Linksys WRT160N Wireless-N broadband router

The Linksys WRT160N Wireless-N broadband router has consistent performance, good range, a helpful software application, and a good set of networking features. Its lack of gigabit and USB support are the only major knocks against it.


7.3
CNET Rating
4.1
User Rating

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Design and ease of use

Similar to Linksys' recent routers such as the WRT320N, the WRT400N and the WRT310N, the WRT160N sports an aesthetically pleasing sleek, flat, UFO-shaped chassis. The router's antennas are internal, allowing it to be more compact than other, similarly sized routers.

On the back the WRT160N has four network ports, standard for most routers. Unfortunately, these ports do not adhere to the gigabit Ethernet standard, which allows for throughput speeds of up to 1000Mbps. Instead, the ports on the WRT160N are capped at 100Mbps, so if you use the router for wired connections, you'll be missing out on the higher speed. Also disappointing is the omission of a USB port, which would allow for supporting a printer or network storage device.

On the front of the router is an array of light emitting diodes that show the status of the ports, wireless network, and internet connection. In the middle of the LEDs is the Wi-Fi protected set-up (WPS) button, which initiates a window of time when you can hook other WPS-compliant wireless clients to the network without having to enter an encryption key. For example, if you bring a WPS-enabled client close to the router and press the button on both devices, they will be connected automatically.

The WRT160N comes with Linksys' EasyLink Advisor software for both PC and Mac. The software is well-designed and offers a well-thought-out, step-by-step set-up process that even the most novice of users can follow. Savvy users may want to skip it in favour of the web interface, which is more comprehensive than the desktop software.

We had no problems and were able to get the Linksys WRT160N router up and running for testing within a few minutes.

Features

The WRT160N router has nearly the same web interface and networking features as the other recent Linksys routers. The interface allows access to the router's long list of advanced features. We especially liked its elaborate content filtering system, called "Access Restrictions", that allows for restricting or filtering internet access of particular networked computers. This is helpful if you want to block certain computers from certain websites. The "Applications & Gaming" feature lets you set up port forwarding and triggering to set specific ports for specific applications such as games, remote desktop, or FTP and HTTP servers. You can also conveniently reserve static IP addresses to certain computers in the network, making the port forwarding much more relevant and easy to do. If you want to create a VPN connection, an FTP access, or a remote desktop connection to a certain computer in the network, you will find this handy and convenient.

The desktop software also offers some original post-set-up features. We especially liked the ability to see a map of all clients connected to the network and the ability to manage each of them in real time. For example, if you see an unidentified device connected to the network, the software allows you to mark it in red to distinguish it from other known devices. If a client in the network has EasyLink Advisor installed, you can do more, such as viewing its complete status including its MAC, IP address, OS and CPU information, and more.

For security, the WRT160N supports all available wireless encryption standards including WEP, WPA personal and WPA Enterprise. The router allows for VPN pass-through for all existing VPN protocols including IPsec, L2TP and PPTP. If you're using the router from your home, you can use a VPN client to access your work offices via a VPN connection.

Apart from NAT, it also has an SPI firewall that you can turn on or off, or further customise with different options.

Performance

The WRT160N's performance met our expectation for a single-band Wireless-N router.

On our throughput test, where the router was set to offer the best possible performance, it achieved 40.3Mbps, just a little slower than the 45.3Mbps of the WRT320 and a bit faster than the 40.1Mbps of the WRT400N. At this speed the WRT160N would take about 99 seconds to finish transmitting 500MB of data over its wireless network.

On our range test, where the router was 30 metres away from the client, it got 36.8Mbps, which was faster than the WRT320N and about the same as the WRT400N.

In mixed mode, the WRT160N remained at 36.7Mbps. The mixed-mode test was done with the router set to work with both Wireless-N and legacy Wireless-G simultaneously.

We noticed that the WRT160N, like most of Linksys' recent routers, offer consistent performance with small degradation over range and mixed mode, which is impressive. The Belkin N+, for example, has a faster throughput speed of 55.4Mbps, but its range speed reduced by nearly half to 29.4Mbps.

CNET Labs 2.4GHz Wireless-N performance score
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Mixed mode
Range
Throughput
D-Link DIR-825
55.04
40.4
57.44
Belkin N+ Wireless Router
36.16
29.44
55.44
Linksys WRT320N
40.8
32.6
45.3
Linksys WRT160N
36.7
36.8
40.3
Linksys WRT400N
38.2
37.4
40.1
Linksys WRT610N
27.04
28.8
35.76
Apple Time Capsule
20
20.3
32.2

We were also satisfied with the WRT160N's 270-foot range in our testing facility, which is not range optimised. In the real world, depending on your location, you might get even longer range.

