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Basic Router with No Admin ToolsPosted
Overall A very basic router that the average user will be fine with. The router has a quad-band, 4 adjustable antenna's, 4 ethernet ports, USB 3.0, 1 eSata and easy setup. It has a packet prioritization with gimmick name "Killer". I call it a gimmick because with a packet sniffer not all traffic is routed properly. There were many package collision and rebroadcasts. Which brings me to the largest negative is the limited to no administrative tools. I feel without these tools you can not see/know if the functions and features of the router are working properly. PROS - Easy Setup USB 2 and eSATA Connection Turn off Network Activity Lights CONS - Price per features offered Dashboard Not Real Time, information incorrect in some sections Unable to Hide SSID Unable to disable 2.4 GHz Band Unable to increase or decrease broadcast rate / band / hops Unable to power boost the signal Unable to individually modify each antenna (Band) for signal rate/boost Unable to set Guest Access in DMZ (Outside Intranet/Firewall) Unable to set time limit for Guest Access, have to turn on/off manually Unable to see signal strength of wireless devices Unable to see transfer connection rate of wireless devices Unable to see connected device details "Killer" Prioritization app only works 70% (does not even have self-reporting tools, I had to use a 3rd party packet sniffer) Packet Collision, multi packet rebroadcast Unable to perform router trace to devices for network troubleshooting Unable to provide real time monitor/status logs Unable to provide firewall status Unable to export router configuration settings incase needing to restore router Hardware- The unit itself is aesthetically pleasing slim and can fit in most places. The lights on the unit are bright blue however you are able to turn them off if you wish. The spacing between USB / eSATA and Ethernet Cables make it easy to hook up and manage the cabling. The power cord is not very long so recommend it close to a power source as well as the power adapter being pretty bulky. - Software - Unfortunately this is where it fails pretty heavily. The initial setup wizard is easy and nice for the entry level user who wishes to just plug it in and go. However from that point forward it pretty much goes downhill. ** Dashboard provides a layout of Network Traffic, Devices, and WIFI Networks. However only the Network Traffic is real time, Devices do not update to know when one disconnects and the WIFI Networks does not properly display the 5GHz band. You have to refresh the page or go out and back in to see the updated devices. ** WIFI Settings provides ability to rename 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. You are not able to hide your SSID or disable the 2.4 band if not being used. You can select the WIFI Channel width, which for advance users know how beneficial that is. You are not able to increase or decrease broadcast rate / band / hops or boost the signal. You are not able to individually modify each antenna (Band) for signal rate/boost. You do have an option for a guest access however it is not in DMZ, the guest will be within your network behind your firewall and you cannot set a time limit. ** Devices section provides a simple layout of all devices connected to the router. It displays an icon to indicate if it is either a wired or wireless connection. This section does not update in real time and need to either refresh or back out / back in to see the updated devices. It does not provide signal strength of wireless devices. It does not provide the transfer connection rate of wireless devices. You are unable to click on the device to provide details of the connected device. You are able to edit the device name to match what you like. ** Prioritization section allows you do give devices priority using the "killer" app method. Using a packet sniffer I have found this works about 70% of the time. The more devices you have on the network the hard it is for the application to properly prioritize traffic. There are times where it did not function at all and delays are noticeable when streaming. ** Speedtest allows your to check your internet speed with your ISP. So far it appears to not provide any benefits for the router itself. Even through the "Killer" prioritization app says it will use the speed test as a metric to prioritize devices I found it was not the case. I tested by forcing different ISP speeds using a 3rd party device. I tested with speeds 1G , 500MB and 200MB. Using packet monitoring software, prioritization remained the same. ** Advance Settings is where you find some of the normal abilities you can modify for your network. You are able to setup port forwarding, Static IP Reservation, VPN Client, Access the external USB/eSATA storage items, assign specifiv non-routable ip's (strongly recommended) and DDNS/ISP settings ** Router Administration is where it fails miserably, you can change the router name/password, update firmware, download a router log (contains limited information) and turn off router activity lights. For the price of this router I would expect at least the basic admin tools. There is no trace route ability, device monitor/status logs, no firewall status, no audit tools, no logging tools / filter, no router config file export ability (incase you need to restore router settings) and more advance admin tools missing. The ASUS router that is cheaper and only have a tri-band (3 antennas) has more capabilities then this.
