Customer Reviews: Cisco Linksys E2500 Advanced Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless-N Router (Certified Refurbished)
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on January 26, 2012
About buying a dual-band router
Based on the reviews here, it seems that a lot of people have unrealistic expectations of what a dual band router will do for them, so I wanted to start my review by addressing the expectations you should have when you buy any dual band router. Many people seem to think that the 5GHz frequency band is inherently newer and better than the 2.4GHz band. That's simply not true as both bands have been around for a long time (802.11a ran at 5 GHz) and each has its strengths and weaknesses.

Some reviewers here have discovered one of those, noting that they didn't get as much range from the 5 GHz channels as the 2.4. That's exactly right. Higher frequencies do not travel and penetrate obstructions as well as lower ones, so we'll all get more distance from running in the 2.4 GHz band.

Another consideration is that many 802.11n devices run only on the 2.4 GHz band and won't even see a 5 GHz network. (The iPhone, for example, see only 2.4 GHz, while the iPad 2 sees both.) [Update 8/2/2013: Some commenters have noted that the iPhone 5 (released after I wrote this) does support both bands. They are, of course, correct... my iPhone 5 does see both networks.] Even if your router runs at 5 GHz, it's useless if the device you want to connect doesn't also run it. Before investing in a dual band router, it's a good idea to check out what you want to run and be sure it will work. I'd call the ubiquity of 2.4 GHz devices an advantage for that band.

Two advantages 5 GHz does have over 2.4 are that 1) it carries more data and 2) there's generally less interference at 5 GHz, so its more likely to achieve its potential to carry that extra data. There is a lot more 2.4 GHz traffic out there (cordless phones, microwaves, other wireless networks) so you can end up with slower access if these are causing interference. This is especially an issue in densely-populated areas of big cities. In contrast, the 5 GHz band is generally quite sparsely populated.

For most people, the reason to buy a dual-band router is that you want to watch HD movies or play video games wirelessly. The 5 GHz band is excellent for those data-intense applications, but your router has to be located well to give a good signal. A good setup for those people is to put your video and games on the 5 GHz channels and to run your regular Net surfing and email devices on the 2.4 GHz. Many dual band routers, like the Lynksys E2500, can run those simultaneously so that they don't interfere with each other.

Of course, you're still limited by the speed of the broadband coming into your home, but local traffic (like streaming a movie from a local server) will benefit. People who don't need to stream high bandwidth data, and who just want to check email and surf the web, will do just as well with a less expensive 2.4 GHz router (though this reconditioned price is low enough to justify the purchase even if you don't end up using both bands).

About my Purchase
I'm not usually a fan of buying refurbished products, but I had two 6-month-old Asus rt-n56u routers that both failed and I needed something to use while they were being repaired. (A month later, I'm still waiting... not happy with Asus.) Since I figured it was a temporary solution, and I didn't want to blow a lot of money on it, I picked up this refurbished E2500 and it has worked out great. It's been much more reliable than my Asus routers (even when they were working), so I'm seriously considering just ordering another one of these to put my network back together and just selling the Asus ones if they ever come back from repair. I spent nearly three times what this costs, each, for the Asus routers and what did it get me? I'm coming around to refurbished products. If they don't work when you get them, Amazon is great about returns. If they only last 6 months... well, I'd rather be out $40 for a 6-month lemon than $120, as I was with each of the others.

Update 2/16/2012
I did go ahead and buy another of these and it's working great. The only downside of these versus the ASUS routers is that these won't let me use the 'Internet' port on the second router to connect it to the first, so I have to use up one of my four wired device ports to make the second one into an access point. Still, the signals are strong and they've been reliable. I'm still waiting to get my ASUS routers back from their service center (terrible service), but I'm sticking with these when I do. I'll just sell the ASUS ones when they get back.
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on December 19, 2011
If your refurbished router still has the name/password from the previous owner, use a pin or paperclip to push the "Reset/Reinitialisation" button on the underside of the router. Hold the button down until all the lights on the back go solid and it is reset. Then reboot the router and start the software program over again and all should be well.

Aside from that one little hitch I just set up the router and it works fine.
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on March 20, 2012
The university I go to has really really tough regulations when it comes to anything connecting to their ethernet ports (which school doesn't?). And I was really worried that this dual band router would have to go through some intense trouble shooting because of our school's anti router-in-the-dorm policy. Certainly not a problem for this guy!! I was so happy when I installed my router and got an immediate connection! It's no Gigabit router, but it's sure faster than the G routers and really makes use of our school's T1 lines.

