In the past, we've seen routers that promise to speed up multiplayer gaming by eliminating lag and prioritizing multiplayer titles. This week, Linksys unveiled a new version of its WRT32X gaming router — called the WRT32XB — that's supposedly designed for Xbox One. According to the company, the WRT32XB automatically detects when an Xbox One is connected to the router, after which it prioritizes and accelerates the bandwidth the console receives. Linksys estimates that the upgraded router should reduce lag spikes and decrease ping by up to 65 percent for Xbox One owners if they choose to invest in the WRT32XB.
According to a report by The Verge, the WRT32XB uses the same Killer Prioritization Engine networking technology from the original WRT32X, but applies it to the Xbox One instead of just PC. The Killer Prioritization Engine brings more speed, intelligence and control to any home network. The technology manages both sides of a connection and automatically identifies gaming systems and prioritizes their internet traffic above online activities from other devices in the home. For example, with the Killer Prioritization Engine, the company claims that you don't need to worry about games or patches downloading slowly or being interrupted by other activities like streaming videos elsewhere in the home.
However, there is some controversy surrounding the product already. Aside from the fact that it enables the Killer Prioritization Engine for Xbox One, the router is identical to the original WRT32X. It still features 802.11ac Wi-Fi, four Ethernet ports, and a USB 3.0 port. The WRT32XB will launch in February 2018 for $299, the same price as the original. What's surprising is that Linksys claims that they'll issue a software update for the WRT32X so that it also prioritizes the Xbox One connection. It's unclear why the WRT32XB exists because after the patch both will be identical. At this point this seems more like a marketing gimmick targeting Xbox One owners than a meaningful upgrade.
During our review of the WRT32X router, we discovered a noticeable improvement when the Killer Prioritization Engine was engaged. A wireless connection outperformed a wired one when it came to reducing ping. According to Daniel Rubino, "for people with 1 Gbps fiber optic internet connections, you can almost afford not to worry your router or even latency. For the rest of us, who are stuck with an aging internet infrastructure routers that optimize every bit of data, or let you shape your wireless network for your priority is not a bad idea."
It's unclear when the patch for the original WRT32X will hit, but if you want to purchase it right now and don't mind waiting for your Xbox One to see improvements, it's available for roughly $50 off. We would recommend doing that because it seems like there's nothing the WRT32XB can offer in February which the WRT32X won't receive.
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