The WRT150N--which Linksys has positioned as a bargain router for those who don't want to pay $149 for the WRT300N Wireless-N Broadband Router--is a bare-bones device with only two antennas, compared with the three found on most N routers. It has a smaller footprint than other routers but otherwise has the exact same design as every other Linksys model. The company includes a powerful and (mostly) stress-free setup program that eases you through the configuration process, prompting you to save your security password as a text file and walking you through most options easily enough.
This model seems stripped down in other ways, however. There aren't any parental-control filters, and the 10/100-Mbps wired ports are too slow for high-def video transfers around your home; most premium routers use 1-Gbps ports. Also, there isn't a matching ExpressCard. For the best speed, you have to buy the Linksys WPC300N PC Card, which, at $119, is the same price as the router.
On our tests, the WRT150N sped along at about 88 Mbps under the best conditions, using a four-endpoint test with Ixia IxChariot 6.4. In a 4,000-square-foot house, the Wi-Fi signal spread far and wide up to about 600 feet but provided a shaky, inconsistent signal at 1,000 feet and beyond. At its bargain price, this model can't compete with the faster speeds we've seen on higher-end N routers, such as the Apple AirPort Extreme or Buffalo WZR-AG300NH, but you get what you pay for.
Overall, the WRT150N delivers what you might expect for $100, with a setup program that's both powerful and straightforward, but we wish there were a bargain-price 802.11n PC Card adapter to match.
As the wireless networking industry inches closer to a standard, we separate the facts from fiction. We also review three 'n' routers from Belkin, D-Link, and Zyxel.
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