Linksys WRT3200ACM AC3200 MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi Router Reviewed

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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Linksys' WRT3200ACM AC3200 MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi Router is another example of a router with technology waiting for devices to catch up with it.

Read on SmallNetBuilder
 

Gascogne

Occasional Visitor
It would be interesting to see a comparison between the WRT3200ACm and the WRT1900AC/S since as you mentioned in your review that the WRT32000ACm is an expensive 1900AC router.

The DFS feature would be nice to have, the price is perhaps bit high at the moment.
 
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sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
I've been using Total Simultaneous TCP/IP and UDP throughput as performance differentiators in the V4 process. The comparison charts of AC1900 class routers show the WRT3200ACM suprisingly low in the ranking. Table 2 above shows unidirectional throughput isn't particularly high either. I suspect this is due to the relatively high number of retries for the TCP/IP tests and packet loss for the UDP benchmarks.

The top-ranked D-Link DIR-879 had 23 total TCP/IP retries in the bi-directional test vs. 18,013 for the WRT3200ACM. Packet loss for the bi-directional UDP test was 50% down and 61% up for the Linksys vs. 0.01% for both directions for the D-Link.

Looks like a SW/config issue inside the Linksys firmware with flow management and backpressure - Since the WRT3200 has a new switch asic compared to WRT1900, could be a simple tuning there...

Nice to see that the test case and platform caught this...
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I was expecting more out of 160 MHz. Seems like a waste to use an entire UNI band just to get a 20-30% performance boost at best - and that's assuming you don't have any radar nearby that might kick you off at any time, with the issues that involves. People using more sensitive network applications (VoIP/gaming/streaming) might want to avoid using a DFS channel, unless they know there's in an area where they never get kicked by a radar.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
I was expecting more out of 160 MHz. Seems like a waste to use an entire UNI band just to get a 20-30% performance boost at best - and that's assuming you don't have any radar nearby that might kick you off at any time, with the issues that involves. People using more sensitive network applications (VoIP/gaming/streaming) might want to avoid using a DFS channel, unless they know there's in an area where they never get kicked by a radar.

Yeah... one has to consider though - at 160MHz, that's a lot more noise and interference than at narrower bandwidths (this is why sometimes 40MHz channels in dense areas can be a good thing for 802.11ac)...

BTW - see that the WiFI chips actually have 128MB of RAM each 8O

Odd that they didn't mix up the chipsets, as they could have easily gone with the older Marvell chip from the WRT1900ac for the 2.4GHz and save a bit of money...
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
160 MHz channels are just another example of just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you should.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
160 MHz channels are just another example of just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you should.

Agreed. But this is generation version (point) one. (Back to the drawing board).

As this new tool in the router toolbox matures, I'm pretty confident that we'll be singing it's praises before long.

Today though? Agreed that the Linksys model is not one to lust after (not only for it's poor 160/80 MHz showings. :)
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
So is it safe to assume then that this is based WRT AC gen3 (1900acv1 being Gen1, WRT1200ac/1900acV2/ACS being Gen2)...

When seen in that perspective - it's building blocks..

For most folks - ACv2/ACS/ACM pretty much all perform about the same...
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
160 MHz channels are just another example of just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you should.

You'd have to wonder how much lobbying backed by purely marketing purposes is starting to have a direct impact on IEEE decisions these days...
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
You'd have to wonder how much lobbying backed by purely marketing purposes is starting to have a direct impact on IEEE decisions these days...

As a former member of IEEE (and other standards bodies) - this is pretty much forbidden and looked down against - at least in public discussion during development of a given specification.

That being said, there's hella hallway chatter - everyone does have an agenda - get their IP in the spec is the big win if it's essential for the spec to function - but also much discussion about use cases, etc...

Business items like "cost" are frowned, but "complexity" is fair game, which is a synonym for "cost"...

When one looks at WiFi Alliance vs. IEEE 802.11WG's - the discussion over in WiFi Alliance is more focused on business, as that's their role - to promote the spec.
 

Razor512

Very Senior Member
I wonder why we are not seeing 160MHz support on smartphones, since they tend to not use 3-4 stream radios, they would benefit from 160MHz.

Also is there any chance of 160MHz with 1024QAM anytime soon? This should be useful for users who use apps such as folder sync which can backup their data while a phone is charging. If the charger is close to the router, they can get faster backups.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
I wonder why we are not seeing 160MHz support on smartphones, since they tend to not use 3-4 stream radios, they would benefit from 160MHz.

