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Linksys WRT350N Gigabit 802.11N MIMO Router

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

Both a 802.11N wireless router and a gigabit ethernet router, the Linksys WRT350N also has Storage LInk, which lets you add additional storage to your network. Attach any USB 2.0 hard drive to the router and it becomes accessible to the WRT350N's media server so you can access all your files anywhere in the home. It's even UPnP compatible, so your Windows XP box can detect it immediately.

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The wireless portion uses MIMO, which increases range, decreases dead-spots and overall gives you more speed for your money. Since it's draft 802.11N, there's no guarantee it will work with the final N products. Since the WRT350N isn't' actually available yet, you won't have to make up your mind whether to go draft N or wait for full N just yet.

Wireless-N Gigabit Router with Storage Link [Linksys]

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DISCUSSION

The Linksys WRT350N has weak ineffective control software, and support that's even worse! Cisco, shame on you! For a flagship consumer product, unfortunately the Linksys WRT350N is far below par. I lived with one for 3 weeks (as I invested many, many hours in failed attempts to obtain effective Linksys technical support) before I returned it to Best Buy.

The firewall (and associated tech support) was what drove it back to the store. I have had many routers: Net Gear, D-Link, SMC, and several Linksys over the years. First, understand that I use the firewall's access control for parental control purposes. So far the one that had the best potential to serve my needs was this one. I initially setup the access control, and found that while all settings were saved successfully, they were not in effect. I found my 16 year old still web surfing well after 2:00AM on a school night. So I called for help. I spent hours getting to someone who understood me. I thought those hours were well spent when they told me that I had not configured it right. The person said first you have to deny all access; then setup permission to allow. She said; "you can not just apply restrictions." Ok I did that, with the same effect, none. I called again and the next person who could understand what I was saying, after I explained my problem told me that the first Linksys tech support was wrong, and I should do it the way I had initially done it, but I must power cycle the router to invoke the rules. Ok I'm game. I thought I was doing it right in the first place, Power cycling invoked the set rules, and all was right with the world. Then a day or so later I added another rule. Same story, the rule would not work until power was cycled. Now I'm getting the hang of this, power cycling to invoke rules is inconvenient but effective. BUT NOW, every time I power cycle the router after a rule change... and only after a rule change… all Internet access is blocked on all nodes for 2 to 4 hours. Once it recovers, its fine, the rules work, and all is well until you touch the rules and power cycle it again.

The last Linksys technical support person I spoke to said that the product team would be in touch with me to help resolve the product's issues. I said I was glad to work with them. The promise was to expect a call in the next 48 hours. After 72 hours, the same person called back and said the product team need clarifications on all of the things we had already been over. So now I'm repeating this and dozens of other lame and unrelated questions to the same person because the product team did not have time to share directly with me. Three more days went by, no call from the product team, during the return process and again for the benefit of a salesperson I told this story at the Best Buy. Avoid the WRT350N, it's not worth the money or trouble.