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Written by Carl 'lowlight' Nelson [07.25.00]
***Please read Part 1 if you haven't yet.***
Manufactured by: ZyXEL, Umax, Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, Nexland, and MacSense
Suggested Retail Price Price: Varies - $100-200
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Linksys BEFSR41

In Part One, the 1 port version of this router came in second place overall, because of its low price, and it was easy to set up and maintain.  This one retails for around $50 more than the one port, and I'm sure I'm not the first to tell you that this is an excellent buy for the price.

FOR the price...

I'll be comparing this to the ZyXEL Prestige 310, because in my perspective, that is the main competition.  The BEFSR41 needs to do something special to beat ZyXEL out for first place.

1. Ease of Installation

This is the same setup screen used by most of the html-based routers; Linksys did a good job of keeping everything on one page though.  The problem? It isn't very advanced.  For example, if you want to specify your own DNS servers, you have to set up everything else as static as well... Things like that is what keeps it behind the ZyXEL and even the Netgear (if you don't mind using Telnet, which I've actually grown to like).

For the basic user though, the Linksys can't be beat.  If ZyXEL hadn't recently dropped the price on its Prestige 310, the BEHSR41 might have had a chance at #1.  As it is though, the 4 port will take the 1 port's place at #2.

2. Value

Have a look on IBuyer's search engine, (here's a direct link) and you'll find the BEFSR41 for about $150.  That's good, because the MSRP is $200! At $50 more than the BEFSR11 (1 port version) this is outstanding value for a full duplex 10/100 SWITCHING hub!

What holds it from #1? For a limited time only, you can buy the Pretige 310 directly from ZyXEL for $159.00!!! That is almost 50% off the MSRP! That is an A+ in value in our books.  Look for a 4 port version of the Prestige announced soon (and reviewed here soon as well!).

Want to see the full picture? Click for high resolution.

3. Virtual Server Setup

The Virtual Server setup threw me off a bit... Linksys calls it 'forwarding' in their system... Either way, it's the same thing...

Again, a simple technique here; just type in the port you want to open, and the IP of the computer you are opening on.  Note that there is a list of commonly used ports.  Even better would be a way to select these ports without having to type them in... Also note that there is no IP browse function.  That only really matters if you have a lot of PC's running under the router though...

4. Flash Upgrading

No serial cable required here! Just head to Linksys' page, download the latest firmware, run the EXE, and enter the IP of the router, and path to the firmware file.  Done!

5. Taste Test

  • Ease of Installation: A Easy as it gets: Plug the unit in, browse to it, enter your userid, and you're on! Plenty of settings to change as well.
  • Value: B Even better than the 1 port version! A 10/100 Switch is included for only $50 more! No cables are included, but that should be reflected in the price.
  • Virtual Server Setup: B Still no protocol selection, but I anticipate all routers having this feature with future firmware upgrades, if they don't already.
  • Flash Upgrading: B Almost as simple as it gets.  No Serial cable required either, which is nice.

Overall: B / 85% (Not scaled to out normal grading system)

Sorry, we screwed up and deleted all the pics we had of the BEFSR41.  Sorry.  It looks very similar to the 1 port version though, in case you're wondering :-).

Next: Security!

Cable/xDSL Router Shootout Part 2 Table of Contents:

Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: Nexland ISB2LAN-H4
Page 3: MacSense XRouter PRO MIH-130
Page 4: Linksys BEFSR41
Page 5: Security!
Page 6: ZyXEL and Netgear: Twin Brothers?
Page 7: Features/Comparative Matrix/Conclusion

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