Linksys WRT310N Wireless-N Gigabit Router

Aside from its potentially worrisome heat output, the Linksys WRT310N Wireless-N Gigabit Router is a networking dynamo with chart-topping performance and a sleek (maybe too sleek) design.


7.8
CNET Rating
4.5
User Rating

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The Linksys WRT310N Wireless-N Gigabit Router bears the same sleek, antenna-free design as its sibling the WRT160N, except features a four port gigabit switch. We are a little disappointed at the lack of a USB port, which means it can't act as a print server or easily facilitate network storage. It more than makes up for these lacking features, however, with excellent performance in CNET Labs' testing. In fact, it was by far the fastest router we've tested to date on our mixed mode setup, which we believe to be the most popular real-life network scenario with older 802.11b/g devices operating with newer Draft 802.11n devices. It was also the top performer on our max throughput test. Unfortunately, this good performance does come with heat — and lots of it. For AU$199, the Linksys WRT310N makes a good investment for any networking environment, both home and office — just make sure the router is not stuck in a tight corner but a clear, well-ventilated area.

Design and ease of use
The WRT310N boasts a design that is both attractive and practical. There are no external antennas to clutter the ports on the back. You'll find four LAN ports and one WAN port on the back. All of the network ports are Gigabit, which is always a welcome upgrade, especially in a Draft N 2.0 router, where the wireless speed is claimed to potentially get up to 300Mbps — higher than the 100Mbps maximum of a 10/100 Ethernet router. On its top toward the front, there is a line of cool, blue LEDs that show the status of the ports on the back and the state of the wireless network. In the middle of the LED is the button that initiates the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) feature that allows for quickly adding WPS-enabled wireless clients to the network.

The router is very compact and thin, which is great in and of itself, but it also means there's not much empty space inside. Because the WRT310N is a high-power router and lacks proper ventilation, it runs very hot.

The WRT310N doesn't have a USB port to offer relatively popular USB-related features such as print serving, network storage, or Windows Connect Now, which lets you transfer the wireless encryption key with a thumb drive. This is disappointing since we view the WRT310N as a rather high-end router on par with others such as the D-Link DIR-655.

The router comes with Linksys' EasyLink Advisor (LELA) software that walks you step by step through the setup process. It's one of the most well-thought-out setup apps we've used for wireless routers. Savvy users might still skip it and just use the Web interface, which is also relatively intuitive, but novice users will definitely appreciate LELA. We had absolutely no problem and were able to get the router up and running for testing within a few minutes.

Features
The WRT310N is a certified Draft N 2.0 router, and features Linksys' proprietary wireless enhancing technology called RangePlus. This means the WRT310N can potentially offer higher than wireless-G speed to non-wireless-N adapters that support this technology (you'll need to get those from Linksys; they are available in PC Card, USB, and PCI adapter form factors). Realistically most won't be exposed to this technology — but if you have a Draft N adapter you won't miss much anyway, as it will achieve a much faster speed than a RangePlus adapter ever would.

The WRT310N web-interface layout and networking features are similar to most Linksys routers. It has a very elaborate content filtering feature called "Access Restrictions" that allows for restricting/filtering access of particular computers on the network to the Internet. You can also set up special port forwarding/triggering using the "Applications & Gaming" feature. This feature allows for setting specific ports for specific applications such as games or Remote Desktop or FTP, HTTP server, and so on.

The router supports all available wireless encryption from WEP to WPA and WPA2, as well as Remote Authentication Dial In User Service and higher-end features such as Firewall, VPN pass-through, and access restriction. For quick wireless network setup, it uses the Wi-Fi Protected Setup push button mentioned earlier.

Performance
The Linksys WRT310 blew us away with its performance. It easily topped the charts on both CNET Labs' max throughput and mixed mode tests, scoring 110.6Mbps and 95.3Mbps respectively. These scores are still no way close to the claimed theoretical 300Mbps throughput of the 802.11n spec, but they come the closest that we've seen from any Draft N router. On our range test, the router lost its top position to the Asus WL-500W 802.11n but only by a small margin.

We were especially pleased with the WRT310N's performance in mixed-mode testing; we believe this is the most common scenario for Draft N routers in real life, where you are adding newer N clients to existing B and G devices.

The WRT310N offers excellent range too. We had no problem picking up its signal at 60 metres, and we were able to maintain a connection at 90 metres. Our testing environment is not optimal for broadcasting a signal over long distances, so the WRT310N may offer even better range in your home where there is less interference than in CNET Labs. It's worth noting that a router's range depends a lot on the environment it is in, especially for routers that operate on 2.4GHz frequency, which is used by a lot of other electronic equipment like cordless phones and Bluetooth devices and may cause interference.

As mentioned before, the router ran very hot during our testing process, to the point that you might not be able to rest your fingers on its bottom for longer than a few seconds. It's more of a design flaw than a performance problem, from what we saw. In testing, its performance was not adversely affected by the heat, but we didn't work with it for longer than a few days.

