Linksys WRT160NL

Last time I covered the Linksys WAG160N, I commented on the sleek design that was both unique and elegant. Linksys has continued with this design direction with the WRT160NL – a wireless-N equipped router with Storage Link.

With an all-black glossy design complemented by bright blue LEDs, the WRT160NL has an essence of high-end design and materials that will look great in any room.

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At the back of the router, you’ll find an internet port for connecting your DSL or Cable modem to it, four 10/100 Ethernet connections, USB and power. You’ll also find two connectors for attaching antennae’s for a MIMO (Multi in, multi out) setup.

The Storage Link feature allows you to connect a USB-based storage device such as a flash drive to the back of the router and share its contents over the network. The WRT160NL is also DLNA certified so it will recognise media files and allow other DLNA devices (such as TVs, Media Centres, etc) to stream media directly from the drive.

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Using the online control panel, you can create user groups for restricting access to the router with individual user security settings. This was a welcome addition to what I thought would just be a simple plug and play setup, however, if you would like a more tailored setup, this is possible with the ability to setup users and usergroups.

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With 802.11n, the WRT160NL is up to date with the latest wireless standard. And with an upgradeable firmware, there’s also the possibility of updating to the finalised spec. Access to the 40MHz range is available for the full 802.11n experience. Some older devices may have trouble connecting though, so the fallback option to the 20MHz spectrum is available. 802.11n is a world of difference when it comes to range and performance. It leaves the previous generation of wireless technology (I’m looking at you 802.11g) in the dust, with average speeds of 10MB in your average sized home. That’s easily 5x the speed I was able to get on a good day with my ISP-provided 802.11g router.

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Wireless reception is excellent, the clean design does get slightly spoiled with the two external antennae’s, but for the enthusiasts who like to use their own antennae to get even better reception, they have that option.

The WRT160NL has a great featureset and most importantly, good wireless performance that is consistent in delivering good coverage and speed. The Storage Link feature is a fantastic addition that will make for a cost-effective network storage system that is plug and play and fully manageable through its simple online administration screen. It’s easy to setup on Windows or Mac, and for those who have used Linksys products before, you’ll feel at home straight away with its familiar setup routine.

2009-08-21 Onwah Tsang

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