499 of 528 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2001
We have a PC upstairs, which is our primary computer, and a Mac downstairs in the tv room. I wanted both to be able to share our broadband Internet service. I looked at several routers, both wired and wireless. It came down to the Linksys (wired version) and SMC Barricade Wireless. I kept coming back to Linksys because a friend owns one and raves about it.
Besides the fact that it looks really cool, it almost took me longer to get it out of the box than it did to set it up. No kidding! Using the QuickStart guide, I was up and running in less than ten minutes. You hook up the necessary cables, restart your computer, log-in to the Linksys website to configure your router, restart your computer again, and you're good to go.
I wasn't as optimistic about setting up my Power Mac G3. However, I was pleasantly surprised and it took me all of about five minutes before I was doing some high-speed surfing on that machine as well. Fortunately, my Mac has an Ethernet port so it was just a matter of attaching the CAT-5 cable from there to the Linksys and setting the TCP/IP control panel to the Ethernet and DHCP options. I saved my configuration, opened up my browser and spent the next two hours high-speed surfing with no problems.
I have no problem recommending the Linksys, especially for its ease of setup on a PC and Mac network. While I would have preferred a wireless setup, they've received mixed reviews and I was concerned about Mac compatibility. After seeing how well my Mac performs with this Linksys, I'm ready to make ours a wired household!
231 of 244 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2000
I worried this product would be hard to install, configure and use. This sounds silly since I'm an engineer working at a dot-com company, building a large Internet network. Even engineers get stuck with computer hardware they can't get to work. Also, being net savvy, I tend to want my network hardware to work MY way and not in some configuration deemed "good" by marketing monkeys. All fears quickly faded, however as the router was up and running with my network 15 minutes after opening the box.
Ease of use is important, as I frequently distrust technical support for networking products. No fault of Linksys, but years with inept customer service apes, trained only to hold phones, ruined me. If I can not get a product to work in short order when other, equivalent products exist, I quickly return, exchange and try again. Thankfully, I did not have to do so. The Linksys jumped all hurtles without effort.
Ease of use goes past the install to the packaging and into the web-based configuration. The packaging comes with a quick start guide. Smart. Impatient males with more eagerness than brains don't want to read manuals, even short ones. The quick start has everything you need to get online in short order. If you need the advanced features, like port redirection, a DMZ host, or PPP over ethernet, the manual is friendly and the configuration screens are kind. Five minutes after surfing the web, I reconfigured my PC to have a static IP address (rather than the DHCP generated address, given to me by the quick start guide), and set up port redirection for my web server.
DHCP is great, especially if you take tote your laptop between home and work. DHCP is a service, run on a network, allowing computers on the network to ask what their IP addresses, gateways, DNS servers and subnet masks are. The DHCP server replies, allowing computers to dynamically configure themselves based on what network the computer is on. Thus, you can conveniently carry your laptop into work, hook it up without reconfiguring the networking. If you're me, you're likely too lazy to set up a UNIX computer on your network just for a DHCP server. So, having the Linksys Cable/DSL router provide DHCP is a big bonus.
Net novices may wonder if this router is a risk to have. With all the media attention, you likely think an army of computer and network savvy teens are just waiting for you to go online, so they can infect and hack your computer. I've never had a problem, but then, I'm cautious from where I download software and with whom I interact. One risk is placing a bad password on your router, allowing others to reconfigure your network. I envision several lazy people not bothering to change the default password on their Linksys routers, creating some minor havoc.
However, because the router uses network address translation, you have the potential to be safer as outsiders see only the IP address of your router and not your host. So far as I know, the only listening port on the router is the embedded wed server and any in-bound port-forwarding you set up, so people trying to get in, from the outside, will likely rely on you to do something dumb. A few dumb things include an easily guessed password on the router -- your first name, or the word "router" are really terrible ideas -- downloading software from any web page with the words "d00d" or "kewl," or setting up a web server from an old Linux distribution without checking CERT advisories for known security holes. More dumb things exist. Use common sense, but never fear making mistakes; it's just a computer.
