When it comes to school supplies, in 2011, Back-to-School means a lot more than just paper, crayons and pencils. Technology is a HUGE part of our childrens’ lives AND educations. Whether they attend public or private school or are homeschooled, our kids work with computers, the Internet and related technology on a daily basis. As parents, knowing which equipment they need, has value and is reliable, can sometimes be a challenge.
I wouldn’t call myself a techie, by any stretch of the imagination, but let’s just say our family has been using home computers since before there was a Windows. 🙂 Our two oldest daughters did elementary school on a green screen monitor and in MS-DOS. In first grade our second daughter was typing game codes out in BASIC, to install them, before she could play. She even wrote a few programs in that ancient language.
I upload, download, install software and troubleshoot basic computer problems (and for tough ones I have built-in personal tech support from two learned brothers-in-law!). I have no problems opening up and upgrading computers, installing memory, new CD drives or hard drives and I can install most peripherals without much difficulty. I have a rough idea of what internal components I want when I’m looking for a new computer and I taught myself HTML back in 1997, so I could build a curriculum business website. I can FTP files where I want them to go and after some training from my kids, I Facebook and Twitter with the best of them. I connected and secured our home network for our PC, 4 laptops, 2 game systems and wireless printer. I don’t tell you all these things to boast, but to establish a modicum of credibility when it comes to discussing a topic that we haven’t covered in much depth, here at Busy-at-Home, home computing. Now, that I have established, that, I want you to understand that I know very little about the technical side of making an internet connection faster. I just know that I expect it. 🙂
What I do know, with absolute certainty, is that when it comes to Internet speed and reliability, I’m sort of a snob. I don’t know how to make it happen, but I certainly expect my ISP and equipment to deliver it. lol With all the jobs I do in our home, plus homeschooling and blogging, plus the activities I and our kids are involved in outside of home, I have no patience with slow or unreliable Internet connections. Whether I am uploading pictures to edit for the blog or the kids are doing research for a school project or even just streaming some video, I need it to work and I need it quick. We could never go back, now that we have had cable internet for so many years. There is simply no comparison in the speeds between it and even the best dial-ups. However, no matter how fast your cable ISP can feed the connection TO your equipment, the equipment you run it through can definitely make a huge difference in the speed you actually experience as you are computing. So, one, you need a quality, high-speed modem and two, if you are like our family, running a huge network of computers, peripherals, game systems, iPads and fancy phones, you need a fabulous router. You need a router that disseminates that signal to each and every device with speed and reliability.
We have used a Cisco Linksys router for years, to network our equipment. We’ve always been pleased with it’s speed and reliability — until Monday. That was the day I hooked up our router’s super-buff big brother; and I believe I have achieved a whole new level of Internet speed expectations. 🙂 The Linksys E4200 Router from Cisco already had me impressed, right out of the box. It’s sleek and modern and super lightweight. It looked great, but we all know that looks are only skin deep. It’s what’s inside that counts! I resolved to get it connected and set up. This “laborious” process took me close to … 10 minutes! And, that’s only because I was stopping to take
blurry less than optimally focused pictures of every single step! My only issue, in the process, was getting my camera to take a sharp image of the computer monitor. The router setup was a cinch! Cisco nailed the simplicity factor on this one! My ThisMoment slideshow will walk you through the process, step-by-step, with pictures. Click here to view the full-screen slideshow tutorial.
For those hard core, true techies out there, here are the specs on the Linksys E4200 wireless router.
|Bands:||Simultaneous 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz|
|Transmit / receive:||3 x 3|
|Ethernet ports x speed:||4 x Gigabit|
|USB storage port:||Yes, Shared Storage, Virtual USB and Media Server|
|Software setup:||CD Install|
|Cisco Connect software:||Yes|
|Support:||24/7 Award-winning Online Support Resources
90 days Complimentary Assisted Support
|Warranty:||1 year hardware limited warranty|
|OS Compatibility:||Windows, Mac|
|Minimum System Requirements:||Internet Browser: Internet Explorer 7, Safari 4 or Firefox 3 or higher for optional browser-based configuration
PC: Wi-Fi enabled PC with CD or DVD drive, running Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP1 or later, or Windows 7
Mac: Wi-Fi enabled Mac with CD or DVD drive, running OS X Leopard 10.5 or Snow Leopard 10.6
|Package Contents:||Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Wireless-N Router
CD-ROM with setup software and resources
Ethernet network cable
And this is just a teaser of the many features:
- Simultaneous Dual-Band N (2.4 & 5 GHz)
- Gigabit Ethernet 4-port switch
- Maximum speed up to 300 + 450 Mbps
- USB port for shared storage
- Built-In UPnP AV media server
According to Cisco, “The Linksys E4200 wireless router is perfect for anyone interested in building the ultimate connected home. The E4200 is the first building block that can handle gaming consoles, HDTV streaming video, Roku boxes, eReaders, smartphones, and any other wireless device that needs screaming connectivity. Also, with back to school fast approaching, now is a great time for parents to make sure their homes are well-equipped for their kids to succeed academically and maximize learning from home to school. A simple and cost-effective way to make the home an ideal learning environment is to transform the home into a learning hotspot with home wireless.
Today’s middle and high school students have grown up with mobile technology and feel most comfortable in a wireless environment for anytime/anywhere studying, interactive web research, easy collaboration and communication and parent accessibility. The wireless home learning environment also more closely aligns with how they use technology at school. The Linksys E4200 Router from Cisco lets parents easily set, use and manage their own home wireless. The E4200 is also perfect for college students setting up wireless in their first home away from home.”
For our family, homeschooling, blogging or just surfing the web, the Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N Router improves our efficiency, because it has improved our network speed. I still don’t understand all the technical jargon on Internet speed. I just know mine is much faster. I truly did consider that maybe I was just so excited, I was seeing an increase that I wanted to see; but I was completely convinced of the truth of it, when our 15-year-old son wanted to know if I had “tweeked” his computer while he was at work. According to him, “Everything is running better and faster.” My husband echoed the same conclusion, when he got home from work. This is one piece of technology I can endorse with confidence. Our family loves it!
The Giveaway: Cisco has generously sponsored a giveaway of the Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N Router for our Busy-at-Home Back-to-School Roundup!
You must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter. Mandatory entry must be completed before any optional entries will be counted. Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org. Deadline for entry is midnight (CST), Sunday, August 21, 2011.
How many computers and devices are there in your home network? Do you use it for school? work? blogging? games? How would a faster network connection help you? Leave a comment below with your answers.
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I received a Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N Router, in order to test it and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As always, at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.