Tech

Review: Linksys WRT32X – A necessity for ADSL gamers

Arguably the most common complaint from Australian gamers is how unreliable and slow our internet can be. And while the NBN has done a lot to combat this, a large portion of gamers still find themselves on ADSL/2+ connections that are weak in both bandwidth and speed. As the rest of the EFTM team have been graced with decent internet connections, I decided to have a go at the Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router to see just how much a router can change the Australian internet experience.

The good

  • The prioritization system is incredibly effective.
  • 5GHz Wi-Fi band really goes the distance.
  • Easy to operate user interface.

The bad

  • Very expensive – most won’t fork out for it.

The verdict

The Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router is an exceptional product that does exactly what it claims to do. The prioritization is brilliant, separate wireless networks are phenomenal and it’s also just really nice to look at. It’s arguably a necessity for ADSL gamers but retailing for $449, I’m not sure how many will be willing to budget for this beast.

PREFACE

Two quick things that have to be noted for the less geeky – a router cannot physically give you more speed or bandwidth than what you’re already receiving. Given, a rubbish modem/router may be restricting your speed, but the connection you have from your ISP is set to a certain maximum speed and bandwidth. What a router like the WRT32X can do however is prioritize certain devices and networks so that you can make the most out of the connection you have.

The other thing is that the Linksys WRT32X is a router and NOT a modem-router. This means you will need a modem if you don’t already own one. The modem is the part of your network that converts the incoming internet signal from your provider and converts it to a digital format your devices can understand. The router (such as this one) is responsible for distributing that converted signal to all of your devices. Hopefully I didn’t lose you there, but I promise that’s as nerdy as this review gets.

PRIORITIZATION

The biggest and most important functionality of the Linksys WRT32X is the ‘Killer Prioritization’ as they call it. It’s essentially the only reason to spend this amount of money on a router, but trust me, it’s life changing. I’ve trialled two other routers that were roughly ~$200 each, but naturally neither of them could compare to what the WRT32X can do in this space.

On ADSL and ADSL2+, bandwidth is severely limited. In my case, to the point where if anyone else in the house were to browse Facebook or pull up a YouTube video, my connection would drop from average to crippling. The prioritization system in the WRT32X is not only really easy to use, but incredibly effective.

And it operates just as advertised. If you drop something into the ‘low’ category, and bump your preferred gaming device into the ‘top’ category you’ll find the low devices have such a minimal impact on bandwidth, it’s almost as if they’re off… Now in the case of ADSL, if you put a device meant to use bandwidth such as a Telstra TV or a Chromecast into the ‘low’ category, you might find it too restricted to actually getting any content through – but have a play and you’ll find a happy medium.

2.4GHZ VS 5GHZ

As any high-end router, the WRT32X has two separate wireless networks to cover your property. The average 2.4GHz works well for the devices nearest your router; the computers, TV streaming services, etc. While your long-range 5GHz network works flawlessly for those devices that either move around the property or are quite some distance from the router; phones, wireless cameras, etc.

USER-INTERFACE

A really well developed feature of the WRT32X is the user-interface (GUI if you will), making configuration unbelievably simple. The pages are as straightforward as;

The design has definitely been targeted towards gamers with the slick shapes and dark, modern colour scheme, but I have no problems with that… it kinda looks cool…

MISC

The setup process for the WRT32X was wildly quick and easy. The packaging points you toward a url that essentially walks you through the whole process. In total it took about five minutes.

A feature that some might find humdrum – the packaging – was done exceptionally well to the point where I’m including a photo;

While packaging isn’t something to write home about, this is just beautiful. And must as the GUI does, really panders to the target market of gamers.

You’ll find the Linksys WRT32X at JB Hi-Fi for $449. Paying that much for a router might seem insane, but to a gamer that’s had dodgy internet connections his whole life, I would put down the money for this bad boy.

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Review: Linksys WRT32X – A necessity for ADSL gamers
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