Linksys Wireless Signal Booster Review

Setting It Up

Getting the WSB24 up and running is simplicity itself... if you have either a Linksys WAP11 Access Point or BEFW11S4 Wireless router. All you need to do is:

  • plug the 5V "wall wart" power supply into a wall outlet and jack on back of the WSB24,
  • move the antennas from the WAP11 or BEFW11S4 to the WSB24, and
  • connect the two supplied jumper cables from the RP-SMA connectors on the WSB24 to the antenna connectors on the AP or wireless router that you're boosting.

That's it... nothing to configure, and no software or drivers to install.

As I mentioned before, you can use the WSB24 with any wireless LAN product that operates in the 2.4GHz band. This would include 802.11b, "enhanced" 802.11b, and 802.11g (both draft and final) products. You can't use it with 802.11a or any dual-band 2.4 / 5GHz products because the circuitry won't handle the higher frequency.

All you need to do to use it with non-Linksys products is to get a jumper cable for each of the antennas that your AP / wireless router has. The cables should be no longer than you need since the longer the cable, the more signal you lose. The ones that come with the WSB24 are about 6.625 in. (17cm) from connector end to connector end.

Your special cables will need an RP-SMA Male connector on one end to mate with the connectors on the WSB24. The other cable end will need a connector to mate with the product that you're connecting the WSB24 to.

You'll also need to buy one or two antennas (depending on whether you can re-use any from your existing equipment) that connect via an RP-TNC female (sometimes called an RP-TNC plug) connector. The WSB24 doesn't come with any of its own antennas, instead relying on reusing those of its companion WAP11 or BEFW11S4.

21 Jan 2003 Update - I asked Linksys for their official positon on using the WSB24 with products other than their WAP11 and BEFW11S4. Here's their reply:

"The Linksys Wireless Signal Booster is FCC Class-B certified for use only with the Linksys Wi-Fi 802.11b 2.4GHz Access Point (WAP11) and Wireless Router (BEFW11S4). Using the WSB24 with any other product from either Linksys or another vendor voids the user's authority to operate the device. Linksys users are also reminded that opening a Linksys product chassis, tampering with, or disassembling a Linksys product voids the Linksys warranty."

Now that we're set up, let's see what the definition of "boost" is by running some Performance tests...