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Linksys by Cisco WAG320N review

Linksys by Cisco WAG320N

Verdict

Sluggish, and with one radio this router may as well not bother being dual band

Review Date: 15 Mar 2010

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £75 (£88 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

ADSL users are restricted when it comes to top-end router hardware. Due to the expense of building in an ADSL modem, routers tend to lack features such as Gigabit Ethernet, and there aren't many dual-band models either.

The Linksys by Cisco WAG320N is one of the latter, but disappointingly it isn't full-fat dual band. In fact, it boasts just a single internal radio, which forces you to choose between running it in either 2.4GHz or 5GHz mode.

That, for most purposes, renders the 5GHz mode useless, because even if your laptop and PC both support 5GHz, devices such as internet radios, smartphones, printers and Wi-Fi photo frames won't. Most will end up running it 2.4GHz mode, purely for reasons of compatibility.

It's a shame, because the WAG320N shows signs of being a competent home router. It's primarily an ADSL2+ device, but you can also turn one of its Ethernet ports into a WAN port to support a cable connection.

A USB port allows the sharing of external storage devices, and a media server function allows music, video and photos on an attached drive to be streamed to UPnP devices and players around the network.

Linksys by Cisco WAG320N

Its four Ethernet ports are also Gigabit, but that isn't reflected in its performance. We'd expect faster trasmit and receive transfers (from and to the router using a test laptop equipped with Intel's powerful WiFi Link 5300 chipset) than 92Mbits/sec and 65Mbits/sec from a 300Mbits/sec 5GHz router at close range.

And although capable of middling close-range 2.4GHz speeds, it wasn't particularly stellar in our 2.4GHz long-range test, achieving transmit and receive rates of a lethargic 44Mbits/sec and 36Mbits/sec.

That middling speed combined with a relatively high price puts us off the Linksys WAG320N. And, given the 5GHz mode will be all-but useless for most people it makes more sense to go for the ADSL version of the DrayTek Vigor 2110n (the 2710n) or combining an ADSL modem with the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

Please please review the Billion BiPAC 7800. It appears to do the lot!

By NJKA001 on 16 Mar 2010

Buy this month's PC Pro magazine - all the router reviews are in there...

By JohnGray7581 on 16 Mar 2010

Still has to be better than the 160N. I had endless connection problems with it, just kept losing connection. Still happens but I'm not techy enough to fix it!

By stormN on 17 Mar 2010

To stormN, My WAG160N works a treat. Vista laptops struggle with it but then Vista wireless is useless, but on XP or Win 7 it's stable, fast and hangs on the wall nicely:-)

By cyberwhelk on 3 Apr 2010

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