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Linksys WRT320N Dual-Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router Reviewed

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Introduction

Linksys WRT320N

At a Glance
Product Linksys Dual-Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router (WRT320N)
Summary Broadcom-based single-radio, dual-band 802.11n Draft 2.0 router with 10/100/1000 switch.
Pros • Good routing performance
• Good wireless performance
• High 5 GHz speed
Cons • Can't set channel in Auto mode
• 5 GHz range shorter than 2.4 GHz
• No jumbo frame support

The WRT320N fills out Cisco's portfolio of Linksys draft 11n routers with a dual-band, single radio offering that has a Gigabit switch. Even though it is designed with low manufacturing cost in mind, street pricing is comparatively high.

Internal Details

The 320N's construction details were covered as part of the look at the WRT400N and WET610N. It's a Broadcom-based design, so I would expect it to perform more like WRT610N than the newer and less expensive Atheros-based WRT400N.

But the designs are significantly different, with the 320N using a Broadcom BCM4717 Intensi-fi XLR 802.11n (2.4/5 GHz) Router System-on-Chip to really drive down cost (Figure 1) vs. the 610N's dual-radio design with two copies of BCM4321 BB/MAC and BCM2055 dual-band radio devices (Figure 2).

WRT320N inside
Click to enlarge image

Figure 1: WRT320N inside

Both products are three-antenna designs, with all antennas located internally and non-upgradeable. They might use different gigabit switches, however. I was not able to remove the heatsink on the WRT610N, but I did on the 320N and found a Broadcom BCM53115. Even though the device supports up to 9K jumbo frames, my testing showed that they don't appear to be enabled. RAM complement is different, too, with 32 MB for the 320N vs. 64 MB for the 610N.

WRT610N inside view
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: WRT610N inside view

Routing Features

The 320N implements the standard Linksys router feature set that includes:

  • DHCP, Static, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP, Telstra Cable WAN types
  • Built-in Dynamic DNS clients for TZO and DynDNS
  • Static and dynamic routing
  • SPI firewall disable, multicast, WAN ping and IDENT filtering and Proxy, Java, ActiveX and Cooking blocking
  • IPsec, PPTP and L2TP VPN passthrough (enabled by default)
  • Single port forwarding and Port Range forwarding and triggered ports
  • HTTPS admin access, remote management (HTTP / HTTPS) enable with IP range restriction and port setting
  • Logging with support for Linksys Logviewer recording
  • Access Restrictions with 10 deny or allow-based policies, each with its own list of clients and day/time schedule
  • Uplink (LAN to WAN) only QoS with High, Medium, Normal or Low Priority that can be applied to specific applications (divided into Application, Online Game and Voice Device groups), physical switch ports or specific MAC addresses.
  • WMM (Wireless MultiMedia) (enabled by default)

If you need further details, check the WRT600N review and its slideshow.

WRT320N Basic setup page

Figure 3: WRT320N Basic setup page



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User reviews

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Average user rating from: 7 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

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Overall: 
 
3.3 Features :
 
3.3 Performance :
 
3.3 Reliability :
 
3.4
 
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Rock solid with tomato USB firmware

Overall rating: 
 
4.3
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by DC
November 28, 2012
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Great performing modem. Highly recommend installing tomato USB firmware as it allows alot more tweak ability and features plus makes this router even more rock solid.

 

WRT 320N

Overall rating: 
 
4.7
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by Mike
October 12, 2011
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One of the reviews is talking about USB storage, the 320N doesn't have a USB port! I have used this router for a year so far, no problems and only two resets required due to Comcast modem cr***ing out.

 

Cannot get the 5gbs to work

Overall rating: 
 
3.7
Features:
 
3.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by Jacqueline Rice
July 26, 2010
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I just bought this router and had no problem setting up the wired computers. However no matter what I do I can;t get my laptop to run on the 5 g setting, I don't see the network at all. It runs fine at 2.4. My laptop does have 802.11n wireless. I am going to return it and either get the netgear 3700 or the linksys 400.

We do have some wireless home phones and I am wondering if this would cause interference with the router. Overall it woks fine, but it was purchased specifically to use the 5 GHz.

 

Turn off UPNP really helped

Overall rating: 
 
3.7
Features:
 
3.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by J.R.
June 09, 2010
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I was having the same problem Keith mentioned earlier - and was about to replace the unit with another one thinking the original unit was bad. Prior to the purchase of the WRT320N, I had been using an 8 year old linksys with absolutely no problems. So the WRT320N sat on the shelf for a few months. Router would simply disconnect all hosts on the wired/wireless LAN and I would have to reboot.

A few weeks ago I read a user discussion regarding the linksys and someone mentioned to turn off UPNP on the router. This fixed my problem since! I don't recall seeing this fix directly on the linksys website, but this solved my problem after much searching on the internet.

 

Unstable (Even after replacing it)

Overall rating: 
 
1.3
Features:
 
2.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by Keith
March 14, 2010
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I'm on my second WRT-320N. They both worked fine the first few days, but then all heck breaks loose. The first one, after about 3 days of operation, became unstable. I've done all the factory resets, tried running it with default settings and wide open wireless, and it's still bad. What would happen is, if I attempted to transfer a big file over wifi, the router would freeze. Simply not respond to pings, not route traffic, and the SSID would vanish. Wired computers would not be able to access the internet either, and new wired pc's would not obtain a dhcp address. The way out was a reboot.

After getting fed up, I exchanged it for another. After all, I understand if there's a few bad apples out there. Someone's got to get them.

So now on the second 320n, on the 6th day it started doing similar behavior as the first one. Although not as severe. I can transfer more data on wifi before wifi disappears. When the router acts up, wired pc's can still access the internet (with the exception of one time freeze). All of sudden my win 7 laptop and iphone drop connection and cannot see the network anymore. On the wired PC I can log into the router and change the channel. The wireless devices see the network and will work for a few minutes, until dropping again. Then no matter what setting I change in the router, both Win 7 and IPhone say "Unable to connect", despite able to see the network with full bars and less than 5 ft from the router itself. If I reboot the router through the web UI using the wired PC, it comes back up.

I don't need something this unstable. I think this is going back for a netgear 3700.

 
 
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