For a few days I had been trying to figure out an issue in my home. It was really bugging me, and I just couldn’t pinpoint the source of the problem! I was trying to get my downstairs computer to communicate with my upstairs computer, and namely the printer upstairs. The printer itself is wireless, so there should be no reason the computers couldn’t talk to it. All computers involved had Windows 7, and all computers were on the internet just fine. Each computer could see the wireless router, each computer could see the Xbox and the DirecTV (both of which are plugged directly into the router). Yet, none of them could see each other!
I tried changing which computer was the host for the Homegroup, nada. I tried to find each computer based on their IP address, nada. No matter what I did, all computers could see the router and the internet, but none could see the other computers on the network. If the computer can see the router, and access the internet, the router couldn’t be the problem… could it? The answer was YES! I started researching a new router and came across the Linksys E4200 by Cisco. Admittedly, I drooled a little when I came across it. It looks really gorgeous, it’s thin and black and sleek looking, and would look perfect with all of my other entertainment related hardware.
The router arrived, and I was excited to see if it really was going to fix my network issue in my home. I plugged it in and started to configure it. I had a complaint about an earlier version of the Linksys router, that I was unable to turn off the guest access after I had configured the router using the web interface of it. I’m happy to report that this has been resolved, and the guest access has been added to the web interface. Whenever I get a new router, I change the default IP address of the router. Typically they ship with an IP address of 192.168.1.1. I like to change it so that it doesn’t conflict with other networks, and so it is harder to discover from the outside. I do a different one each time, like 192.168.30.1 or 192.168.35.1. Just whatever I’m feeling. I was able to set everything up exactly the way I wanted to. If you don’t have the extensive networking knowledge that I do, there is a simple CD that you put in your computer and it will set up your network, securely, for you!
So the question on everyone’s mind…. did it fix my networking problem? YES it did! As soon as I got the network all set up, I went back to my computer to see if it was finally able to see the other computers on the network, and especially the printer, which was the whole point to begin with. I was able to see the router, the Xbox, and all those computers that were missing from my network before. I was able to set up my Homegroup in Windows 7, and they are all communicating perfectly!
I had a good router before, so the difference in the internet connection is hard to say. It’s a bit faster, but I’m not blown away by the speed. I’m still able to watch Netflix in HD just fine, and YouTube videos playback quickly without a need for the download to “catch up” with the video.
Another fun thing about the router is that you can plug in an external hard drive. Here is what’s great about that. You can put all of your videos, music, pictures, etc on the external hard drive and plug it into the router. Every computer and device on your network will be able to access your music no matter which computers are turned on. In a normal network, in order to access the music on one computer, it has to be turned on. This way you can save power by not having to keep your desktop computer with all the music files turned on, and just access them all from the router!
As opposed to last time, I really don’t have any complaints about this router. It’s been quietly working for me, AND resolved my issue!
Disclosure: I contacted Cisco to see if they would send me the router to help resolve my issue, and they (thankfully) obliged. So, I was given the router for free, but no other compensation for this post was given, and all opinions and networking issues were my own.
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