I think this is the first time I will be reviewing a hardware component. I am just happy that I could again share my Internet connection between my desktop and notebook. I have borrowed a router from my uncle before, but he already took it back for use on their home. I’ve only used [that] one router other than the WRT54GC that I currently am using.
Since the bigger WRT54G has dual antennas, it has an expectable wider signal range than the compact with only one. It provides a high speed Wi-Fi connection of [close to, if not] 54 Mbps with the notebook and the access point approximately 15 meters away from each other, while the compact could only provide approximately 11–24 Mbps under the same conditions even though the Windows XP Wireless Network Connection manager usually reports
Very Good signal strength.
That may be a good compensation for its bulkiness, but I have had problems with the Linksys WRT54G when using the BitTorrent protocol. As answered in the µTorrent FAQ, this router has severe problems with P2P applications using a lot of connections. Also answered on the above linked FAQ entry is a fix, which includes installing one of two third-party firmwares. Remember that the router wasn’t mine in the first place. Besides, installing and/or upgrading firmware risks the router being bricked, and add to that the fact the software recommended was made by hardware hackers and wasn’t official.
I have been trying to borrow the router from my uncle again, but he came to our house with a Linksys WRT54GC v2.0 instead. Of course, I was surprised, but I still do not know if he will give me this one or sell it to me. I’ve installed it immediately, and I’ve been testing it using µTorrent with a huge download task and several seeding tasks for three days almost continuously already.
The only problem I’ve had with the Compact Wireless-G Broadband Router is its Static DHCP feature, which should take care of Static IP addresses without configuring the client manually. I really want to utilize the said feature for Port Forwarding since I use BitTorrent and it has to have an open port for incoming connections. The problem is that whenever I place my computer on the list of clients with static IPs, and change the DHCP IP range to something excluding the static IPs, it still gives the client an IP within the DHCP range and not the listed static IP.
With the hopes of having no slowdowns like the experience I’ve had during the WRT54G period, I’ve searched for responses from WRT54GC users on various fora. Thankfully, I’ve found no significant problem other than users trying to get the version 2.0 external antenna to be replaced by a High Gain Antenna. But I still haven’t encountered an unambiguous response to one question I would have asked myself, so I stopped searching and continued testing. Through the past three days of downloading 6 GiB of data, I’ve encountered minor slowdowns more possibly linked to an ISP issue rather than a router issue. The last two afternoons were probably the best evidences I could offer regarding the performance of this product—the download speed reached 85 kB/s when I was connected to a nearby peer. Therefore, no signs of slowdowns due to high amount of connections were exhibited—a sickness, I may say, about the stock WRT54G/GL/GS.
Other features of the Linksys WRT54GC includes [among others]:
- Compact and portable design: approximately 4″×4″×1″.
- 4-port wired Ethernet switch; Wireless Access Point for 802.11b/g devices.
- High security with WPA/WPA2 Personal, Wireless MAC address filter, SPI firewall.
Disclaimer: The above Linksys WRT54GC v2.0 photo was taken from the official product information page without permission.
Update note: Photo from the official Linksys Web site was taken down and replaced with my own shot of the router to avoid copyright issues.
- ^ Our neighbor two houses away across the street claimed to have received my SSID broadcast.
- ^ The C in WRT54GC stands for compact; version 1.0 of the compact has no built-in external antenna, only an internal one—I am using a version 2.0.
- ^ With concrete and wooden walls, and everything else in between.
- ^ And when I say,
using,I mean always.
- ^ Along with similar routers, WRT54GL and —GS.
- ^ But, responses to the alternative firmwares were mostly positive.
- ^ I really, really hope for the former.
- ^ The question of how it would perform on a lot of connections.
- ^ I’m on a 384 kbps connection [as advertised], so my theoretical maximum download speed is 46.875 kB/s.