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Perwez
3
Rating
 

Perwez posted a review   

The Good:Setup

The Bad:Drops internet connection frequently

Linksys WRT160N is a **** up router.

KGIII
1
Rating
 

KGIII posted a review   

The Good:Price

The Bad:Constantly Need to Reboot It

You will need to reboot it often. Sometimes I have to reboot it three or four times a day. It simply drops the connections.

I suspect that it is a heat issue or a memory (lack thereof) issue but it is not my role to diagnose this. They don't seem too inclined to fix the issue. If you read the release notes for the various firmware updates you'll see that they claim that they've fixed the reboot issue. I think they're on drugs.

 

rvnsls posted a reply   

i also experienced the same until i switched to other channels.

 

silver2u posted a reply   

what do you mean switch to other channels?
how did you do that?

 

tkfx posted a comment   

The Good:looks slick

The Bad:cconstantly drops out, firmware update destroyed it

second linksys modem with similar issues, constantly drops the wireless connection. had to reset it many times. finally researched online found a lot of users with similar issues, tried upgrading the firmware and it just fried. again researched this issue and found others with blinking light, firmware corrupt problem. i couldn't even ping the damn thing to restore it. taking it back hopefully getting a refund.

Cal
3
Rating
 

Cal posted a review   

The Good:Setup

The Bad:Dropouts

Have only had this device for a week.

Internet connection slows to a crawl (or stops!) after about 15mins of use - for some reason it's fine for the first 15mins but then it just drops the ball. I'm the sole user so cannot be a capacity issue.

Disconnections are also far too common.

I'll be seeking a refund.

Sumeet
10
Rating
 

Sumeet posted a review   

The Good:Excellent Wireless Router

The Bad:Nothing

I bought this router as my Belknins N+ Storage Modem Router was giving me lots of grief, as a router it just wont route information with all my connected devices. Belkins worked fine as far as the pc or laptops connection would go and simple Internet surfing.

In my network setup, I have a HP wireless printer, a wireless Internet radio, a Linksys WAG200 wireless Ethernet Bridge, 3 laptops, VoIP adapter, etc. and this wont work with Belkins.

Bought Linksys Router WRT160n, switched off Belkins wireless and connected the Linksys Wireless router with Belkins modem (to use Belkins only as a modem and not as a wireless router), Now all my home system is wireless networked through Linksys Wireless Router.

Buy this if you have a complex home network.

harlequinn
8
Rating
 

harlequinn posted a review   

The Good:strong wireless connections

The Bad:lack of gigabit ethernet

Versions 1.0 and 1.1 support upgrading to the open source firmware dd-wrt (www.dd-wrt.com). When done this makes the router much more powerful in terms of software configuration and reliability (v2.0 is in the works, v3.0 not supported). This router works well for me.

 

RevTobeyJr posted a comment   

The Good:The lights come on.

The Bad:Drops ALL connections every hour. Like clock work.

DO NOT PURCHASE THIS...

I HAVE VERSION 3 AND IT CONSTANTLY DROPS CONNECTIONS.

THERE IS NOOOO SUPPORT FOR THIS ROUTER...

WAIT A YEAR OR SO FOR WIRELESS N TO BE PERFECTED....

itmighty
1
Rating
 

itmighty posted a review   

The Good:looks good

The Bad:overheats, restarts

I had the device for some time.
The device would completely restart itself every 10 minutes.
Gets really hot.
Got it replaced, firmware updated, and still the same.
Also couldn't make it work with VOIP, even with the newest firmware.
eventually got a refund, and got myself a device from another vendor.


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User Reviews / Comments  Linksys WRT160N Wireless-N broadband router

  • Perwez

    Perwez

    Rating3

    "Linksys WRT160N is a **** up router."

  • KGIII

    KGIII

    Rating1

    "You will need to reboot it often. Sometimes I have to reboot it three or four times a day. It simply drops the connections.

    I suspect that it is a heat issue or a memory (lack thereo..."

  • tkfx

    tkfx

    "second linksys modem with similar issues, constantly drops the wireless connection. had to reset it many times. finally researched online found a lot of users with similar issues, tried upgrading t..."

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