Review: Linksys WRT32X AC3200 Dual Band WiFi Gaming Router

UPDATE: It appears that a recent firmware update pushed out by Linksys has caused issues where people are reporting that this router no longer functions as well as it did when I reviewed it. You can find out more details here, but you might want to hold off purchasing this router until this issue gets sorted.

 

 

I honestly think that Linksys and their marketing department got the marketing of this router wrong. When Linksys handed their brand new WRT32X gaming router to review, I thought that I would run a few tests with it that are gaming related as it is marketed as a gaming router and call it a day. The thing is, the more that I used this router, the more I found that this is a great router for the most part. Period. It just happens to do gaming really well.

Let me start with the looks. Linksys scores points with me for making this router not look like something out of a Transformers movie as some other companies who make gaming routers tend to make their routers look like.

IMG_0700.JPG

It looks like an all black WRT1900AC or WRT1900ACS. That means that it will fit into your decor without standing out like a sore thumb. In terms of features, here’s what you get:

  • AC3200 MU-MIMO
  • 802.11a/g, 802.11n, 802.11ac
  • AC3200 (N600 + AC2600)
  • 2.4 and 5 GHz (simultaneous dual-band)
  • DFS certified for operation in the clear DFS channel airspace
  • 5-port Pro-grade Gigabit Ethernet ports: 1x Gigabit WAN port, 4x Gigabit LAN ports
  • One USB 3.0 port, One Combo eSATA/USB 2.0 port, Power
  • 4x external, dual-band, detachable antennas
  • 1.8 GHz dual-core Processor
  • 512MB DDR3 RAM / 256MB Flash Memory
  • Wireless Encryption: WPA2 Personal
  • VPN Support: PPTP IPSec pass‐through
  • Storage File System Support: FAT, NTFS, and HFS+
  • Browser-based Setup and custom graphical user interface
  • Open Source ready for OpenWrt

This is heavy duty hardware. But all of the above isn’t the part of the story that you should focus on. What you should focus on is the software. For starters, the web based GUI is one of the best that I’ve ever seen. The setup of this router was insanely trivial. And once it is set up, here’s what you get:

Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 6.51.11 PM.jpg

It’s a very clean look and it you can easily figure out where you have to go to tweak or set up your router. It also give you a clear view of what’s going on in real time, be it speed related or device related. Kudos to Linksys for coming up with this user interface. Now you can install your own firmware via OpenWrt, but I seriously wouldn’t bother as this user interface rocks.

Another reason why I wouldn’t swap the firmware is the fact that this router has the incorporate the Killer Prioritization Engine. What this does is provides serious online gamers who have Killer enabled PCs the performance to pwn their opponents in epic fashion by optimizing traffic for low latency and less lag and ensures that the Killer-enabled PC’s gaming, audio, and video is fast and smooth. So. That’s great marketing. But is it true?

Yes it is.

I acquired a MSI GT73VR 6RF Titan Pro gaming laptop which supports the Killer Prioritization Engine and after updating Windows 10 to Redstone 2, I downloaded a copy of Steam so that I could install Team Fortress 2 and play it with everything maxed out. That way I could see if their performance claims held up on my Gigabit Internet connection over WiFi. There was no lag, no stuttering, no choppy two way audio while communicating with other players. Nothing negative at all. And this isn’t just when nothing else was going on with the network. I could be using my Roku to stream a TV show or a movie and get this level of performance. It was actually quite impressive.

But it didn’t stop there. I used my own MacBook Pro running the same game on the same server to see what the difference was. To my surprise, performance was much better than what I was used to. It wasn’t up to the level of the MSI laptop, but I had zero reason to complain. Not only that, anything that I threw at this router be it YouTube videos, streaming movies on my Roku, or whatever, it was smooth to a level that I have not seen before. Especially on the 5GHz band via WiFi. This too was impressive. And to be frank, I wasn’t expecting that result. This is precisely why I feel that this router is being marketed wrong. It is the best router that I have reviewed in years by a huge margin.

The only area which the WRT32X perhaps falls a bit short is in WiFi range on the 5GHz band. My condo has a couple of concrete walls to go through, and that combined with the fact that it only has four antennas when some of its competition have six or eight antennas had it struggling a bit to reach the far reaches of my condo with full signal strength. But having said that, I still had no issues streaming videos or pwning opponents in online games from those locations. So while this is a weakness, it’s far from being a fatal one.

The new Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router will be in stores on September 21, 2017 and go for an estimated $369.99 CAD. If you’re a gamer who wants maximum pwnage and you have hardware that supports the Killer Prioritization Engine, you need to get this router. If however you want a top performing router and you’re not a hardcore gamer who wants maximum pwnage, you should still get this router. Quite simply, this is the best router that Linksys has ever produced. Though, if I were them I’d change how it’s marketed as it is such a good router that they are perhaps limiting their target audience by only marketing to gamers.

 

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3 Responses to “Review: Linksys WRT32X AC3200 Dual Band WiFi Gaming Router”

  1. […] first router made exclusively for gaming, the WRT32X is the perfect gift for the gamer on your list. The built-in Killer Prioritization Engine detects […]

  2. […] recently reviewed the Linksys WRT32X gaming router. It is an amazing router. One of the best that I have ever tested in fact. So much […]

  3. […] router. How fast? I have gigabit Internet access at home and it’s predecessor which was the Linksys WRT32X only managed to get a top speed of 618 Mbps over 802.11ac WiFi when I was five feet from the […]

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