We've had one of these for about two years now, a purchase made because of the nuisance of having two computers and one cable DSL modem.
For me, using the router through the LAN has been fine. It does crash once in a blue-moon but we're talking like once a month.
Though the wireless has been a horror story in the past. Oddly we haven't had many dropouts lately which leads me to think that something was interfering with it - though it used to get as bad as connecting, then having it immediately dropout again and again before it settled down for a few hours.
We still have problems with wireless networking. Often computers will refuse to see each other until the router is restarted. I don't know if that's a Windows thing or not.
The router itself gets reasonably hot... I guess it's durable since it's been trodden on a few times as well.
I don't really know if I'd recommend this. I know there's lots of other people complaining about dropouts so it might not be just me.
The Linksys WAG160N N300 is an ADSL2+ wireless modem router, meaning it has a a modem built in. It is for use with BT Internet connections rather than for use with a Cable broadband connection (i.e. Virgin) although a Cable version is also available. It's an ADSL2 router, which means it supports the newer ADSL standard, which could mean faster transfer speeds although this really depends on your line quality, distance from Exchange, service with ISP, etc. The router currently costs £74.99 from PC World but a bit less at £59.99 on their website. I bought mine about 8 months ago on Ebuyer for around £55.
IN THE BOX
You receive two ADSL filters, RJ11 cable, user manual, manual and software CD, power adapter and lastly, the router itself.
THE ROUTER ITSELF
One thing I quite like about the router is that it looks quite stylish. It's grey and black in colour and doesn't have any external antennas. Only problem is that it seems to pick up dust. One thing I'm not very keen on is that it gets rather hot. Not to the point where it can burn your hands but I think that if it ran cooler, it would last longer in the long run. However, it is very stable but may be a problem if you put it in a confined location. It has 4 ethernet ports for those who have the router near their PC and do not want to use wireless.
There are two ways of setting up the router. Easiest way for most would be to load up the CD on your computer, follow the instructions and configure the router step by step. Being the geek that I am, I go the other route and just log into the router by entering the router's IP address into my browser. Once logged in, the interface is very straight forward to configure. Main option being the Internet settings for your broadband, which usually consists of a username and password you set up with your ISP (Internet Service Provider). In my case, my settings are bit different as I'm with BE broadband (owned by O2) but even so, I managed to set it up for my ISP without any problems (with some helpful guidance from my ISP). Other ones being Wireless and it's security, and port forwarding, all of which are very easy to set up.
CONNECTIVITY (SPEED / RELIABILITY)
Overall speed of the connection varies from line to line and can be determined by many factors but the WAG160N was giving me around 8Mbit download speeds and a 1Mbit upload. I was getting this on BE's Be Unlimited package which offers (Up to) 24Mbit download. I'm sure that I would have been able to get 24Mbit download with this router had I been next door to the BT Exchange so it's not the router's fault (more this country's shoddy broadband technology). I have since downgraded to BE's 8Mbit package and I do get just under 8Mbit download most of the time so it's not bad. Someone else I know has this same router and he gets 11Mbit on his O2 connection.
In terms of the broadband connection, aside from ISP problems, I don't believe the router caused any down time. However, one thing I don't like about the routers' configuration pages is that there is no option to restart the router, meaning I need to unplug and plug it back in. I prefer to be able to do things remotely for convenience.
It has a 300Mbit wireless, which is very fast and is of course, using the newer Wireless N standard providing the extra speed and range. When I have machines connected to the wireless network, download speeds are like they were on a wired connection. On my laptop (Samsung X460), it gives me a 130Mbit wireless connection which is probably the laptops maximum wireless speed. Signal strength ranges from Good to Excellent around the house and it connects to the wireless network quite quickly (of course, problems can also be to do with the operating system). My netbook (Samsung NC10), also gives me good speeds at the wireless 54G standard (54Mbit). It's also easy to connect new machines to the network via the wireless assuming you've entered the wireless key correctly. It supports all the usual WEP, WPA, etc wireless security standards as well as MAC code control.
Unfortunately, I've found that it is not all good as two machines in my conservatory seem to randomly lose the wireless connection despite the signal strength being excellent. This resulted in a lot of whinging from my parents and a lot of head scratching by myself. I've tried several USB dongles to try to resolve this problem to no avail. These include a Netgear Wireless N RangeMax USB dongle, a Linksys Wireless N USB dongle and even a Negear PCI 54G wireless card.
