanced Dual-Band Wireless-N Router
• ZuniConnect Travel Router
• Edimax 300Mbps Wireless Broadband iQ Router (BR-6428N)
• Cisco Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Wireless-N Router