capsule review

Linksys Wireless-N Gigabit Router WRT310N

At a Glance
  • Linksys by Cisco Wireless-N Gigabit Router WRT310N

    PCWorld Rating

    Sleek and speedy, this Linksys is a good choice for a small business that wants 2.4-GHz and gigabit support but doesn't need the multimedia-friendlier 5-Hz option. Has deep routing features.

The Linksys Wireless-N Gigabit Router WRT310N outclassed the Netgear RangeMax Next Wireless-N Gigabit Router WNR3500 in close-range tests, averaging 61 mbps in the same room as the client, versus the Netgear's 48 mbps. It also performed well at long range (about 60 feet, through several walls and appliances), though it wasn't quite as fast as the Netgear.

In both short- and long-range performance, the Linksys single-band router did much better than such budget routers as the Belkin N Wireless Router F5D8233-4 v3 and the D-Link Wireless N Router DIR-615 vB2. Its superiority over the low-end routers is probably due to its having an extra antenna, which provides more spatial diversity. We experienced good performance throughout our 1400-square-foot house, obviating the need to run a second access point to cover dead spots. This is fortunate, since, unlike the Netgear, the Linksys doesn't support wireless range extension.

The WRT310N's design is sleek (the antennas are internal), and its performance proves that you don't need rabbit-ear antennas to achieve good range.

A desktop application called Linksys EasyLink Advisor steps beginners through every phase of setup from cable hookups to password creation, though you'll need to use the Web configuration tool for special settings like port forwarding and DHCP reservation.

The Web utility offers many deep routing features. For example, while most routers offer WMM/QoS (for prioritizing video or VoIP traffic), the Linksys WRT310N allows you to customize application priorities: You can set gaming or streaming media to trump all else, or you can ensure that BitTorrent doesn't mess up your VoIP phone calls.

Web filtering is another area where the Linksys excels. You can stop proxies, Java, ActiveX, and cookies at the router, which should ward off most Trojan horses and spyware.

We wish, though, that we could limit the filtering to certain computers: Lack of Java and cookie support will cripple the viewing of many Web sites. On the other hand, you can limit access to specific applications, URLs, and keywords on a PC-by-PC basis--a handy feature for parents.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Sleek and speedy, this Linksys is a good choice for a small business that wants 2.4-GHz and gigabit support but doesn't need the multimedia-friendlier 5-Hz option. Has deep routing features.

    Pros

    • Superior performance
    • Deep routing features

    Cons

    • No wireless range extension
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