With more devices connected to the Internet in today’s home, bandwidth can be something of a commodity, especially when it comes to a game. While there are currently several MU-MIMO routers (multiple users, multiple inputs and multiple outputs), they can fail even though they allow more computers, smartphones and IoT devices to use their Internet connection simultaneously. Our Linksys WRT32X review gives you an insight of a game router that takes things one step further with its Killer Prioritization Engine for computers equipped with Killer Networking cards. Read on to see how well it works in a gaming environment
The Linksys WRT32X AC3200 dual-band Wi-Fi gaming router with Killer Prioritization Engine has the following features and specifications:
- Wi-Fi technology
- Dual-band AC3200 MU-MIMO with MU-MIMO, DFS
- 802.11a / g / n / ac
- Wi-Fi speed: AC3200 (N600 + AC2600)
- Wi-Fi Bands: 2.4 and 5 GHz (simultaneous dual-band)
- Wi-Fi range: huge home
- Number of Ethernet ports: 1x Gigabit WAN port, 4 Gigabit LAN ports
- Other ports:
- One (1) USB 3.0 port
- One (1) Combo eSATA / USB 2.0 port
- Antennas: 4x external double-band extractable antennas
- Processor: Dual-core 1.8 GHz
- LED: power, Internet, 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, eSATA, USB1 (USB 2.0), USB2 (USB 3.0), LAN 1-4 (activity / 10/100 Mbps),LAN 1-4 (1 Gbps), WPS
- Wireless encryption: WPA2 Personal
- VPN support: PPTP, IPSec pass
- Compatibility with the storage file system: FAT, NTFS and HFS +
- Easy configuration: browser-based configuration
- Certified operating systems: MacOS (10.X or higher), Windows 7, Windows 8.1 (works with Windows 10)
- Minimum system requirements: Internet Explorer® 8, Safari® 5 (for Mac®), Firefox® 8, Google Chrome
- Security features: WPA2; 128-bit AES link encryption
- Additional information: Open code ready for OpenWrt
- Power supply
- Input: 100-240V ~ 50-60Hz;
- Output: 12V, 3.0A
- Dimensions (LxWxH): 245.87 x 193.80 x 51.82 mm (9.68 x 7.63 x 2.04 in) without antennas
- Weight: 798.32 g (28.16 oz)
WHAT IS IN THE BOX
- Router Linksys WRT32X Wi-Fi Gaming
- Quick Start Guide
- 4 antennas
- Ethernet cable
- Power adapter
When it comes to routers, there are rectangular brick formats and the most elegant type, what I call UFO. The Linksys WRT32X is somewhere in between. Rectangular in shape, the router tilts towards the center to provide attractive angles. The feet are molded into the frame and are thicker and stronger than most, while allowing the router to stand a little higher on your desk, allowing for better airflow underneath. It is also not too big and measures just under 10 “x 8” and just over 2 “tall (not including the antennas).
The front of the router has a main front panel with LED indicators for power consumption, Internet, 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, eSATA, USB1 and USB2. The right panel also has LED indicators for the four Ethernet ports, as well as the WPS indicator. The blue LEDs have a long line design compared to typical points you normally see on a router. In the case of the Ethernet indicators, there is also a blue dot that lights up if the connected device is capable of 1000 Mbps.
The back of the router is where you will find your real ports. Starting from left to right there is an antenna connector followed by the Wi-Fi Protected configuration button, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, the Internet port, a USB 3.0 port, USB 2.0 / eSATA port, reset button, power port, button of ignition and finally a second antenna connector. The other two antennas connect one to each side of the router.
EASY TO USE
When it comes to routers, the Linksys WRT32X is fairly simple to configure and the Quick Start Guide gives you a pretty clear guide. First, turn the antennas in the appropriate places. Next, connect the included Ethernet cable to the INTERNET port of the router and then to the Ethernet (LAN) port of your modem. Finally, using a computer or mobile device, connect to the wireless network as indicated in the Quick Start Guide, enter the temporary password, visit http: //myrouter.local or 192.168.2.1 in your web browser, and follow the instructions in the screen. If you are an advanced user and want to submerge directly, you can also omit the settings on the welcome page and configure the router manually.
As with any router, it is important to be able to customize your configuration. The Linksys WRT32X offers a custom board that is one of the best and cleanest I think I’ve seen on a router. The main panel page shows performance details about your router, including current network traffic, the number of devices currently connected, speed test results, Wi-Fi network information, network storage information, the network forwarding information, ports and VPN client information if so configured.
