Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G Broadband Router reviewed

Wireless Features

As I mentioned earlier, the router's wireless features are separated into Basic (on the Setup tab) and Advanced, shown in Figure 7 below

Linksys WRT54G - Advanced Wireless screen

Figure 7: Advanced wireless
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

You've seen most of these settings before, and if you can't figure out what some of them do from reading the online help or User Guide, then just leave them alone.

The MAC Address Filter feature lets you enter 40 MAC addresses of clients that will be denied or allowed access to your Wireless LAN. This is actually a wireless association control, so if you have the Prevent mode set and a wireless client's MAC address entered, not only will they be denied Internet access, but more importantly access to all your wired and wireless LAN clients.

This feature uses three different windows to view and set MAC addresses and I found it somewhat confusing to navigate. The good news is that it has a feature that shows you a list currently connected wireless clients, that you can just select and have copied to the MAC address list window. The bad news is that the list of filtered MAC addresses can be neither saved or loaded to/from a file.

WEP setting from the Setup tab is straightforward. You can enter 64 or 128 bit keys either in Hexadecimal or via an alphanumeric passphrase. The passphrase method generates four different keys, which unfortunately can't be saved to a file, which would make client entry a little easier.

The main missing pieces are the ability to monitor wireless clients and information about wireless data flow or signal strength. The only way you have of knowing whether wireless clients are connected is to enable the MAC Filter list, click the Edit MAC Filter List button, then click the Wireless Client MAC List button on the window that opens. Not very handy at all.

The other thing to note is that the Wireless Bridging capabilities found in the WAP54G Access Point are not included in the router. So if wireless repeating or bridging are on you list of must-haves, you'll need to look at Buffalo Tech's WBRG54 router instead, which performs both functions.

Update 2/1/2004 Wireless bridging support for WAP54G added in Version 2.02.2 firmware.