Linksys WRT 320N

Madana Prathap 2010-06-09
78 Good
Price: Rs 8,999

Full Review

The WRT 320N is a dual-band wireless-N Gigabit router from Linksys and has a few features less in comparison to their WRT610N. The primary differences are that it looks slightly more compact, does not have a USB port, and cannot simultaneously operate two radio bands.

As with its more full-featured sibling, some might say the WRT320N is shaped like a flying saucer. It is designed with a black and grey glossy finish, and can only be placed on a horizontal surface or wall-mounted. The front panel has indicators for power, uplink (Internet), wireless, WPS button and 4 LAN ports. All the wires connect at one side – power, Ethernet uplink, and 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Package contents include a quick install guide and setup CD, with the LELA (Linksys EasyLink Advisor) for easy setup.

The Linksys WRT320N router supports the 5 GHz radio band, but cannot operate on both spectrum simultaneously (the 5 GHz and the normal 2.4 GHz bands).

The antennae are concealed, so you can’t tweak them around to make micro improvements to the signal quality received by your wireless client device (laptop/phone/desktop PC/etc). The radio antennae can send and receive Wi-Fi signals over the usual 2.4 GHz band or the 5 GHz band (this spectrum helps avoid excess interference from other consumer equipment), but not both at the same time.

Multiple antennae mean that you can expect better performance. We did see very good file transfer speeds over the wireless network at close range on both, Wireless-N and G devices. Under our real-world testing, the signal managed to cover a radius of 80 feet with a WiFi-N device, across multiple walls and two floors, which bodes well for larger homes. The farther you go, the lesser the signal stability, and the connection experience degraded badly beyond that distance. You can view more details of this wireless router's specifications and performance on the respective tabs of this review.

As with most current routers, security is fairly well provided for, though it would have been nice if there was an additional front panel LED to say whether wireless encryption is turned on or not. You can use a wireless card access list, for MAC filtering, to allow only approved wireless clients to connect. Devices that connect to the router can rest secure behind its firewall, or have specific TCP/UDP ports forwarded to a chosen local IP address. Reserving IP addresses for machines on a home network is a great way to ensure required ports remain open for relevant devices (instead of being assigned a different IP address each time they connect, for instance).

Bottom Line

Lower-priced sibling of the Linksys WRT610N router, but it could be a while before its price becomes sweet enough. For now, the slightly lower signal coverage area, loss of USB port, and lack of simultaneous dual-band WiFi drops its value for money below contenders like the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH.

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