Lightning Review: Linksys WRT610N Dual N-Band Wireless Router

The Gadget: Linksys' Dual-N Band Wireless Router just became official, giving users simultaneous 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands so 802.11N users and 802.11G users can coexist without N users having to use the crowded 2.4GHz space. Also, since it's dual N-band, two N users can connect (one to each frequency) without interfering with the other. It's styled in Linksys' new form factor, which helps emphasize that Linksys is more for consumers (especially compared to their parent company Cisco).

The Price: $199 MSRP, but Amazon lists it for $149 for some reason.

The Verdict: Great. Even though the outside shell has changed from the traditional utilitarian Linksys blue and charcoal to a shiny dust-magnet black, the innards still carry on their workmanlike quality. We placed it on the second floor of our three floor house and it was able to cover every room, including through the walls to all the bathrooms. File transfers were speedy and comparable to the Apple Gigabit Airport Extreme we've been using for a while. The on-router configuration website is typical Linksys, but it also comes with their slightly newer EasyLink Advisor configuration application that helps you set up your network if you're not used to diddling with this stuff.

The upside is that if you have both N and G devices co-existing on your network now, this is a good solution to not slow down the N devices. Plus, one N device doesn't slow down another N device if they're using different frequencies. You also get a USB port for easy network storage sharing. Its Darth Vader glossy black is pretty much the polar opposite of Apple's Luke-white Airport Extreme. Since the prices are so close and the feature set is almost the same (Apple's $179 vs. this one's $149/$199), it's really up to you which style you want. [Amazon]

Here's Mani getting the name right and explaining some details.







Update: Here are a few more technical details on how this WRT610N differs from the recently released WRT600. The 610 has 3 dual-band antennas compared to the 600's six single-band ones. Also, 610 has enhanced QoS, Mac Setup, it's EnergyStar certified, and comes with the LELA 3.0 management utility. Plus, of course, it looks nicer.