Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router (WRT54G2)

A 802.11g wireless router with LELA

  • Review
  • Specs
  • Images
  • User Reviews
  • Buy Now
Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router (WRT54G2)
  • Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router (WRT54G2)
  • Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router (WRT54G2)
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Nice design, easy to set up and use

Cons

  • Slow wireless speed, short range

Bottom Line

The WRT54G2 is strictly for those of you who don't need the extra speed that an 802.11 draft-n-based router can provide. Consider it only if you want a basic router that won't be distributed among many devices and long distances.

Would you buy this?

If you don't need a fast, draft-n wireless network, the Linksys WRT54G2 is one of the best options on the market. This is mainly because it's so easy to set up, is a reliable performer, and comes with the convenient LELA configuration and monitoring utility. Plus, it looks good: it's black, sleek, and doesn't have any protruding antennas.

To set-up the router, you can either use the supplied software on the CD-ROM – LELA (Linksys EasyLink Advisor) – or just log-in to it via your browser. The second option is the quickest, but if you're not too comfortable with setting up a network, the CD-ROM option is recommended, even though it can take a few minutes for the configuration process to finish.

Unlike most current routers, the WRT54G2 wasn't able to detect our PPPoE connection automatically. We had to select it manually. This was the only blemish of the otherwise easy-to-follow set-up interface. After the Internet settings were entered, it then guided us through selecting the wireless network name and security settings.

Upon completing the wireless set-up, the LELA interface was installed, which provides a nice visual representation of your network. It shows you all the computers and network devices that are attached to your network, and even lets you identify and track intruders. Furthermore, you can log-in to your router and other devices' Web interface pages just by clicking on their icons and selecting 'Advanced Settings'.

Being an 802.11g router, it doesn't have ample bandwidth for network multitasking. You can either use it for streaming video to a single computer, or for transferring data to a single computer, but you can't use it to do both tasks simultaneously without one task taking a massive hit in performance. The router streamed a DivX-encoded movie effectively to our Netgear Digital Entertainer HD EVA8000, and it also streamed video to the EVA8000 without stuttering while also transferring data to a notebook PC.

However, performing that data transfer while streaming a movie meant that the data transfer was very slow – 1.49MBps. This suggests that the router is fast enough to allow an ADSL2+ connection up to 11Mbps to be used at its full speed while someone in another room is streaming a video.

While conducting a file transfer without any other activity on the wireless network, the WRT54G2 averaged 2.33MBps. This speed isn't fast enough to effectively distribute a very fast ADSL2+ connection, so if you currently get over 17Mbps from your Internet connection, you will greatly benefit from an 802.11 draft-n router.

As you can see from our performance results, if you only want a simple router that will distribute an Internet connection up to 11Mbps to a wireless laptop, and maybe stream the odd video to another wireless device at the same time, then the WRT54G2 will suffice. If you want to do more than that, or if you want a router that will be shared among more than two people, then you should look for an 802.11 draft-n product instead, such as the Linksys WRT160N, which also comes with LELA.

It's also important to note that the performance results we obtained were from a radius of 10m. The further the data has to be transmitted (and depending on the environment it's transmitted in) the slower the results will be.

Of course, apart from its wireless capability, the WRT54G2 has a four-port, 10/100 Ethernet switch, a built-in firewall with URL and keyword filtering, VPN passthrough for IPSec, PPTP and L2TP protocols, and port-forwarding and DMZ capabilities.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?