Head to Head: ASUS WL-530g vs. Linksys WRT54GC Mini Wireless Routers

Wireless Features

Once you've got the basics taken care of, it's time to move on to other settings. Setting up your wireless access is probably near the top of the list, so let's see how each product treats that topic. First, here's a look at some Linksys WRT54GC wireless setup pages:

WRT54GC Wireless Basic Setup

Figure 13: WRT54GC Wireless Basic Setup
(click image to enlarge)

WRT54GC Wireless Security Setup

Figure 14: WRT54GC Wireless Security Setup
(click image to enlarge)

The layout and option boxes may change depending on your selections. Note the "Help..." link on the right of each page. Clicking that takes you to a very nice context-sensitive help page that describes all the settings you currently looking at. That's really nice, and very helpful for users who might not understand some of the options. 

Now here's a look at an ASUS WL-530g wireless setup page:

WL-530g Wireless Interface

Figure 15: WL-530g Wireless Interface
(click image to enlarge)

Note here that ASUS has many options listed, all on one page. If you select an option from a dropdown list that makes other settings irrelevant, then they are simply grayed out. Also worth noting is how ASUS approaches its help system. Moving the cursor over many of the option titles brings up a little informational balloon that describes that option. It's certainly different from the Linksys way of doing help, but it does work. The ASUS help tends to be a bit more brief, and usually not quite as well ... helpful.

One point worthy of note for the GC is that it supports the latest wireless security technology, WPA2, at least for the simpler WPA2-PSK version. In contrast, the WL-530g supports only WPA-PSK, which as long as it is used with a strong key should be sufficient to keep your wireless network secure.

An interesting feature for the 530g is that it will automatically switch to act as an access point if it can't connect to the Internet when it first starts up or if you just leave the WAN port unconnected. You can, of course, override this via the admin pages.