Also is there any chance of 160MHz with 1024QAM anytime soon? This should be useful for users who use apps such as folder sync which can backup their data while a phone is charging. If the charger is close to the router, they can get faster backups.

I won't say never - but 160MHz in phones will present challenges that impact power and cost that might have limited utility...

1024-QAM is non-standard in the 11ac spec - even in 5GHz, the S/N ratios are not favorable - at 160MHz channels, the challenge would be even higher...
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
FWIW - not sure if this is a credit to the WRT's or not - but I've kept one in the house - with the holiday weekend, it's going on the LAN as the "guest" network access running over VLAN1013 as an AP going into my pfSense router...

(I've got a lot of friends/family that stop by, we do Thanksgiving weekend pretty big...)

Why the WRT instead of standing up Guest on my Airports (acting as AP's) - mostly because I know first hand that the WRT can take 50-60 clients in AP mode without breaking a sweat... and it has the range to cover the entire house and patio, which is about 3500 square feet...
 

SledgeHammer01

Occasional Visitor
Always appreciated the HW design of the WRT's - it was the SW that was the big let down...

I'm still playing with them to decide if I want to keep them since they aren't cheap.

I've seen a few little nitpicks in the software that seem stupid, but I guess you're referring more to performance type stuff.

Signal strength seems to be about the same as my EA6900, the only semi-dead spot is the master bathroom (same as the EA6900). I am running the 2nd one in wireless bridge mode rather then repeater mode. Running the main one on channel 100 / 160Mhz.

EDIT: Wow... DHCP reservations and the network map are *SO* broken.

I've also noticed that wireless bridge mode gives you a different mac address every time you connect to the network and the interface doesn't let you specify a static IP and of course, with a dynamic mac address, the DHCP reservations won't work.
 
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sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
I've seen a few little nitpicks in the software that seem stupid, but I guess you're referring more to performance type stuff.

See the following...

http://www.snbforums.com/threads/goodbye-wrt1900ac-comments-below.31436/#post-254232

Wow... DHCP reservations and the network map are *SO* broken

Speaking about range - little tip for 2.4GHz - set the radio to 20MHz channels, and run it in B/G/N mode (rather than auto) - helps much with both range and speed for that band...
 

SledgeHammer01

Occasional Visitor
See the following...

http://www.snbforums.com/threads/goodbye-wrt1900ac-comments-below.31436/#post-254232

Speaking about range - little tip for 2.4GHz - set the radio to 20MHz channels, and run it in B/G/N mode (rather than auto) - helps much with both range and speed for that band...

When you run 160Mhz, you have to run AC only on 5Ghz. All my wireless devices are AC, so I disabled the 2.4Ghz network.

My main gripes so far are:

1) network map is really buggy
2) dhcp reservations are really buggy
3) wireless bridge mode can't do a static ip and it generates a new mac address every time it connects to the main router, so you can't even use the buggy dhcp reservations to get a static ip
4) admin page keeps you signed in unless you actually sign out. Even if you close the browser, it still keeps you logged in.
5) network map icons have a crock pot and a coffee maker, but no AVR???
6) since the wireless bridge generates a new mac address every time it connects, the network map gets flooded with bogus entries while you reboot multiple times / setup everything
 
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FattysGoneWild

Regular Contributor
When you run 160Mhz, you have to run AC only on 5Ghz. All my wireless devices are AC, so I disabled the 2.4Ghz network.

My main gripes so far are:

1) network map is really buggy
2) dhcp reservations are really buggy
3) wireless bridge mode can't do a static ip and it generates a new mac address every time it connects to the main router, so you can't even use the buggy dhcp reservations to get a static ip
4) admin page keeps you signed in unless you actually sign out. Even if you close the browser, it still keeps you logged in.
5) network map icons have a crock pot and a coffee maker, but no AVR???
6) since the wireless bridge generates a new mac address every time it connects, the network map gets flooded with bogus entries while you reboot multiple times / setup everything

I am suffering 1&2 right now with the EA9500. I have a WRT1900ACM coming in for testing soon. Those 2 issues have been a problem across various models now for a while. I started some noise about it yesterday on their own forums. Take a look.

http://community.linksys.com/t5/Wir...p-confirmed-bugs-official-thread/td-p/1067724

http://community.linksys.com/t5/Wireless-Routers/Smart-Wifi-Network-Map/td-p/1055466/page/4

I am extremely irritated that no one talks about this in reviews. Even our own on SNB. Well our main reviewer. This has been going on for MONTHS across various models.
 

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