Cisco Linksys WRT160NL review
A good, solid draft-n router with handy NAS and media streaming features and a tempting price. Only the lack of an ADSL version counts against it
Review Date: 27 Aug 2009
Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray
Price when reviewed: £56 (£64 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
There's not much to distinguish between the various flavours of Cisco Linksys routers these days. They all come in the now-familiar flat, flying saucer-style chassis, with activity lights and a WPS button ranged along the front edge and sockets ranged along the rear. The new WRT160NL doesn't break this mould.
What it does boast are a few features beyond the usual wireless router fare, the most interesting of which is Storage Link. On the rear panel, alongside the four Ethernet sockets and WAN port (the router is only available in cable variety), is a downstream USB port. This allows you to hook up a USB hard disk and use the router as a basic NAS drive.
It's not the first time we've seen this facility in a router – our current A List resident, the Belkin N+, can pull off the same trick – but it's a rare enough feature to earn the Linksys a few extra brownie points. It's an excellent option for those who don't want to waste electricity or invest cash on an expensive, dedicated NAS drive, and there are a couple of bonus features too.
You can impose user- and group-based read and write restrictions, and the WRT160NL has a UPnP media server facility, so you can stream media stored on your external hard disk to a connected player or computer.
Another difference comes in the shape of a pair of external aerials, which will please those who are forced to site the router in an awkward location.
Elsewhere, it's a competent rather than spectacular router. The WRT160NL's wireless capability is restricted to single-band 2.4GHz 802.11n draft-2.0, there's no Gigabit Ethernet, and you don't get niceties such as guest access or an on-router display.
Wireless speed is also nothing to write home about. Although we found the router to be generally reliable over a week of testing, in our file-transfer tests the WRT160NL performed significantly slower than the A-Listed Trendnet TEW-633GR (which we tested at the same time to act as a control) and roughly half the speed in our long-range test.
So although the WRT160NL is reasonably priced and boasts a good range of features for the money, we can't recommend it. The Belkin N+ (see A List, p32) remains the better all-round choice, thanks to its faster performance, and its availability as an ADSL router.
Author: Jonathan Bray
- SilentPower PC keeps cool with copper foam
- 1Password coming to iOS 8 apps
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Finally legal to rip music from CDs - just don't break DRM
- Hot hardware video: Google Glass
- Microsoft to launch two new Windows Phones
- Amazon reveals why ebooks should cost less than $10
- Self-driving cars will be on UK roads in six months
- Lords: right to be forgotten is "unworkable"
- Apple slashes £100 off updated MacBook Pros with Retina
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone
- Meet the robots helping teach children
- PaperLater: would you pay to print the internet?
- Amazon vs Kobo: how much to make the ebook switch?
- Phishing emails: how I nearly got caught out
- 13 computers that changed the world
- How to download YouTube videos to a PC or laptop: is it legal to download YouTube videos?
- Dropbox vs OneDrive vs Google Drive: what's the best cloud storage service of 2014?
- Hacking the Internet of Things: from smart cars to toilets
- BlackBerry Passport release date, specs, features, and rumours: when is the new BlackBerry coming out?
- What's changing in the computing curriculum
- Teaching kids to code
- Best free translation apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone
- Five worst SMB security threats... and how to solve them
- Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows 8 – what's the best compact tablet OS?
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?