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Review: Linksys WRT32X AC3200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Gaming Router

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High spec CPU and “Killer Prioritization Engine” provide top shelf performance, but only on Killer-enabled PCs

High pings are awful and can easily ruin a fast-paced online game. Not only do you get killed because you can’t react in time, but you look like an idiot getting shot in the back. Unfortunately, running an Ethernet cable to your router isn’t always an option, so Linksys has teamed up with Killer to create the WRT32X router which attempts to bridge the performance gap between Wi-Fi and Ethernet.

Let’s get right into it and discuss the Killer Prioritization Engine (KPE) as that’s the whole point of this router. If you don’t care about that, the Linksys WRT1900AC virtually is the same unit but cheaper, so this killer feature (get it?) better deliver the goods.

To take advantage of the KPE you need a computer with the Killer Wireless-AC 1535 or 1435 Wi-Fi card. If you don’t have one, the KPE doesn’t do anything beyond basic QoS, common on many mid-range routers. But, if you are lucky enough to have a computer with a compatible Killer Wi-Fi card and have the Killer Control Centre software installed, your computer and the WRT32X will automatically detect each other.

Enable KPE in the settings and that’s all there is to it. Once enabled, everything is automatically configured to ensure the computer with the Killer Wi-Fi card gets priority over all other traffic. Unfortunately, that’s all it does. There’s no magic bullet that brings latency down to single digits, the laws of physics still apply to the WRT32X’s radios.

The only benefit of the KPE is simply applying QoS automatically. The improved bandwidth and lower latency come from the fact all the other junk on your network is moved out of the way for your gaming rig to have priority. QoS is a basic feature on many modern mid-range routers, so you need to think long and hard if paying a premium for it to be automatic via the KPE is worth it for you.

The WRT32X’s administration interface looks slick and is one of the cleanest and most straightforward around. But it is relatively basic with few options available. Anyone who likes to get into the nitty-gritty of networking (e.g: tweaking Wi-Fi options, VPN servers, advanced file sharing) will find the WRT32X lacking in features compared to other routers in the same price range.

The features it does have however, are easy to set up. There’s the ability to set up a guest network for anyone visiting, but doesn’t need access to your entire network. Basic port forwarding and uPnP are there for gaming servers or BitTorrent clients. Static IP reservations, dynamic DNS, SMB & FTP file sharing off an external HDD plugged in to the USB 3.0 and a nifty option to disable all the flashing lights round out the features package.

The best feature is probably the inclusion of a OpenVPN client that’s a piece of cake to set up. Most VPN services commonly used to avoid geoblocks or protect privacy support OpenVPN, so by including it on the router (which isn’t a common feature, most are L2TP/IPSec clients, which most cloud based VPN services don’t support), your entire network can be enjoy the benefits of a VPN and you don’t need to install any software on your computer. Simply download the opvn configuration file from your VPN provider, upload it to the WRT32X via the administration page and you’re done. Kudos for Linksys for making this such a painless process.

Deciding to buy the Linksys WRT32X is simple. Do you have a laptop with a Killer Wi-Fi card? No? Don’t buy it. If you do have a Killer Wi-Fi card in your rig, do you really hate changing settings on your router to enable QoS? Yes? Then buy the WRT32X, you’ll love it. The admin interface is super easy to use, the 4×4 802.11ac radio is cutting edge and it’s one of the least gaudy looking “gaming” routers on the market.

Linksys WRT32X AC3200


3
5

A great match for your Killer Wi-Fi card.


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