Editorials

Review: Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router

Latency can make or break a game for anyone. Having good latency is crucial in big games like Call of Duty, FIFA, NHL, Battlefield and Street Fighter where kill streaks, finishers, and finesse shots require equal parts skill and a consistent connection. Enter Linksys and their latest router, in what is honestly, one of the smartest devices I’ve used thus far, which combines what Linksys is known for with Rivet Network’s Killer technology, which dramatically lowers latencies and lag. With the introduction of the WRT 32X into my home, I was ready to throw down against the router.

Linksys has created one impressive looking router, with an all-black aesthetic that effortlessly works itself into any room. Out of the box, within minutes of attaching the sturdy antenna, I connected the router to my PC. The good thing is, this is a WRT router from Linksys, this allows custom-loaded firmware to be installed.

The good news is the custom dashboard that the WRT 32X comes with is stylish and useful, and pleasingly simple to utilize. Being moderately versed in network settings, I was able to navigate and update the router’s settings to fit my network’s needs within minutes. With a stylish UI to explore, you won’t too much trouble getting everything started, just make sure you read and understand the changes you make before clicking save.

The dual-band 802.11AC router supports both 2.4 and 5GHZ bands and features a 1.8GHZ processor on board, with MU-MIMO capabilities. In addition, there are five-gigabit ethernet switches, more than capable of any traffic that passes through your network at any time. There’s also a USB port available and Tri-Stream technology, which allows for three streams at 160 MHZ, which allows upwards of 2.5Gbp connection.

The real star of the show is the integrated Killer Priority Engine, which ensures all data that ties to your gaming gets highest priority within the network, effectively killing any lag or latency. The Killer Priority Engine is found in laptops and motherboards from Acer, Gigabyte, Lenovo and MSI. The KPE determines what devices are connected to the network, and from there the PC communicates to the router tells the PC to prioritize the games packets with the highest priority. Ping plays a massive part in a successful game session, the higher the ping, the worst the experience, and the lower the ping, the better your game may play.

Linksys has a good breakdown of KPE:

When a user starts a game, the Killer hardware on the PC communicates with the router and tells the router how to treat the data and with high priority. If the network is bogged down from other users on the Internet, the WRT32X is able to keep the gameplay fast and smooth because it prioritizes the Killer game traffic above other traffic that is being used. Conversely, the PC also communicates to the router when a less important activity is taking place (like a download) so that the router won’t let the download impact the experience of other users while they are on the Internet in the home.

There is a huge caveat to owning this router – if your PC doesn’t have the correct motherboard with the proprietary Killer Priority Engine include, none of this will work. You won’t see the real reason behind owning this device, and while it will work, it’ll serve as a regular router. Swapping between my current Archer 3150 and the WRT32X, there wasn’t any substantial performance boosts I could see.

It wasn’t until I begun using the included MSI GT83VR 7RE-266CA Titan SLI laptop that came to us that I noticed any significant reason to own the router. My biggest issue with this router is having to own the right motherboard before I can use the Killer Priority Engine for optimal performance. I was comfortably playing Titanfall 2 while having one person in my house stream video while I downloaded a game to my PlayStation did I notice how there was no worry of dropping packets or lagging.

Linksys has created a viable route for gamers. I respect the hustle of the WRT32X and all of its offerings, but this isn’t a router for just anyone. To get the most out it you, need to already own the corresponding motherboard, or pony up and purchase one to get peak performance. If you have the budget or extra cash lying around, consider this router, even at its price point it’s hard to swallow, but you won’t be sorry when it comes through for you

Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router

8

Overall

8.0/10

Pros

  • Sleek design for a router
  • WRT firmware

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Killer enabled hardware required to benefit from KPE
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Bobby has been gaming since he was old enough to walk. Since then, the interest has only grown stronger, and here we are today. Follow Bobby on Twitter, and just go with it. @bpashalidis

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