Linksys WAG160N review
Fast performance, slick design and excellent software, all at the right price.
As Linksys is owned by Cisco, the company that builds much of the infrastructure behind the internet, you'd expect a little of that know-how to trickle down to its consumer products.
But we've been a little underwhelmed by its routers in the past. Its WRVS4400N picked up average performance scores in our last routers Labs and scored four out of six overall. Its new WAG160N, however, is a different beast entirely.
Like Belkin this month, Linksys has bucked the beige box trend: this router looks more like a flying saucer than a piece of networking equipment. There's also a distinct lack of external aerials - two 2dBi gain aerials are built into the chassis - which adds to the clean look. This does mean you can't add higher gain aerials if you need to, but as a fit-and-forget product, no other router in this test can better the Linksys.
The Linksys performs well, losing out only to the Belkin in the average file transfer stakes. It achieved an overall average adjusted rate of 26.9Mb/sec, not far below the Belkin's overall rate of 30.1Mb/sec. Speeds were more consistent throughout the house, though, varying only between 34.5Mb/sec (in the kitchen) and 36.3Mb/sec (upstairs). Long-distance performance was less impressive at just 13.9Mb/sec, but that's still the third fastest here.
Where the Linksys impresses most, however, is in its software package and ease of setup. In addition to wizard-based setup on the router itself, you get an excellent disc-based wizard and Linksys' EasyLink Advisor software. Once installed, the latter provides a clear diagram of the devices on your network and how they're linked together, depicting connected clients and information associated with them. You can even click through and change settings from here - it's an excellent alternative to Vista's confusing collection of network administration tools and status views.
There are no swanky extras such as Gigabit Ethernet, dual WAN/ADSL ports or WDS bridging. The warranty isn't the most impressive either at two years RTB; and business features are on the short side - there's no WPA Enterprise or intrusion detection, for example.
But for just £54 this is a very good deal. It's half the price of the Belkin N1 Vision, doesn't sacrifice much in the way of speed or looks and is very easy to use. A worthy winner.
|Price ex VAT||£54|
|Price inc VAT||£62|
|Features & Design||5|
|Value for Money||6|
|WiFi standard||Draft 802.11n|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Gigabit LAN ports||0|
|10/100 LAN ports||4|
|MAC address cloning||yes|
|Wireless bridge (WDS)||no|
|WPA Enterprise support||yes|
|WPS (wireless protected setup)||yes|
|MAC address filtering||yes|
|Port forwarding/virtual server||yes|
|Web content filtering||yes|
|Dimensions||202 x 160 x 34mm (WDH)|