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Linksys WAG160N review

Verdict

Fast performance, slick design and excellent software, all at the right price.

Review Date: 15 Jul 2008

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £54 (£62 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £60
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
6 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

Yes, the Linksys has the most easiest software setup wizards I've ever come across

By nicomo on 11 Aug 2009

Yes, the Linksys has the most easiest software setup wizards I've ever come across

By nicomo on 11 Aug 2009

Looks nice, but a terrible product

If you're thinking of getting one of these I recommend you have a google about for customer reviews or visit the linksys forums to see the problems people are having with them. Personally I'm about to take mine back after numerous issues, some of which include:
Router randomly switching to wireless isolation mode, so that no machine on the network can see each other.
Overheating.
DHCP server issues, not issuing IPs.

The DHCP server built in is also about the most feature poor I've seen, you can only allocate a block of IPs for DHCP allocation, you cannot setup machine allocation on the modem, if you want static IPs you have to manually set the machines to their static IP details.

Terrible product.

By sewellj2 on 27 Oct 2009

Definitely a Lemon

Thoroughly agree with sewellj2. Terrible problems with DHCP. Avoid.

By 3feet on 18 Nov 2009

Blows Goats

I bought it because of the Cisco Linksys name. I certainly won't be darkening their door with my hard earned cash ever again. It is the most retarded bit of kit I have ever owned.
The menu system, I suspect, is badly layed out in order to make you think its your fault you can't find the basic functionality which they didn't provide. It's not even any use as a door stop due to its shape.

By davethedave on 30 Dec 2009

Not fit for purpose

seriously defective, this should item regularly drops wireless devices out and requires regular reboot. No sign of any fix. cisco should be ashamed

By Zetach on 19 Jan 2010

Linskys wag 160N

I just read the comments about the above router. If everyone says its shit how come PC Pro has given it five stars in it's review.

By VIPerbite on 12 Mar 2010

Revoke the Labs award, this is pants!

As the above poster remarked it randomly stops seeing any other network device until rebooted. stops Win 7 homegroups working and Cisco still haven't issued a fix after TWO years!

By SteveM on 20 Mar 2010

Excellent router

I've very recently installed both the s/w and h/w for this WAG 160N when my Belkin gave up the ghost after about 7 years of faithful service.
I was very pleased with the presentation of the device and the s/w setup was a model of how to do it. I was very impressed.
As for the router itself, it works perfectly, not a single problem to report - good signals around the house.
Don't listen to the nay sayers - this is an excellent piece of kit.

By John1950 on 1 Nov 2010

- And the price was right

Persuaded PCWorld to give it to me for £49.99

By John1950 on 1 Nov 2010

Absolute rubbish

John1950 - Don't know how you can say this is excellent as this is the worst modem/router I've ever come across.

What's wrong with it? Overheating constantly, wireless drops out constantly, lack of DHCP reservation ability, DSL signal dropouts, and an inability to ping other devices on the LAN which means you cannot use network accessing apps like Samsung Kies or VLC remote control.

By dzx11 on 10 Mar 2012

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