Cisco should be ashamed

Aug 14, 2012 (Updated Aug 15, 2012)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Easy to set up; plays nice with most wireless devices

Cons:Unreliable; maddening; stress-inducing; could lead to stomach ulcers

The Bottom Line: Stay the heck away from this thing. If you buy one, you will regret it and that's guaranteed.

Let's get this out of the way -- this router may say Linksys on it, but we all know the truth. Cisco can't get away from the fact that this is a Cisco-branded router and that company deserves all the anger directed toward it that this piece of garbage generates.

I wound up with one of these a couple of years ago when I thought my solid, reliable Belkin 54g router had given up the ghost. When I brought the Cisco router (excuse me -- Linksys) router home I tried "one more thing" with the Belkin before replacing it. That "one more thing" worked out just fine, so I decided to keep the Cisco (excuse me -- Linksys) as a spare.

So, time went on and the Belkin kept chugging along. Yes, things were going great -- I've got a fast broadband connection through cable, I've got a Pogoplug that's streaming media all over the house and everything was working fine. Of course, what happens when you get all the components in a wireless network working harmoniously together? That's right -- something breaks. A couple of days ago, the Belkin died after six years of reliable service.

"No problem," I thought. "I've got that Linksys around here somewhere. I can just plug that in and everything will be fine."

Well, I plugged in the Linksys and set it up, but everything wasn't fine. In fact, that awful router folds faster than Superman on laundry day and absolutely delights in dropping Internet connections about once every hour. Yes, I've messed with about every setting I can think of, have used those "miracle cures" that are all over the place on Cisco/Linksys forums and I've even abandoned the "fake-N" speeds in hopes of setting up a router that will at least run competently at wireless G and B speeds. Nothing has worked. I'm left with the conclusion that this thing is just garbage.

And, yes, I did set the router up according to the factory directions by plugging the thing into my computer, plopping in the included CD and going through all the recommended steps. I wound up with a router that worked pretty well initially but dropped wireless connections and/or Internet access throughout my home. Since that failed, I tried starting from scratch -- restoring the router to its factory settings, reflashing it with the latest firmware and setting it up manually through my Web browser. Again, I got something that seemed to work OK for about an hour and then completely failed. I've tweaked every setting I can think of, have prowled around forums looking for advice and the result is always the same -- it works OK for a bit, but ultimately fails. No matter what I do to this router, the results are always the same -- dropped wireless connections, intermittent Internect connectivity and a lot of cursing.

Still interested in this dog of a router? Well, here are the good things about it. For one thing, it is very easy to set up through either the included CD or Web access. Honestly, you don't really need the CD -- it tends to take a bit of time to work through and tries to stick you with some admin software you don't really need. The easiest way to set this up is to simply open a browser, head to the router's address (, set up the SSID so you can easily identify the router when connecting devices to it and then setting up admin and access passwords. For most people, that ought to be enough to get up and running -- connecting wireless devices to it is as easy as identifying the router and then banging in a password.

Ah, but the thing about the Linksys is that it doesn't stay up and running and that's a major problem. If you want a router that connects and reconnects at random, requires constant attention and behaves like a stubborn, illogical child, then the Linksys WRT120N is for you. Most of us, I suspect, just want to set something up and have it work, however. The Linksys fails completely in that regard. Spend a little extra cash and get something that doesn't suck.

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