Networking, News

Next generation Linksys WRT router adds MU-MIMO, AC3200 speeds

This morning, Linksys announced the arrival of its next-generation WRT router. The new Linksys AC3200 WRT Gigabit MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router (WRT3200ACM) builds on the success of the previous AC1900 model with enhanced speeds and MU-MIMO support.

Linksys are claiming the new model is the the fastest Dual Band router available, courtesy of integrated technology called Tri-stream 160. Most modern routers offer a maximum channel width of 80 MHz, capping individual broadcast streams at 433 Mbps.

However, this new model supports three individual streams broadcasting at 160 MHz, each delivering 867Mbps on the 5 GHz band. That equates to a combined speed of 2.6 Gbps at 5 GHz, doubling the usual, maximum 1300 Mbps speeds supported by AC1900 routers. That’s all according to the company’s mathematics, obviously. Add a further 600 Mbps available on the 2.4 GHz band and you have a dual-band AC3200 router on your hands.

The WRT3200ACM is also equipped with MU-MIMO support, allowing simultaneous connectivity to devices with compatible adapters. Elsewhere, the WRT gets an ARM processor bump to 1.8 GHz with 512MB DDR3 flash memory support. The eSATA and USB ports (one USB 2.0, one USB 3.0) are retained from the AC1900 model. The standard four Gigabit LAN/ one Gigabit WAN port combo is also on board. 

Linksys WRT models support open-source software and network enthusiasts can choose from OpenWrt or DD-WRT – both of which are available for the router. Suggested features via the use of open-source software include: 

Gamers:

  • Replace the full-featured factory firmware with a stripped down firmware so the router’s power is solely directed to moving network traffic instead of running other services like parental control or cloud services.
  • Optimize advanced routing settings for low latency

Enhanced browsing privacy/security:

  • Build virtual private networks (VPN) for secure data transfers
  • Access TOR Networks for anonymous browsing
  • Completely strip ad tracking
  • Employ network intrusion detection

Networking Professionals

  • Create a web server
  • Capture and analyse network traffic
  • Do Voice over IP calling (VoIP calls)
  • Perform advanced network traffic management

Commercial applications:

  • Create a Hot Spot (Captive portal) for internet cafes or other retail environments to provide customers with Wi-Fi
  • Smaller regional internet service providers looking for custom firmware solutions for CPE routers
  • Use the WRT as a Linux-based development platform

Information on pre-built images based on OpenWrt’s “Chaos Calmer” 15.05 branch are available immediately for the WRT3200ACM on the OpenWrt wiki page: https://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/linksys/wrt_ac_series

The new Linksys WRT3200ACM MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi Router will be available to buy in November, priced at £199.99/$279.99.

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Terry Walsh is the founder of We Got Served. He started the community in February 2007 with a mission to help families, tech enthusiasts everywhere figure out the technology needed to run the modern home and small business. He's the author of a number of guides to Windows, Windows Server and OS X Server and runs his own successful publishing business. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Terry has been awarded Microsoft's prestigious Most Valuable Professional Award each year since 2008 for his work on We Got Served.

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