If you have several computers in your home and want them all to be networked, the Linksys can do the job. Yes, only 5 ports exist on the back, but 10 megabit per second (MBPS) hubs are less than $30 and 100 MBPS hubs are around $100. Multiples of either hub can be added, to get up to 255 computer on your network. Though, if you have 255 computers, just using hubs will lead to frightening performance problems, but one hopes, anyone with so many computers, knows better.
78 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2000
The combination of features and the price make this a great unit. Before I start, a word of warning - I use the product with RoadRunner in Columbus, Ohio; we are a pure DHCP with no login style of cable system; your "mileage" may vary depending or your ISP.
I had this unit setup and working in 5 minutes. 1 - Turn off the cable modem and your PC. 2 - Install the DSL router. (Use good quality NON-crossover cables.) 3 - Turn on the cable modem. 4 - Turn on the DSL router. 5 - Turn on the PC. You are done. For most people, this is all that is needed.
Open your browser and point it to 192.168.1.1 and check the release level of the software. Then, check LinkSys and verify you have the latest version. A couple of the early releases had a few "gotchas".
I have used this router with a combination of machines running NT 4.0, Windows 98, Windows 2000 (Professional and Advanced Server), and Red Hat Linux with no problem (There shouldn't have been since this is a standard DCHP server and NAT box.)
I just finished a 60Mb down load with no problem.
Some people may need more functionality than this box delivers (advanced filtering, etc.) This is NOT a $2000 Cisco router and it doesn't try to be. Check you needs and if you are a typical SOHO user; this unit will most likely fill the bill.
77 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2000
Everything about this product makes you want to likeit:
1. Excellent features; router/firewall + 4 port hub(100/10 Mbps) 2. Good configuration flexibility such as DHCP served or static IP's, port forwarding and filtering, DMZ facility for video conferencing and on-line work where NAT can really screw you up. 3. Really easy to configure via a web interface, just type [...] plus username/password and you're in! 4. A great price point for what you get.
THIS PRODUCT SHOULD BE A SOHO NETWORK ROUTER CATEGORY KILLER
EXCEPT.....my machine regularly 'seizes up' and cannot access the Net. The MTBF is utterly predictable at ~48 hours and a quick power re-cycle clears the problem. I've had my machine for 6 weeks now, so there has been adequate time to confirm that this is a persistent fault. From reading many posts on Usenet and [...] I *know* other BEFSR41 users have this problem too. In fact another reviewer on Amazon talks about it. I just sent Linksys support an email detailing the problem with an IP Monitor log from one of my machines. Yet to hear back. I take reliability very seriously, and these days equipment such as the BEFSR41 *should* be more reliable. Accordingly I cannot recommend it unless you are happy to live with the same situation that I currently have. It's a real pity, given the many positive attributes.
P.S Amazon service is great. ...
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2000
I'm a Cox@Home subscriber, and my PC was the 'Server' for 2 other PC's for my kids, through an ethernet hub and the use of Wingate internet sharing software. Wingate was good, but could be temperamental at times.
This little jewel (Linksys Router) solved the problem of my PC having to be on all the time for the other two PC's to access the internet, and eliminated for a second NIC in my PC, which of course frees up resourses in my machine.
Installation was a snap, just by following the instructions. However, it took a few tries and I did have to tinker with the TCP/IP settings a little. If you have @Home cable service, on the first PC you install, you will open up your browser with the address of 192.168.1.1, and input the following data per the instructions:
1. No "Host Name" needed. 2. "Domain Name" should be set to your assigned @Home name, i.e., CX000000-X. 3. You should click "Specify an IP Address" and enter your static IP address. (if you don't know it, it should be on your @Home paperwork, or there are instructions included on how to 'ping' yourself to get it.) 4."Subnet Mask" should have automatically filled-in itself (255.255.255.0) 5.The "Default Gateway Address" I found on my Cox@Home paperwork, and it was similar but not identical to my IP address. 6."DNS(Required) 1: and 2:" were also included on my paperwork, but for Cox@Home subscribers, these items were listed as: 'primary dns server ip address' and 'sec dns server ip address'. An entry under "3:" was not required.
