Linksys 4-Port Broadband Router (BEFSR41)

The product reviewed was purchased for use in a home network environment with an ADSL connection. This requires a separate ADSL bridge or router. An Efficient SpeedStream 5660 DSL Router operating in bridge mode was utilized for this interface. In addition to web browsing and e-mail, a small personal web server was also setup on one of the attached systems.

For the most simple applications, this device might be barely sufficient. For use with any setup that requires PPPoE, the Linksys defaults are incorrect. The firmware that came with the product had a defect that was reported as fixed in the latest firmware. When selecting PPPoE, the system was defaulting to a maximum frame size of 1500. When using PPPoE, the maximum frame size over the PPoE connection is 1492. This is what the firmware was updated to use as the default. Unfortunately, this does not work. By experimenting with different values, it was determined that a value of 1470 worked and allowed http and ssh protocols to function across the Linksys router.

Because the system had previously been setup using a linux system as a firewall/NAT/router system, the SpeedStream 5660 had been setup with an internal interface IP address of and the management of the SpeedStream was via a web interface to that address. Because of this, it was decided that the WAN port of the Linksys should be changed to match this rather than reconfiguring the SpeedStream and having to change the management interface IP address. Being unable to find any way to do this, we contacted Linksys customer support.

The customer support at Linksys obviously did not read the initial request and just sent out the standard response (reset/reboot). After several attempts to get across that we wanted to change the IP address on the WAN port and getting various responses telling us to just reset our other equipment to the defaults, we finally got a response telling us how to change the address on the WAN port. Unfortunately, it was the MAC address not the IP address even though the question clearly stated we wanted to change the IP address.

It would appear that the support people at Linksys do not have a very good understanding of even basic networking fundamentals. They did not appear interested in providing an answer to the questions, rather, they were more interested in shifting the problem to someone else's system.

Finally, we gave up and changed the address on the SpeedStream to which is the only address Linksys will talk to and got the Linksys to work. However, we had lost the ability to talk directly to the SpeedStream 5660 DSL router. In order to configure that device you must either use a serial port connected to the device or you must disconnect the device from the Linksys, connect it directly to the hub or, with a cross-over RJ-45, directly to a PC. The PC must then be reconfigured to an IP address in the 10.x.x.x subnet to be able to talk to the SpeedStream.

An additional problem that we discovered is that the Web based interface to the Linksys does not work with many web browsers. Unless you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer it will probably not be possible to administer the system. There is no command line interface either via telnet or a direct connect serial port.

As a result of all of this, the LinkSys 4-Port Broadband router cannot be recommended as a product worth purchasing. The product interface was poor, the features were minimal and insufficient and the support was useless.

The e-mail exchange with their support group is archived here.