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Nathan Edwards

Jun 24, 2008

Linksys WRT600N Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router

At A Glance

Delicious

Dual-band blows all other routers we've tested out of the water; Storage Link give ad-hoc NAS functionality.

Malicious

Expensive.

The Linksys WRT600N is the first 802.11n draft 2.0 router we’ve tested that can operate on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands simultaneously. It’s also the most expensive Wi-Fi router we’ve ever tested.

We tested the router at its default settings: The 5GHz radio operating in 802.11n-only mode and the 2.4GHz radio operating in mixed 802.11b/g/n mode. (Both radios have access to the same integrated four-port gigabit switch.) We used the latter for data and the former for streaming media to Linksys’s DMA2200 (reviewed below). The router delivered impressive results, especially while simultaneously transferring data and streaming HD video.

In fact, the WRT600N bested our previous favorite (D-Link’s DIR-655) by a whopping 43 percent at close range (see chart). The chasm widened to a staggering 170 percent when the client was placed at its furthest point from the router inside the home, but the gap narrowed to just 5 percent when we compared performance inside the well-insulated media room at Maximum PC Lab North. D-Link’s product beat Linksys’s when the client was outside the house.

The dual-band feature really came to the fore when we streamed 1080p video clips over the wireless network: The DIR-655’s data throughput dropped by nearly half in some situations; the WRT600N’s was unaffected.

Not everyone needs a router that can handle conventional traffic, VoIP, and high-definition media all at the same time. If you do, or if your neighborhood is simply jam-packed with competing access points, Linksys’s WRT600N should be at the top of your router shopping list.

Benchmarks
  Linksys
WRT600N
(Data Only)
D-Link
Dir-655
(Data Only)
Linksys
WRT600N
(Data & Media)
D-Link
Dir-655
(Data & Media)
Home Office, 5 feet (Mb/s) 129.0 90.5 124.0 50.1
Kitchen, 20 feet (Mb/s) 117.0
67.4
95.2 45.3
Patio, 38 feet (Mb/s) 114.0
59.6 98.2 46.0
Bedroom, 60 feet (Mb/s) 78.1 28.9 70.7 23.6
Media Room, 35 feet (Mb/s) 28.8 27.3 36.0
12.0
Outdoors A, 90 feet (Mb/s) 2.1 8.4 1.4 4.6
Outdoors B, 85 feet (Mb/s) 1.1 2.5 0.9 2.0

Best scores in each scenario (streaming data only and then streaming data and media) are bolded. See here for detailed test criteria.

THE VERDICT

Linksys WRT600N Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router

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