Rivet Networks, the company behind the Killer brand, has been on a roll lately with the launch of a new Ethernet controller (E2500) back in September 2016. Killer's selling proposition is the fine-grained QoS settings that are automatically applied to certain types of traffic, resulting in better user experience for Internet usage scenarios like online gaming and video conferencing. Till now, their IP has been restricted to client devices with their NICs installed. However, that restricted the effectiveness of their prioritization algorithms to traffic originating from that machine only. In order to be effective in the multi-device usage scenarios of the modern home, the algorithms effectively need to be resident in the router.

This CES, they have partnered with Linksys for the launch of the first router with the 'Killer Prioritization Engine'. The Linksys WRT gaming edition router - the WRT32X - works closely with router clients that are Killer endpoints (various notebooks with Killer Wi-Fi and/or desktops with Killer wired NICs). Within the consumer's residence, there is an end-to-end optimization of certain types of traffic for latency minimization. This ensures lesser lag and smoother streaming / video conferencing. Other types of traffic such as bulk downloads are given a lower priority.

The hardware itself is a Tri-Band AC3200 (N600 + AC2600) solution using 3x3 radios (one 5 GHz and one 2.4 GHz). Note that the 3x3 5 GHz band is marketed with the 'Tri-Stream 160' tag - implying the use of a 160 MHz-wide channel that allows up to 867 Mbps per stream (and, a total of 2.6 Gbps for a 3x3 configuration). The radio belong to the Marvell Avastar 88W8964 family. Other platform details include:

  • 1.8 GHz Dual-Core ARM CPU [ Marvell ARMADA 38x, with a dual-core Cortex A9 host processor ]
  • MU-MIMO Technology for airtime efficiency
  • QoS engine powered by Killer Networking
  • Exclusive optimization for Killer Networking gaming clients in MSI, Alienware, Razer etc.
  • DFS certified for operation in the clear DFS channel airspace
  • 256MB Flash and 512MB of DDR3 Memory
  • 4 high-performance Antennas and high-powered PAs for better range
  • 5-port SOHO-grade Gigabit Ethernet switch with TCAM (1x WAN, 4x LAN)
  • eSATA, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 Ports for NAS-like network storage
  • Custom-built firmware specially tuned for online gaming traffic

The router is expected to become available in Spring 2017 for $300. We have long been wary of the effectiveness of the Killer solutions in a household with multiple clients simultaneously accessing the Internet. The move towards integrating the algorithms in the router addresses most of our concerns. It ensures that the consumer is able to fully realize the benefits of the Killer solution in their gaming notebooks and PCs.

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  • BrokenCrayons - Monday, January 9, 2017 - link

    That's an interesting start to handling traffic that a Killer NIC sends. First hop latency on an internal network won't be a problem and maybe there's some actual benefits an end user can realize for traffic leaving the LAN though I'm skeptical still that this is going to be a magic bullet solution for online gaming given the potential lack of prioritization of packets outside the reach of the local router and ethernet adapter. It's worth a look, of course, but latency probably won't magically go away.
  • close - Monday, January 9, 2017 - link

    No way, this thing talks directly to the BGP routers and tells them to freaking carry your sh*t faster 'cause you have a damn collection of Killers in your house and they be wild things.

    Also 1 year from now they'll stop releasing new firmware because they'll have already launched the new WRT41Z that will have even more optimization for your gaming traffic. Then maybe you can put an open FW on it that does the exact same thing but without commanding a $100 premium just to get a long list of techno-babble* features that are 99.9% present in any other higher end router.

    The other 0.1% is the Killer branding.

    *[airtime efficiency Exclusive optimization clear DFS channel airspace SOHO-grade TCAM NAS-like network storage Custom-built firmware tuned]
  • bcronce - Monday, January 9, 2017 - link

    The first hop is many times the problem. Bufferbloat means that any time someone attempts to use even a small amount of average bandwidth, a short burst of high bandwidth causes jitter and loss.
  • JoeyJoJo123 - Monday, January 9, 2017 - link

    Oh crap, it's a GAMING™ router. That really appeals to the GAMER™ inside me who craves GAMER™ quality products to give me every amount of placebo edge over the competition using well-priced normal computer equipment in GAMING™ events.

    I don't think my $200 ASUS AC3200 router cuts it anymore. It's not GAMER™ certified and it's not the quality that fellow GAMERS™, such as myself, need during intense online GAMING™ sessions. Linksys gets GAMERS™ though. They know GAMERS™ need GAMING™ prioritization during GAMES™, so that frames don't get dropped and headshots always land their mark.

    Definitely in for 2.

    -----This post was sponsored in part by Linksys and viewers like you. Thank you-----
  • DanNeely - Monday, January 9, 2017 - link

    It's not a Real Gaming(WFTM) router yet. There's no indication that all the status lights are programmable RGB for maximum eye cancer yet.
  • Michael Bay - Monday, January 9, 2017 - link

    At least it`s properly ugly.
  • DanNeely - Monday, January 9, 2017 - link

    IMO it doesn't look much worse than the average N external antenna model does. Give or take the angular faceplate - which is a crime against good taste that's gone well beyond just gamer products - I don't see anything spectacularly horrid as I'd expect from the branding.
  • fanofanand - Monday, January 9, 2017 - link

    Thanks for the laugh joeyjo, your satire is sadly spot on!
  • Colin1497 - Monday, January 9, 2017 - link

  • Azurael - Monday, January 9, 2017 - link

    The sooner people realise that Rivet Networks have nothing to contribute to the PC industry but a bunch of jargon and advertising slogans, the sooner they go bust and stop messing with everything. It's bad enough that so many machines in certain market segments have their shitty, bugged wireless adapters, at least they tend to be socketed.

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