The Linksys WRT3200ACM is the latest in the WRT router series from this (mostly) much-loved home network brand.
It follows on from the WRT1900AC & WRT1900ACS routers that have proven popular, especially with those that like to get their hands a little dirty. These WRT routers can be easily upgraded to either DD-WRT or OpenWRT 3rd party, open source firmware (use DD-WRT if you're not super-technically competent - OpenWRT takes a little more know-how to get going).
Migrating to open source firmware will give you heaps more options, including the potential to increase wifi coverage and signal. Manufacturers usually have their own scaled-down firmware on board, with more limited options, that more users can understand and work with.
Anyway, enough about the firmware, what about this lovely new router?! What else has it got?
5 Linksys WRT3200ACM AC3200 Features
160MHz Channels ‘Tri Stream’
The WRT3200ACM can utilize 160MHz wide channels, on the 5GHz band obviously, to deliver more throughput. 40MHz & 80MHz can also be used of course!
A word of warning however, there are no devices around (at time of writing) that are support contiguous 160MHz bandwidth, so this may be a bit of a waste (unless you want to bridge with another WRT3200ACM of course!). Sometime in the future, yes, there will be clients out there, but it's anyone's guess as to how long that will take.
Take note that this is a dual band router, not tri band as per all the other AC3200 routers on the market.
DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection) is, believe it or not, actually used to avoid radar frequencies. Wi-Fi routers can potentially interfere with important radar signals.
So what DFS does, on the router, is detect any radar signals that might be on the currently used 5GHz channel. If it detects a radar signal, it immediately moves the wifi router onto another frequency/channel so that there are no collisions.
Why do we care about this? Well, using DFS opens up more frequencies on the 5GHz band. This means you are less likely to experience interference from neighboring wifi APs.
1.8GHz Powerful CPU
Linksys have bolted on a chunky 1.8GHz dual core processor for efficient routing. A faster processor should mean that your router shouldn’t lag, or at least won’t have any fingers pointing to it should there be any lag within your network, or beyond.
MU-MIMO lets Multiple Users use MIMO at exactly the same time. By allowing multiple clients use MIMO at the same time, your network becomes more efficient overall.
4x 1Gbps LAN & USB 3.0
Just like its predecessors, the WRT3200ACM has four LAN ports, a single USB 3.0 port and a second USB 2.0 port – which can also be used for an eSATA drive.
It would have been nice to have either more LAN ports, or maybe have that 2nd USB upgraded to USB 3.0…or hey, maybe even both. Not to be. The port specs will probably be enough for most users, but as we have seen with the latest Netgear and even others in the Linksys family, there is a market for 8 LAN port routers with dual USB 3.0.
Linksys WRT3200ACM Tech Specs
- Dual Band 2.4GHz (N600) / 5GHz (AC2600)
- 1.8GHz Dual Core CPU
- 4x 1Gbps LAN / 1x 1Gbps WAN
- 1x USB 3.0 / 1x USB 2.0 (also doubles as eSATA port)
- 4x External Antennas
- VPN Support (PPTP / IPSec passthrough)
- DD-WRT / OpenWRT Ready
- Modes: Router / AP / Wired & Wi-Fi Bridge / Repeater
Wrapping Up the WRT3200ACM Tri Stream
If you already own an AC router (AC1900 or above), particularly one that is DD-WRT compatible, then the WRT3200ACM may not be necessary. It may be hard to justify the cost against how much more you are actually going get from it.
Some of the features will really come into their own (eventually) when clients are able to fully utilize them. Think 160MHz & MU-MIMO here.
Otherwise, this is a solid enough router, up there with its Netgear & Asus counterparts.
Own a WRT3200ACM? Thinking of getting one? Have any questions? Just ask a question in the comments section below... ?