The Linksys WRT300N router is a MIMO device with a difference – instead of three identical antennas, it has two plus a large paddle-shaped antenna between them, which should give you hours of twiddling fun. This draft-N router features the usual four-port fast Ethernet switch, but for Internet access it has a standard RJ-45 ethernet port – so you'll need a separate external cable or ADSL modem. It has a very full feature list, which includes an SPI firewall, a DHCP server, DMZ and VPN pass-throughs and WPA2 security. Curiously, it sports a padlock button hidden under a 'reserved' sticker; presumably a one-touch WPA setup button or some such.

The WRT300N, which is based on the Broadcom Intensi-fi chipset (also used in the Buffalo Nfiniti), was easy enough to get going. Although provided with a setup wizard, we just plugged the Linksys router into our ADSL router and off we went. A slick setup procedure is available for the more cautious. The Linksys uses the very familiar Linksys web-management front-end with a few bells and whistles here and there. The WRT300N has top QoS support. QoS can now be applied to applications, voice devices, individual MAC addresses, or a specific Ethernet port.
Under test, the WRT300N wasn't bad, but it didn't shine – it could manage a peak data rate of 36 Mbit/s in our QCheck close test, dropping to 33 Mbit/s in our far test. Clearly a long way short of the 12X speed gain claimed on the box. For comparison's sake, a fast ethernet wired connection managed 90 Mbit/s.

In its favour, its list price is relatively inexpensive, compared with other Draft-N products we have reviewed, but these have also fallen in price, so NetGear's DG834N is available for £93.88 inc VAT, and D-Link's Rangebooster N650 now costs about £87 inc VAT. Both include an ADSL modem.

Overall, unless speed is crucial, we still advise leaving Draft-N alone.

OUR VERDICT

One of the better and relatively inexpensive draft-N routers on the market, but it still falls short of the draft-N speed claims.