Linksys BEFSR41 EtherFast Cable/DSL Router

To make a long story short, I was impressed with how smooth the setup and configuration went. Just to give you an idea:
I moved my cable modem to a different room, I moved my existing hub to a different room, I plugged in the router and connected it to the cable modem and hub and PCs, I installed a new network card in my wife’s PC and installed the old network card in a test machine, I reconfigured the TCP/IP Properties for two desktops and a laptop to use this new network configuration, I configured the router as described earlier, then tested a battery of programs that access the Internet to make sure it works. Everything worked on the first try and I was done with this in 90 minutes, including cleaning up the mess I made and moving furniture back where it belongs and placing it strategically to hide a hole in the wall from my spousal unit. I’m pretty confident to say that without all the extra work I did, it would probably take you less than 30 minutes to set this up.

Performance

Once this new toy was in place, everything plugged in, all lights green, it was time to test it. While I didn’t perform any scientific benchmarks, I did try downloading a big file from a relatively fast server to see if there was any performance degradation. The Linksys router passed this first test with flying colors, I saw the same download speeds of 500-600 KBs before and after installation. Again, I was a happy camper.

Then of course it was time to see if any programs would balk at the new configuration, so I fired up the following apps:

  • Internet Explorer 5.01
  • Outlook Express
  • Yahoo Messenger
  • WS_FTP
  • SecureCRT
  • mIRC32
  • Windows Media Player
  • Quake 3 Arena
  • Unreal Tournament

Except for Roger Wilco and the two games, every single application performed flawlessly without a single hitch. The snag I ran into with Roger Wilco was that it uses your IP address to identify you when you create a server, which won’t work anymore from behind the firewall, but you can still use it as a client. This was to be expected though.

A bigger problem I experienced with the games, though. For some reason, after 5, 10, 15 minutes of random game play, the connection was suddenly dropped and I found myself either back at the Windows desktop or in the main menu of the game. Checking the Internet connection showed that everything was still connected, up and running fine. I could still browse the web, check e-mail etc. I was also able to reconnect to the game right away – only to be disconnected after a short while of game play. When I reconfigured my setup and connected directly through my cable modem, everything was rock solid, I could play for hours. After trying everything I could think of to remedy this, including putting the PC into the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), using port forwarding, upgrading the firmware, replacing the unit with another one, etc. without success, I contacted technical support who was completely clueless and couldn’t have been any less helpful. This issue was never resolved and therefore prevents me from giving this box an Excellent! rating.

Conclusion

After experimenting with this puppy for a while, I have to say I’m impressed. It shows that home networking is taken seriously and network companies offer good products to make home networking easy and safe. The Linksys router is easy to set up, performs flawlessly, offers plenty of features for the home user, and is a pleasure to work with. However, if you’re a gamer, then I would be careful and make sure you keep the receipt in case you run into the same problems I did. Otherwise, this box is a good performer. I’ve installed this box in several home and office environments with both DSL and cable modem, and have yet to hear a complaint. If you are in the market for a home network to share your DSL or Cable modem, forget about software firewalls, proxy/gateway software, and expensive additional IP addresses. This bad boy will take care of everything for you.

 

Submitted by: Alex

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