Linksys WAG160N

Sleek and sophisticated, the Linksys WAG160N ushers in a new era of designer routers that are more fitting for the desktop rather than the closet. Despite the lack of any visible unsightly antennae’s, this wireless router achieves speeds and distances that no other router I’ve used before has been able to.

The WAG160N makes a bold statement with its Sci-Fi-esque design and the latest wireless routing and modem technologies. With this brand new makeover, the physical appearance of their new range of products is a large departure from what we’re used to. Gone are the straight line boxes and huge antennae. Say hello to curved lines and hidden antennae. The glossy finish to the WAG160N gives it clean look that is seamless in design with the green LEDs flashing just underneath the surface to indicate activity.

At the back of the router, you’ll find the standard set of four 100Mbps Ethernet jacks and the phone connection for your ADSL/ADSL2+ connection. The front exterior has the trusted Cisco badge etched in to the glossy black top. A set of LED lights give you status information on the Ethernet ports, wireless, DSL and Internet connectivity.

Getting the WAG160N up and running out of the box and on to net is surprisingly quick. You can choose to do it through manual methods or use the setup wizard that will walk you through the process. If you’ve used Linksys products before, you’ll be automatically familiar with the built-in router management console. Some may be disappointed by this, but I’ve found it to be one of the easiest to get around, so why fix what ain’t broke?

For optimum connectivity, the new draft-N spec is the one to go for. Using this standard with my MacBook Pro, I was able to achieve speeds that were normally reserved to Ethernet connections, even when I was just using it for my 24Mbps ADSL2+ broadband connection. I was previously only able to achieve half the speeds with the router that my ISP provided, so it was refreshing to find that the Linksys was able to give me Ethernet-like speeds over wireless. What seems like magic when you first get it running, there is a rational explanation for the dramatic performance improvement I was getting. Wireless N uses MIMO technology, which stands for Multiple In and Multiple Out. This means that there are multiple antennae that are transmitting and receiving to ensure that coverage is achieved throughout at optimal speeds without increasing power consumption or compromising on throughput.

Linksys have taken a positively new direction with the design of their latest range of wireless routers. The almost flat design and compact footprint means you can afford to let visitors see this out in the open. It’s not just about the superficial exterior though. Linksys has Cisco technology in its blood, and some of that expertise has definitely trickled down, because this is the fastest router I’ve used. Ever. Call it magic, call it engineering, whatever it is, Linksys are on to a winner. Finally a router that is easy to use, looks like it belongs in your home, and works!

2009-02-13 Onwah Tsang

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