The iconic blue and black WRT line of routers from Linksys is getting a new addition with the latest wireless technology and the same open-source firmware support that made it popular among enthusiasts. The Linksys AC3200 WRT Gigabit MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router promises to provide better throughput thanks to its “Tri-Stream 160 technology” by extending channel width from 80 MHz to 160 MHz “when Dynamic Frequency Selection conditions allow.”
The ability to produce three streams also allows separating "slow" and "fast" devices by running two 5GHz Wi-Fi networks simultaneously, enabling you to separate 802.11n and 802.11ac into different connections to avoid bottlenecking the AC devices.
It also supports MU-MIMO (Multiple User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) technology, which allows it to transmit data with multiple devices simultaneously instead of them taking turns.
Hardware specs include a 1.8GHz dual-core ARM-based CPU, 512MB of DDR3 memory, and 256MB of flash storage. The router has four high-powered antennas, five gigabit Ethernet ports (4 LAN, 1 Internet), one USB 3.0 port, and one USB 2.0/eSATA port for setting up external storage or adding onboard media servers.
Linksys is touting the fact that it is open-source ready with OpenWrt or DD-WRT “for complete flexibility and customization of networking functions or for optimizing the router for specific use cases, such as privacy, VoIP, and small office applications.”
While Linksys has certainly built an impressive router on paper, it’s worth noting that the WRT3200ACM will only as fast as the clients connected to it. As it stands now there are no Tri-band 160 laptops or phones currently on the market, and there are very few that support MU-MIMO technology, so you’re essentially getting bragging rights and hoping those technologies become widespread in the near future.
The Linksys AC3200 WRT Gigabit MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router is available now via the Linksys web store and Amazon priced at a hefty $280.