At first I was really hesitant when I read the negative reviews for the refurbished products. Let me just say this... if it says "Cisco Certified Refurbished Product" you really have nothing to worry about. It states clearly that you have a 90-day warranty on top of their certified label. In addition, my router came looking brand new! It didn't even have scuffs or blemishes or any malfunctioning parts. Another plus. So for the sake of first appearances, I was overjoyed to get such a deal. Now onto the mechanics.

I do not know how much I can comment on since I am not a techie or know a lot about routers. All I knew was that this router had to bypass concrete walls and have a really strong signal. I did a bit of research into the dual-band properties of this router, and while my iphone doesn't connect at the 5Ghz broadcast, it gets a very strong connection at 2.4Ghz. A lot of equipment at your office/home run on the 2.4Ghz signal and therefore congests the signal between your wifi devices and the router, leading to suffering connection speeds. Your laptops/wifi devices should be able to connect to the 5Ghz and get a much stronger and solid connection at this level with your router. Really nice in my opinion. My mac also had no problems recognizing and installing the program that came with it. (Yes, download the driver off of cisco's website!!!)

Here is what you have to keep in mind fellow mac users:

1) DOWNLOAD THE DRIVER/PROGRAM from cisco's website!!! I can't stress this enough. You will save yourself a lot of work trying to do common things if you just install this crucial program. If you use the *install disc* that came with it, know that OSX Lion will not be supported and it will say not compatible (hence the online download I mentioned). So go online and install the program.I don't like doing the whole "type in your router/ip address" thing. A lot of users like this because you can do all of the things from the program and a lot more advanced options on the web browser, but if you aren't technical like me and appreciate everything being nice and neat and organized, go with the program you downloaded. Plus, there is a link on the program that takes you to the webpage with your router's information where you can adjust more advanced options. So its better to install the program anyway. The only time where you cannot avoid using the webpage to adjust your router is installing firmware updates. I don't believe this router is self-upgradeable, so you would have to check up on cisco's website for the newest firmware updates as they come. Firmware updates aren't critical per-say....but if you are paranoid about security like me, I would advise you to check the website for firmware updates at least once a month.

2) Don't get frustrated with the loading/installing time. You install the program first into your mac and THEN power the router and connect it to the MODEM! (refer to the instructions the program guides you through). The program will take quite some time to do the necessary installation and setup of your router. Just don't do anything that will interfere with the process (ie. restarting the program, shutting off the router, connecting devices into the router during setup, etc.). Just focus on getting it set up. But just know that even changing the name and password of your router as it appears on wifi connections does take some time too. But once it completes the task, the change is immediate and you're ready to go.

3) I would immediately shut off the guest access (via the program installed) once you have this router up and running. It not only keeps others from clogging up your connection, but it also disables their ability to connect to your highly sought after 5Ghz broadcast as well.

The program (aside from the loading times) was really easy and enjoyable to use. I have changed my router name and password over 10 times just for the heck of it and have not had to restart the router for any reason. It is simple and easy to do. There are even "keys" you can make on a usb drive to connect your other wifi devices to the router. Not mind-blowing, but kinda cool. Seems very well ventilated. It has a little foot on the edge that prevents you from placing anything on top of the router, but it allows for airflow on the bottom as well as the sides.

So far a pretty solid router and a really valuable amenity for any college dorm (5Ghz is a life saver- like driving in carpool). The customer service is extremely slow however and I'd say moderately informed staff? They prefer online chat to solve your troubles more than any other method. Oh well, at least they helped guide me through installing the latest firmware. Happy Hunting!

November 7, 2012

The router is still going strong. Had a couple of road blocks: switching dorms for the next year and our school's FiberOptic Line upgrade. Both obstacles did not hinder this router and my mac (OSX LION) is still performing flawlessly with the router. Recently opened up some new ports and got a VPN and completely bypassing the school's throttling. To add somethiing else cool, the range on this baby is sweet. We have a coffee shop 3 floors below us. I still get wifi connection on my iphone. Pretty flippin' sweet. Again, totally depends where your router is setup, etc, etc. But this does not cease to amaze me. By now though there are probably better routers out there for the same price. Make sure you get a router that has AOSS or wifi protected setup button. Things like setting up a wireless printer can be such a pain without that function.

Also! Had a wifi enabled brother printer in my room which was a pain to try and manually connect. There is this blue button on the back of the router which basically tells the router to "look for potential wifi devices" (ie. my brother printer) and in less than 2 minutes, I had set up wireless printing in my room! This thing is amazing and I think it's one of my best purchases.

