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Linksys WRT32X AC3200 dual-band Wi-Fi gaming router review: Gaming with this Linksys router is Killer

Overall, the WRT32X offers theoretical speed of 2,600Mbps (3x867) on the 5GHz band. However, most devices will max out at 1300Mbps since they can only use 80MHz wide channels. The 2.4GHz band offers 600Mbps, creating the AC3200 rating (600+867+867+867). Check out the performance tests below for how close it actually gets to those speeds.

Unlike the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 gaming router, you'll only find four LAN ports on the WRT32X and you won't find dual-WAN capability to connect a second internet connection or link aggregation to create a two gigabit wired connection. The Linksys WRT32X is also only a dual band router, so you only get one 2.4GHz band and one 5GHz band (as opposed to two 5GHz bands to help alleviate network congestion). However, using the Killer Prioritization Engine gives your games highest priority and keeps them from suffering latency issues.

Network prioritization for all of your devices (Killer-enabled and non-Killer-enabled) is available from the WRT32X menu. It can be a bit confusing, but basically turning on the KPE also activates the regular router UI prioritization. Regular devices can be put into categories of Higher (Priority 2), Normal (Priority 4) and Lower (Priority 6). The traffic from Killer devices are in their own section and are automatically prioritized when the KPE is turned on. According to Rivet Networks, here is how the automatic priorities work:

Killer Automatic Prioritization

Priority 1 Games on Killer PC
Priority 2 Voice on Killer PC
Priority 3 Video on Killer PC
Priority 4 General web on Killer PC
All traffic from other devices
Priority 5 Web downloads on Killer PC
Priority 6 Bulk Downloads on Killer PC

Lacking in speed, but plenty for gaming

According to Linksys, "Killer reduces peak ping by up to 77%" calculated from the reduction of peak ping rate from 74 milliseconds (ms) to 17ms when using the Killer Prioritization Engine on the WRT32X and a Killer-enabled PC using a 10 megabits per second (Mbps) down/2Mbps up internet connection that has multiple devices consuming the 10Mbps connection.

That's probably a little confusing, but it basically says that you need near ideal conditions with low bandwidth to achieve those results.

My ping never got to 17ms, but with KPE on while using a Killer-enabled PC, I was able to restore my ping to its normal state after streaming and downloads from other computers made it rise. I did have to restrict my bandwidth to 15Mbps to experience a difference, but the KPE stabilized my ping in less than 30 seconds and kept it at the normal rate for the duration of my game.

The WRT32X does what it promises, but only if you have a PC with Killer hardware, like MSI, Dell (Alienware and XPS models), Razer or Gigabyte.

The WRT32X was pretty average when it came to my speed tests. The 5GHz band peaked at 770Mbps from seven feet away, but dropped all the way to 116Mbps 50 feet and two rooms away. The 2.4GHz band was very consistent, staying above 150Mbps everywhere I tested, maxing out at 172Mbps. This should give you good coverage throughout a mid-sized home.

Linksys AC3200 Gaming Router (WRT32X) Performance Tests

2.4GHz
172
165
152
5GHz
770
370
116

Legend:

7 Feet
25 Feet
50 Feet

Note:

All speeds in megabits per second (Mbps)

Should you buy one?

The Linksys WRT32X is made for hard-core gamers who can't risk their ping jumping up and down, even for a few seconds. The menu isn't as user-friendly as those on most newer routers, but it has all the standard features that you would want in an AC3200 router to keep your network running smoothly in the immediate future.

My recommendation is that if you play games occasionally, you can find another router like the Asus RT-AC3200 with regular network prioritization that will help. For hardcore gamers with Killer PCs, this router is a must have.

Linksys WRT32X Specs

Brand Linksys Model WRT32X
IEEE 802.11 Standard a/g/n/ac CPU Processor Dual core 1.8GHz
Class AC3200 RAM Memory (MB) 512MB
Speed (Mbps) 3,200 (600+2,600) Flash Memory (MB) 256MB
Frequency Dual band (2.4GHz+5GHz) Guest Wi-Fi Yes
Ethernet Ports 1 Gigabit WAN; 4 Gigabit LAN Parental Controls No
USB Ports 1 USB 3.0; 1 eSATA/USB 2.0 MU-MIMO Yes
Antennas 4x4 external; 3 streams Beamforming Yes
Security WPA2-Personal; 128 Bit AES Link Encryption Setup Web browser
Size (in) 9.68 by 7.63 by 2.04 Weight (lbs) 1.76

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