I just upgraded to the Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G router last month and I am very happy with the quality of the product. This router acts as a wireless access point, 100 MB switch and a router making it a nice multipurpose device.
For the wireless connectivity, this router supports that latest 802.11g standard which offers 54Mbps speeds but in the 2.4 GHz range. Since it uses the 2.4 GHz range, this router is also backwards compatible with 802.11b. This is a nice feature, as it will allow you to use your older 802.11b hardware while taking advantage of the newer standard. I also have a 2.4 GHz cordless phone and I don’t get any interference with the wireless router.
If you do decide to buy this router, I would highly recommend that the first thing you do after installing this router is upgrade its firmware from the Linksys website. Linksys has been shipping these 802.11g compliant routers for a while now and the specification is still in flux. Linksys also offers security fixes and new/updated features via. these firmware upgrades and so that is a good idea.
This router has the ability to encrypt all wireless transmissions using 128-bit WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryption. While WEP is not a perfect solution, some security is better than no security and I would recommend anyone using the wireless feature enable WEP. In addition to WEP, this router also supports the new security specification called Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA).
WPA is an extra-strong encryption where encryption keys are automatically changed and authenticated between devices after a specified period. WPA also involves the use of a pass phrase and auto-generated keys that need to be entered on the client side. This is a little tedious but the security it provides is worth it.
In addition to WEP and WPA, the Linksys router also offers wireless MAC address filtering. Wireless MAC Filters feature allows you to control which wireless-equipped PCs may or may not communicate with the router depending on their MAC addresses. Another nice security feature of this router.
Ok. I’ve rambled on enough about security. This router also allows you to connect wired devices, acts as a DHCP server and offers an easy to use browser interface. I get amazing throughput using my NetGear 802.11g wireless network card and the range is incredible. I can take my laptop in any part of the house, the yard or garage and I never lose the signals. I read some reviews where people found that this router didn’t work well with non-Linksys wireless cards. I had to disagree with that as my router works great with my NetGear card along with an older Cisco 802.11b card. If you are in the market for a great wireless router, this is it. Buy it.