The Wi-Fi settings page allows you to configure your passwords and wireless network names, as well as enable guest access networks. The Devices page is another useful addition that allows you to see which devices are connected, as well as the IP address. This page also allows you to give each device a descriptive name, which helps with the Prioritization settings window. While the main panel allows you to see the current traffic, it would be nice if the Devices page also shows the current traffic per device.
The Priority Settings section allows you to toggle the traffic prioritization of the Killer enabled device, as well as manually adjust the prioritization of other devices manually. By default, devices that are not compatible with Killer are configured with normal priority; you can configure them to a greater or lesser extent. As you would suppose, the higher the priority, the better access will be given to your device on the internet.
The Speed Test tab allows you to run a speed test from the router which, in turn, is used to determine the bandwidth priority for the devices in your network. The Router Administration tab is simple and allows you to view or change your administrator password, update the firmware, set the time zone and give your router a friendlier name. The External Storage tab allows you to configure your USB or eSATA device to share and configure FTP access if you wish.
In Advanced Settings, you can also configure VPN access, Port Forwarding, DDNS and configure the local and Internet network. In general, you should be able to customize almost any configuration you want with ease. For those who want to customize their configuration, even more, the WRT32X is also open source ready for OpenWrt, although that is something we did not test.
Also, once you have configured the WRT32X, you will see a new router button in your Killer Control Center on your laptop or desktop with Killer Networking cards. This button allows you to log in to your router and see the number of connected devices, as well as to toggle the setting of the Assassin Priority Engine. Unfortunately, this is all you can control from the Killer Control Center, but there is a button to start the user interface of the router that opens the Dashboard in your web browser.
Linksys sent a powerful laptop with Killer Networking functionality to test along with the router: the MSI GT83VR 7RF Titan SLI. Exaggerated, but who should we complain about?
During our initial test phase, the WRT32X systematically launched smartphones and tablets from the network. Since virtually everyone has a smartphone and the excess data rates can be high, this is probably not a problem with the router in your home. In early February, Linksys updated the firmware with a fix and a statement about what was causing the problem.
While you can manually download the firmware, our test unit correctly indicated that there was a firmware update and then downloaded and installed it. After installing the update and rerunning the router for a few days, the previous problems that we found seemed to disappear completely.
So how does it work in a multi-device environment? The first thing I found was that the wireless signal for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks is weaker than other routers. My configuration has my router on the second floor and other routers can provide a complete signal icon for 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. With the Linksys WRT32X, it obtained approximately 75% in the 2.4GHz and 25% in the 5GHz. It is not the end of the world, but I found that the 5 GHz network would be cut and would revert my device to the 2.4GHz network on occasion.
I also have a 100Mbps / 10Mbps network connection, so, in general, I play in a home with between two and four computers, up to four smartphones, a couple of tablets and a console. Linksys recommends the WRT32X for connections of 50Mbps download or less, but we do our best. It took a bit longer to overload the network, but we managed to run a 95 GB installation of an Xbox One game while twisting some large files into another laptop while downloading some Android images.
While this was happening, I turned on Heroes of the Storm since it is easy to monitor the ping times in the game while playing. With the Killer Networking prioritization turned off, I usually see around 65-80 ms of ping time. Even with everything going on, my ping went pretty much as expected. After going into the Killer Networking configuration and activating the prioritization, I verified the speed of the downloads on the other computers and they fell. Speed tests on smartphones in the same network were also a bit lower. Shooting another round of Heroes and my ping was also reduced to 30ms.
So, as you can see, even in a faster network, depending on the amount of traffic that is going on, the WRT32X can still make a difference when it comes to a computer with Killer Networking hardware on board. Although the router prioritizes Killer Networking traffic when it is enabled, you may not want to slow down traffic to all other devices in your network at the same time. Fortunately, Linksys thought about this and allowed you to prioritize devices per device so that those devices do not accelerate while your Killer Networking device is in use.
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Linksys WRT AC3200 Open Source Dual-Band Gigabit Smart Wireless Router with MU-MIMO, Tri-Stream 160 (WRT3200ACM)
With an MSRP of $ 299.99USD, the Linksys WRT32X game router is not one of the cheapest solutions available. However, if you have a slower network and have a computer or laptop with a Killer Networking card, you will see some performance increases with it.
If you have a Killer Network-enabled computer and a slower Internet connection that interferes with your game, the Linksys WRT32X game router will help prioritize network traffic and speed while playing. This depends to a large extent on the speeds of your network and if you have higher speeds (any value higher than 50 Mbps), the prioritization is probably not a big concern.