Review: Cisco/Linksys WES610N Dual-Band N Entertainment Bridge
Product: Cisco/Linksys WES610N Dual-Band N Entertainment Bridge
Original MSRP: $129.99
As some know, I’m not just a podcaster/crappy writer, but that my “day job” is that of a 15-year veteran in IT as a Systems Engineer (among other things.) I have a 2-story house, and a couple of my devices only have wired Ethernet ports, and in terms of wireless, the PS3′s implementation really gives a poor performance. I spent a lot of time trying to find a useful workaround to my PS3′s awful wireless performance (the Slim does have better wireless performance, but Wireless-G just kinda bites in general.)
At first, I agonized about running a cable down the inside of a wall and setting a Gig switch up on the first floor, but that’s a lot of work, and I’m lazy. Then I tried some powerline Ethernet adapters, which do work well overall, and perform a good deal better than straight Wireless-G. But even with that streaming content via Netflix or even downloading content from the PSN proved to be pretty slow. Then I tried the WES610N from Linksys.
A wireless bridge is just that, instead of being a wireless client just for itself, it connects to the router via wireless, then has an Ethernet connection that runs to your device. I used an older bridge for my 360 when it first came out, and even though it only ran G, the performance was pretty good, and it was cheaper than the $100 adapter that MS offered. The WES610N though, has four Gigabit Ethernet ports, which brings the price up a bit (there is a 1-port version that costs about $30 less available as well.) The great thing about the 4-port version is that I have 3 devices right by my TV alone that benefit greatly from this bridge, the TV itself, and 2 PS3′s.
Setup is an absolute breeze if you have a Linksys router that supports the 1-button setup (most do.) It’s crazy how easy it is. You push a blue setup button on the bridge, then you press the blue button on your Linksys router. After about a minute, both sync-up and it’s ready to go. If you don’t have a compatible device for the 1-button setup, you can still connect it to your wireless network via a web-based interface on the bridge. Also, this thing has 3 full antenna arrays built-in, and it has no problem connecting to even a weak signal.
Performance is outstanding, trouncing the wireless speeds achieved on the PS3′s wireless, and even doubling the performance of my powerline Ethernet system. Downloading patches or other content from the PSN, rented movies, and streaming services run like the PS3 is directly connected via a cable. I can’t tell you how amazed I am at this devices performance. Even during Extra Life, two of the PS3′s were connected via this bridge, and you couldn’t tell the difference in terms of performance or connectivity. There’s only one cable connected to it, and that’s the small power adapter. Everything else is handle via Wireless, and it couldn’t be simpler.
So, if you see performance issues with your PS3′s wireless, and even though the cost is a bit prohibitive, trust me when I say that it’s worth it. This thing has blown me away with an amazingly simple setup, and performance that I never expected. Also, if you checked-out my previous review for the E4200 router, they compliment each other perfectly.