May 17, 2013

Since updating to OSX Mountain Lion, I can no longer use the downloaded program. I cannot open it, make router changes, or change my password. I do not know why...this isn't a power pc program because it worked well with OSX Lion. So to repeat, on the Cisco site, there is NO UPDATE available for the Linksys E2500. For few select routers, there is an update that you can download on the site for OSX Mountain Lion. But NONE for this router. :( I still get connection, but it stinks to not have this program functionality. Just letting others know!
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on October 30, 2011
It dos what it is supposed to do, even though it is refubrished it is in perfect shape. It reboots quite fast I have to say, and most settings change do not require reboot.
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on January 28, 2012
After six years of faithful service I had to retire my beloved Linksys WRT54G router. The next logical step is buy another Linksys product, they are very reliable. The E2500 installed quickly and easily. However my plans were to split my video traffic and Internet traffic. I then ran into a couple of challenges. First, I assumed that my new Sony KDL60EX720 TV supported the 802.11N standard, it did. However the TV will only function on the 2.4 Mhz channel and not on the 5 Mhz channel. Ok, no problem I will place the video traffic on the 2.4 channel and put my Mac(s) printers, iPhones on the 5 Mhz channel.

Then I discovered the very limited range of the 5.0 channel. My daughters Mac is directly one floor above the E2500 router in a wooden framed home and the signal level occasionally falls below a single bar. It looks like the 5.0 channel is well suited for people who live in a studio apartment, not a two story home.

So I have abandoned the 5.0 channel and placed everything on the 2.4 channel and everything works OK, slight improvement over my beloved WRT54G.

UPDATE, March 24, 2012 experimented with changing the 5.0 channels and found a channel (161) that seems to have solved by problem. But overall the speeds that I am seeing on both channels do not improve over my beloved Linksys WRT54G.

FINAL UPDATE: well I am back to the same old problem that I had with the WRT54G, having to power cycle the E2500 every few days. Worked with Cisco "support" for a few weeks without success. Why companies staff their support centers without training the support staff is hard to understand. call Apple Computers and see the comparison. No wonder that Apple is making money and Cisco struggles along.

A good way to judge the reliability of a router is to do a quick search on Craigslist. You will find a large number of E2500 routers for sale, cheap, including mine. So far no offers.
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on December 9, 2011
Good brand and I bought this one for about half the price of a new one. It is working well. It was fairly easy to set up. The router has a sleek look to it, which looks really nice in my modern looking entertainment center. Now I feel I'm updated and should have a quality, reliable, and modern router for a few years. Shipping was fast. It got to me a day earlier than originally what I thought. Overall, this purchase was a great transaction.
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on January 1, 2012
I bought two of these, one for my sister and one for my parents. I installed them both. In both cases the install was a snap. I just ran the enclosed CD and followed the steps.

The routers did already have router names and passwords from previous owners, but using the hardware reset button was not required. I just used the software to reset to defaults.

On the second install I did have one glitch. For some reason the router was not able to get an IP address from the cable modem. However, the software suggested unplugging the cable modem to force the modem to do a reset. This worked fine.

I didn't have to mess with anything else, because the defaults were just fine. It was about as close to being plug and play as can be.

(I should note that both of these installs were as typical as possible. A cable modem, connected to the router, with one WinXP machine connected by ethernet to it.)

The wi-fi worked fine in both owner and guest mode.
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on May 8, 2013
I had a Belkin N600 before this but it was constantly dropping connections when a download happens. I risked buying a refurbished product. As it turned out it's working pretty well so far. The router is similar to N600 in terms of features. It's fast and reliable. I haven't needed to reboot it a single time. It never dropped connection. I hope this lasts long and I will post it if anything goes wrong.
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on January 22, 2014
The item I purchased was not refurbished. It still has the settings from the previous owner. It does not work properly. Keeps cutting in and out constantly.

Seller does not have a way to contact them or leave feedback. I would not recommend purchasing.
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on November 1, 2013
I've been using this router for a couple months now, and I couldn't be happier. It was REALLY easy to set up, and has worked flawlessly since I first turned it on.

Other reviewers can fill you in on the technical details and comparisons to other products, but I would like to point out one particular benefit I have found: this will help with interference from digital baby monitors.

The problem we ran into with our old single-band router was that at night, we couldn't use our Apple TV or iPad to watch Netflix because playback would stop almost every minute, and was difficult to restart. I believe this was because our digital video baby monitor was causing interference.

With this dual-band router up and running, the iPad and AppleTV now work flawlessly when streaming Netflix, even when the monitor is sitting right next to us. Interestingly, my wife's laptop still has playback issues, because its wireless card does not take advantage of dual frequency.

I'm no tech guru, so this could all be coincidence, but if you're having issues with your Internet connection and use a digital video baby monitor that uses the same frequency as your current wireless router, it couldn't hurt to give this dual-band router a try!
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