Linksys WRT32X review: An esports-grade router in a class of its own
There was a time where the only biggest perk that a “gaming router” had to offer its target audience came in the form of aesthetics. An appeal that echoed a lot of the language and logic surrounding the design of laptops in the niche. Why go with a boring grey box for a router when you could have a home network powered by an an edgy-looking glowy-sci-fi-death-machine? However, this landscape is changing, and changing fast.
The old ways and old words don’t carry the same weight. In recent years, consumers have gotten wiser. Things like eSports and Twitch streaming are more commonplace than ever, increasing demand for “gaming” tech that actually offers more tangible benefits. Features that don’t just look or sound good - but actually provide a better experience.
It’s into this space that Linksys’ new WRT32X gaming router makes a pretty compelling case for itself. It comes designed to get the most out of the Killer network traffic prioritisation engine (found in gaming desktops and notebooks from brands like MSI, Razer, Alienware and Gigabyte) and, assuming you have a PC that can benefit from that, it delivers on that potential.
The Linksys WRT32X gaming router is a DFS certified AC3200 dual-band Wi-Fi router with MU-MIMO capabilities. It’s got a 1.8 GHz dual-core CPU, four high-performance antennas, and a custom-built user interface that makes use of the Killer network traffic prioritization engine.
Portside, the WRT32X integrates a pro-grade Gigabit Ethernet switch with four ports, a USB 3.0 and eSATA ports. All told, it’s capable of delivering maximum theoretical throughput of up to 600Mbps on its 2.4GHz 802.11n network and 2600Mbps on its 5GHz 802.11ac network
As far as aesthetics go, the Linksys 32X gaming router manages to walk a pretty narrow line between the utilitarian and industrialized routers of the enterprise world and the ‘stealth-bomber’ aesthetics found in the gaming routers offered by competing brands like Netgear. Beyond that, it’s best described as cleaner version of its predecessor- the Linksys WRT-1900AC.
All told, the 32X shakes out as about as aesthetically inoffensive as most routers, sticking with what works and making it looks just that little bit sharper. It’s got four antenna that attach via easy-screws, heat vents dotting the top and a blue glassy display on the front, conveying all the usual indicators. Once assembled, it’s a genuinely nice package to both hold and behold - though the hard limitation of only four Gigabit Ethernet switches on the box might irk some.
Next: Setup, Performance and The Bottom Line
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