On #5 and 6 above, if you don't have your paperwork from your original @Home installation, you will probably have to call your provider to get the numbers.
Performance has been the same or better as before with the hub. My son does some interactive gaming on the net with some state of the art graphics and programs. No problem! Napster works fine. The added benefit of a REAL firewall is nice. "GRC.COM" doesn't know any of the 3 PC's exist! No more superfluous Black Ice or Zone Alarms hits.
I wish I'd heard about this product sooner. I read all of the other 180 or so reviews on this site before I bought it, so I had professional networking friend standing by if needed, but I did it all myself! ....
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2000
I have been using the router for over a month now, and have hadtime to get to know it, it's manual, and service people enough to make a comment or two on the unit.
First, let me say that you can't touch it for the price. Whatever shortcomings it has (and there are definitely shortcomings), for [the money]there is nothing that does what it *can* do, or do it as well. If you simply need to split a dsl or cable modem connection between several machines, it's the only game in town at this admission price.
If you don't mind losing the firewall protection, even it's issues with identifying (if you talk on Dalnet, it needs to be configured differently. You can email me on this) can be rectified. Be sure to go to Linksys' home page and download V1.33 or higher firmware, it makes it lots easier.
The documentation is so far below the standard of the unit it "describes" that I could write a book on it's lack of information. For the basic features, it should be three times as in depth. I think Linksys didn't research this market well enough to know that most purchasers of this unit are amateurs to networking, and not Information Systems techs. A little "why and wherefore" explanation would have went a long, long way. And there is no, and I mean that exactly as written "NO" support for any advanced feature. Not in the manual, not at the oddly named "customer service" line. This is ludicrous, these features are the very thing that makes this unit flexible enough to get any real usage from. It is, possibly, the worst manual I have ever seen to come with a unit that was obviously intended to be a powerful tool for the masses.
Email or phone support was pitiful, with one glowing exception. Nicholas Mack with Linksys sales not only got involved in helping me, but stayed involved until we both figured out how to make the router do everything I needed it to do. He sent me advice, firmware updates, and we emailed repeatedly and found solutions to the problems. In return, I reported what each step accomplished on my machine for him to pass along to others. Without Nicholas' intervention, I would have sent the router back long ago. Linksys should give that boy a BIG raise. He is the reason I recommend this unit today.
So, here is the lowdown. The unit is capable beyond it's pricerange, nothing does what it can in this cost area. The manual will help you if the very most basic setup is ok, and you have some idea of how to get around on your machine already. Otherwise, get someone who does. Beyond that, the manual works good for leveling short legs on the kitchen table, that's about it. Customer service will answer direct questions about the unit only (once you get them on the phone) and will not help you with any software (including the microsoft network software it is designed to work with). So if it isn't "where do I plug this cord" you will probably be left frustrated and heading back to the refund line. If you are lucky, you may get one of the few Linksys people who not only know how to make it work, but don't mind telling you.
In short, this is the most amazingly capable, absolutely non-suported device I have ever used.
As a PS- My "setup wizard" disk was not packed with the unit, and a short Cat 5 cable would be a very welcome addition to the package.
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2000
I purchased one of these to share my Road Runner cable modem connection among the computers in my home. It only took a couple minutes to replace my 10Mbit hub with this router. The 10/100 switch in this thing was a dramatic speed boost from my hub and the NAT (Network Address Translation) used to share the Internet works flawlessly and is simpler, more flexible and configurable than Windows 98SE's Internet Connection Sharing. Not only do you get the 10/100 switch and NAT, but you get a basic IP firewall which greatly helps protect your computers from intruders on the Internet. Regarding the comment from someone wanting two DMZ hosts, you cannot have two DMZ hosts with one IP address.