No, I would not recommend this to a friend
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This really is a "killer" gaming router!Posted
I've been looking for a wireless AC low ping gaming router capable of providing better coverage for my large house. I am a heavy gamer who plays games on the PC, PS4 Pro and Xbox One so the demands on a router for low latency are high. I also have a lot of devices, over 20, that run concurrently on my router so I need one that can manage all of those devices and never slow down. My current router prior was an ASUS Wireless N RT-N66U and although I had no issues with it in games whatsoever the coverage for my large, nearly 3000 square foot house was a problematic issue. I wanted to move to something that provided far better wi-fi coverage, could give me great ping times and would play nicely with all of my gaming systems. That led me to the WRT32X by Linksys... When I received the Linksys WRT32X the first thing that impressed me was the sheer size and weight of it. Compared to my old router, and well just about any router I've ever owned, it was utterly huge. Be aware of the size if you plan to mount this somewhere prominent because it will take up significant space. Wisely Linksys has put mounting options for nails, screws or whatever on the bottom of each of the four feet on the router to make wall mounting easy. The router aesthetically is quite beautiful with mostly blacks and grey tones. It has moderately bright blue lights but in a nice design decision all of those lights can be turned off with a simple selection in the router interface. This option to turn off the lights I think is a theme that Linksys tried to take complaints from previous routers and correct those mistakes for the WRT32X. But before we go on I must say that the way that the WRT32X was packaged reminded me a lot of a high end Apple products. Using an easy open flip up box to display a lot of foam and padding to protect the router, very simple and subtle inserts and just how it was overall packaged presented it as a work of art. Yes, this is an expensive router but when you open the box and start unpacking it you feel like it's a top end product! Setting up a new router for many techies is a mixture of dread and utter excitement so with a mixture of both of those I began the process. First up was doing multiple speed and latency tests with my current Asus router to get a baseline. In doing so I made a note of coverage areas and where the Asus router was failing. Even with two extenders the Asus struggled to cover the far side of my home, especially on the lower levels. I wavered at 1 to 2 bars of wireless coverage in that area and my hope was the new Linksys would be able to provide a solid 3 bar experience. After doing multiple wireless tests I had a baseline of speed, latency and coverage so I began the process of disconnecting my old router and replacing it with the Linksys. Upon turning the router using the dedicated switch (nice touch!) on I went back to my wired PC and pointed my browser to 192.168.1.1. The browser immediately brought up an interface from Linksys and it greeted me with a "congratulations on using the Linksys WRT32X, let's begin..." setup message. The router began the setup by checking for a firmware update, which it found and downloaded automatically. Also of note is that every night the router will automatically check for firmware updates, automatically download those and install them on its own as well. Next, the setup guide will ask you what you want your admin interface password to be. After that it will simply ask you to rename your wi-fi network. The Linksys combines the 2.4ghz and 5ghz networks into one and will automatically determine which network your wireless device can utilize best but you can, if you desire, separate the networks as well. Once into the actual router admin interface I was surprised to see the most elegant interface. All pertinent information is clearly visible and displayed in a logical manner. On first glance you may be a bit concerned that information is lacking but at the bottom of nearly every option is a "more settings" that you can click on to open up more options. This is clearly, without a doubt, the best router interface I have ever seen in my roughly 25 years or so of using routers. It even has an option to change your DNS settings easily to Google or OpenDNS just by clicking on an option! Again, it's just an example of the thought that Linksys has put into making this router both powerful and easy to use for common users as well as power users alike. One complaint I do have is that MAC addresses are not displayed in the router table. So I called Linksys and after a very short amount of time on hold the phone was answered by a woman. When I asked about the MAC address she said that they were aware, that it was not currently an option and that this was a design decision. I told her they should consider adding this as an option and she said she would add it to their suggestions. Another slight issue is that in some areas of the routers interface when you make a change, save and then go to leave to go to another part of the interface it will ask you if you want to "discard or continue with your changes". My last issue is that there is no app at all for iOS for this router. Hopefully an iOS app will be provided sooner rather than later. Getting back to the positives I particularly liked the fact that on the QOS screen you can simply drag and drop priority level when defining priority levels. Everything is, by default, dumped into normal priority but you can, for example, grab your PS4 Pro from the list of devices and dump it into high priority and have just configured the QOS. I know some folks may want specific numeric indicators but I am fine with defining QOS by high, medium and low levels and I believe most folks will be as well. Just about everything in the interface is designed for ease of use and again, I cannot say enough about how much I like it. After everything was setup in the router, which took about 45 minutes, I began the process of running coverage, speed and latency tests. First of all I am happy to report that this router gave me 3 bar coverage all over the full range of my large, five bedroom, three story house. The areas in which my previous router were 1 to 2 bars were filled with a fast and 3 bar signal by the Linksys WRT32X. The worst area went from 1mbps download to 13mbps download. Next was speed and speed remained about the same as my previous router. On to the last area and that is latency. As gamers know we all need latency to be low. Well here the WRT32X excelled and beat my previous router, consistently giving me about 5 milliseconds better latency in every test that I did. This was the case in both wi-fi and wired. In general my previous router did not cause me any issues and gaming ran well at about 25ms ping time but this router cut it down to below 20ms, usually coming in around 17-18ms ping time. So in that respect the WRT32X overdelivers on its promise to cut your ping times. On to actually testing out the games. I play PC games, PS4 Pro games and Xbox One S game and all are wired connections. I played some games on all of them and had zero issues with any lag in anything that I played. I will say though that on my connection from my ISP, which is 100mbps down and 10mbps up, that I had never really had any issues with my old router in regards to lag. So with this router providing better ping times I certainly wasn't expecting any problems and after playing none cropped up. If you game wirelessly I imagine you will see better results as well considering my ping times decreased there but I did not try gaming wirelessly. Games that I tested included racing, fighting and sports games, all of which require low latency. Also of note and one that may be of particular concern to Xbox gamers is that this router consistently provided me with an OPEN Nat without requiring any special port forwarding or setup of any kind. If you're tearing your hair out with your gaming Xbox One NAT being strict or moderate with your current router you will not have this issue with the WRT32X. So bottom line, is this a good router for the money or not? If you are a gamer, unequivocally I can say yes that it is. All in all I'm glad that this is my router going forward and I will likely be using this Linksys for the next few years as my main router to run my 20-25 networking devices. Great job and major kudos to Linksys on designing such a "killer" router. I would highly recommend.
I would recommend this to a friend