The machines are only about 7 metres from the router with just one wall with a window so not sure why. Interference en-route? Switching to a Belkin wireless router resolved the problem so I'm suspecting the Belkin performs better than the Linksys, which is a shame for the Linksys.
On a brighter note, the wireless connection on my PC when I was using the Linksys, using a Linksys Wireless N USB dongle, is solid. Reliability is excellent and only times I've lost the connection was more due to Windows or the USB dongle as just unplugging and plugging it back in or disconnecting the wireless and reconnecting resolved connection issues.
User Manual and firmware upgrades can be downloaded from the Linksys website. There weren't any upgrades available for me when I last checked but Linksys are a big company so I would imagine they would release upgrades if they discover problems with the router or if they just want to add new functionality in the future.
- Easy to configure
- Supports ADSL2 and provides good speeds
- Fast wireless speeds
- Good brand
- Generally quite reliable
- Good range
- Gets a bit warm
- No restart router option in router configuration
- Picks up dust
- Wireless was unreliable for PCs
Linksys is now a division of Cisco so one can expect good quality. The router itself performs well, is reliable but unfortunately for me, I had reliability issues with certain PCs but I still recommend this router as the problems I suffered may just be something at my house. I gave this router to a friend and he's not had any problems with it (and he's a Mac user). For the price, this router is very good. However, if you have more cash to spare, I can also recommend the Belkin N300+, which I am currently using without any problems.
Thanks for reading!
The chances are that if you're reading this, you've either using and know what a Modem Router is, or you've at least heard about them. However for the sake of this review and to avoid any confusion, basically a Modem Router is a piece of technology that allows you to connect to the Internet, network your computers and other devices together, and connect without the use of wires.
This is the Linksys (by Cisco) WAG160N Wireless-N ADSL2+ Modem Router, an impressive title with a slightly less impressive price tag of more than seventy pounds. You're probably thinking the same thing I did:
Don't you usually get a free wireless router from your Internet Service Provider?
In most cases you do, however this isn't just a bog standard generic device that you would get when you sign up to a broadband package, it's nothing less than a designer item that 'should' ensure that you receive the best online experience. But the real question is, it actually any good and worth the cost.
It was actually very easy to set-up, install, and configure with my existing Internet service provider (AOL). I was actually surprised because I'm running Windows XP 64-bit and it was a nightmare trying to get my current modem router configured correctly. It recognised my existing network and transferring everything over was easy and straightforward.
When I used the device wired up to my computer there is no detectable increase in either speed or stability when compared to my existing Speedtouch router. However with my laptop, thanks to the fact that this device is "Wireless-N" (which is meant to be superior over "Wireless-G") I did receive a stronger wireless signal that allowed me to connect at a greater distance. So it is defiantly a better solution for a wireless connection, as I now have the ability to connect from anywhere in the house or garden.
It also seems to offer a greater amount of bandwidth, whereas before if I was trying to watch a video online (on YouTube for example) it took a while to stream, but now it's a quick as a wired connection. I've also noticed that both my computer and my laptop can be online and active at the same time which previously could sometimes cause problems.
From a design point of view, the Linksys is certainly pleasing to the eyes. It's a very slim and compact device, with no ugly aerial sticking out, and it has a very nice 'shiny' finish. An considerable improvement over my bulky "Freeview" like box of a router.
The first and probably most major flaw with this router is the fact that there is no on/off switch. Not only is this somewhat wasteful of energy, but more annoyingly (owing to the fact that my computer is in my bedroom) the LED lights can be distracting especially when I'm trying to sleep, the result is that I have to pull out my computer desk and unplug the router every time I want to switch it off. Everything considering and the otherwise sound design this seems like a very unusual omission.
There are four Ethernet ports on this device, but sadly these are only the 100Mbps variety.
I have read several reviews on other sites that state that this device isn't compatible with Virgin, I'm not sure why, however it is worth mentioning as you should ensure that it is compatible with your Internet provider before buying.
This really is an improvement over my current router as it offers a faster wireless connection which is something that I was looking for. More importantly however is that this connection is stable, and thanks to the software probably more secure.
To tell you the truth, I've suspected for a while now that my current router is on its way out, as it's started to hang and the connection sometimes drops out. Therefore this was the ideal upgrade for me, if you want a superior, better looking router, and wireless connection is important to you, then it might be the ideal upgrade for you too. However if your happy with what your using at the moment, and you're not having any problems, then there would be no strong reason to spend money that you don't need too.
You can buy this device from Amazon.co.uk for £74.85, however I have seen it for sale cheaper on both Amazon Marketplace and on eBay, so it would pay to shop around.
(I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)