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2000
I purchased this product after reading the reviews here on Amazon.com.
The 4-port version was easy to setup and configure, and I did not have any problems when configuraing the router to work with PPPOE and my ISP. I am now running a Win2000 platform, a Linux platform, and periodically my laptop from the router. Linksys does not provide any instructions for configuring Linux to work with the router, but if you're familiar with Linux, networking, and TCP/IP you won't have any problems.
As per another reader's comments, I too have a mix of static and dynamic/DHCP IP addresses. All you need to do is set the router to start at a higher IP address (e.g. 192.168.1.100) and then the other IP addresses (e.g. 192.168.1.2 - 192.168.1.99) can be used as static/fixed IP addresses. This works great if you're like me and want at least one DHCP-managed IP address for a laptop or similar.
All outbound activity (from your computers to the Internet) works without any configuration changes. Individual ports (e.g. FTP, Telnet, etc.) are not exposed/available unless you configure them in the router, and when you do expose a port you map it to the specific/static IP address of one of your computers. This is a much better approach than attempting to use Linux as a firewall, since with the router you know exactly which ports are open/visible to the Internet.
I also like that (by default) a feature called "WAN Blocking" is enabled. If an Internet user PINGs your IP address, they won't get a response.
Consider doing a firmware upgrade from Linksys' website. You'll need to download the upgrade, unzip it, and then connect to the router and apply the upgrade. Note that this wasn't a difficult task.
The documentation for the product is pathetic. If anyone from Linksys reads this, please hire better Tech Writers or spend more time on producing thorough documentation (ie., "Linksys Router for Dummies").
In summary, a solid product at a good price. I now have a firewall and router/hub in a single, compact unit. Spend a few $ more and buy the 4-port version of the router if you ever think you might need more ports in the future.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2000
I love this thing!
There's many benefits to this router's firewalling capabilities!
My personal network is connected to an university campus network. Because the campus network is a bit of a hacker haven, my systems used to detect about 3 to 5 hacker probes/scans a week. The probes no longer reaches my machines.
Another benefit: I can now confidently use Windows file-sharing in my personal network, and leave it turned on all the time. No more worrying about people snooping my data, or storing their files on my server.
And another: Someone once printed test pages to my printer (attached to a NetGear Print Server), probably thinking my print server was his. That problem won't happen ever again!
You could set up an old PC as your firewall; but then you'd have to load and configure the operating system and firewalling software, and you'd have a bulky/noisy PC running all the time. This router sits quietly behind my desk, takes up little space (about the size of a VHS tape), and consumes very little power. Trust me, it's worth the price.
Think of this router like a solid door to your house: It is solid, is mostly unobtrusive, is easy to use, and keeps strangers from peering in and wandering in unannounced. I can't imagine a home without a door; and I can't imagine a network without a firewall of some kind.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2000
Up until a few months ago, I had relied on dual NIC cards and proxy software to get both of my machines to use my cable modem. Worked OK, but there were a lot of problems, specifically with apps that needed to open ports (like Realplayer), or secure Java apps.
I bought the Linksys router on the advice of a friend, and never looked back. Setting up was a breeze - ten minutes from box to surf! Suddenly Realplayer worked fine, and no more Java security errors. The device also lets you forward ports for specific IPs, so apps like Napster also work well.
The downside - certain apps will not work with the router. Particularly, certain types of VPN software (like Cisco VPN). This is not due to a bug in the router, but is a side-effect of the way that VPN works.
Bottom line - for 99% of your networking needs, this little device delivers it all at a price that can't be beat. But if you intend to do some really esoteric stuff like VPN, you may run into glitches.