Ixia IxChariot maximum throughput tests (at 4.5 metres)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Linksys WRT310N - Wireless-N Gigabit Router
110.6
Netgear RangeMax Next WNR854T
85.5
SMC SMCWGBR14-N Barricade N
83.7
D-Link DGL-4500 Xtreme Gaming Router
81.9
Edimax BR-6504N nMax
76.7
Apple Time Capsule
65.1
Asus WL-500W 802.11n
62.9
Apple Airport Express
52.8

Ixia IxChariot maximum throughput tests with mixed 802.11b/g and draft N clients (at 4.5 metres)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Linksys WRT310N - Wireless-N Gigabit Router
95.3
Edimax BR-6504N nMax
68
Netgear RangeMax Next WNR854T
67.5
Asus WL-500W 802.11n
55.1
SMC SMCWGBR14-N Barricade N
52.4
Apple Time Capsule
51.5
D-Link DGL-4500 Xtreme Gaming Router
50.9
Apple Airport Express
50.5

Ixia IxChariot long-range tests
(Longer bars indicate faster performance)
Asus WL-500W 802.11n
29.7
Linksys WRT310N - Wireless-N Gigabit Router
28.8
D-Link DGL-4500 Xtreme Gaming Router
27
Netgear RangeMax Next WNR854T
26.9
SMC SMCWGBR14-N Barricade N
24.3
Apple Time Capsule
21.36
Apple Airport Express
11.7
Edimax BR-6504N nMax
11.4



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Bajabob
1
Rating
 

Bajabob posted a review   

The Good:looks great and super fast... when it decides to work

The Bad:frequently drops connection, ureliable piece of crap

It worked fine for the first few months but then I noticed it needed more and more re-starts. Now I can't get the damn thing to connect for more than an hour evem if I have my laptop right beside it. Some speculate that the heat this turd generates may have something to do with its equally turd-like performance. Do not waste your money on this overpriced paperweight!!!

 

Taken posted a reply   

This is a peice of crap-drops out more than not.

 

Confused posted a comment   

What is the deal with CNet speed comparisons?

Looking the results of this comparison, in relation to those for the Linksys WRT320N, I'm a little confused. The WRT320N shows a maximum throughput (in 5GHz mode) of 52.9Mbps, the WRT310N a whopping 110.6 (Mbps I presume). Has there been a change in the cnet testing procedures, or is the WRT320N not the new generation of the WRT310N?

Change
3
Rating
 

Change posted a review   

The Good:Fast when connected!

The Bad:Does not stay connected! Gets hot and wonder if that is the problem. It worked well for the first 3 weeks then the problems started.

Will not stay connected!

sniper01
4
Rating
 

sniper01 posted a review   

The Good:fast

The Bad:get hot fast, need restart always.

always reset my wifi network, signal drops quickly. laptops always find a bad signal and cannot connect to internet

skipiglet
4
Rating
 

skipiglet posted a review   
Hong Kong

The Good:Gigabit ports for my NAS connection

The Bad:Got problem with setup with other brand's old wireless 802.11 a/b/g devices.

Just out the AP, no problem setting up the connection with the ISP without using the setup S/W. But I'm still unable to setup my wireless connection to my 2nd PC, that use a 3com USB 802.11g adapter, it work for a while and loss the connection! So do I have to buy a Linksys N type USB adapter??? That means more $$$$$$

Steveo
3
Rating
 

Steveo posted a review   

The Good:hmm i need help here.

The Bad:I have had this router for a few months now.
And from the time i bought it .
It always disconnects from the internet . I have optus cable.And i also find it gives me a lot of trouble when i want to connect new wireless devices to it.

I actually read the cnet review on this product then went out and bought it.
As for its speed it is quite fast when its working.But if you are looking for a stable product then look elsewhere.

fazzout
9
Rating
 

fazzout posted a review   

The Good:works with linksys products as specified.

The Bad:no external antenna port

Works great for me. I had to wireless connect a linksys media centre extender and my media center PC at opposite ends of the house. I started with a linksys 300n PCI card in the pc, but swapped to the linksys USB600n. The result is a very fast wireless line 200Mbps+. I can stream HD video.

someone who really cares
3
Rating
 

someone who really cares posted a review   

The Good:excelent when really close...
has 4 usb ports

The Bad:signal isnt that far (40 feat) and when u do get it it sucks soooo bad

I paid $150 for this peice of crap at circut city in july 2008, they said this was the best they had so i assumed it would be quite good. when i got home i was working good for a few days then i really turned out gay,.. the signal with was really crappy the streghnt was really bad as well so i really dont suggest getting this.. wat would say is if u have a internet provider like qwest then get a wirless router from them its much better my internet goes to 5 houses away from me now....!!

chris manuel
9
Rating
 

chris manuel posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Speeds of 130mbs, Without Linksys adapter
Nice Design
Gagabit Ethernet
Better range than my old Belkin

The Bad:A Little Hot
No USB

Set- Up software didnt work. I had to configure manually. Yes it is hot but it is not a problem


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User Reviews / Comments  Linksys WRT310N Wireless-N Gigabit Router

  • Bajabob

    Bajabob

    Rating1

    "It worked fine for the first few months but then I noticed it needed more and more re-starts. Now I can't get the damn thing to connect for more than an hour evem if I have my laptop right beside ..."

  • Confused

    Confused

    "What is the deal with CNet speed comparisons?

    Looking the results of this comparison, in relation to those for the Linksys WRT320N, I'm a little confused. The WRT320N shows a maximum..."

  • Change

    Change

    Rating3

    "Will not stay connected!"

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