Linksys WRT54GP2-SG

An all-in-router saves space, consumes less power outlets and is relatively easy to configure compared to individual components. This particular unit from Linksys possesses such convenience.

It's a router for a broadband connection (ADSL or cable) and has built-in 802.11g wireless functionality as well as a 3-port switch and two VoIP phone ports.

The two VoIP phone ports are the stand-out feature of this product. They allow you to use two VoIP accounts across two phone lines. This means you're not tied to one provider and it's especially useful if you share the router with someone who has their own VoIP account. Of course, you can also use two different accounts from the same provider.

Configuring the VoIP ports through the router's Web interface was fairly straightforward and once we were up and running, we experienced clear conversations with no break-ups or other interference. For testing we used an ADSL2+ connection from iiNet, which has a generous upload speed of 1MBps (megabytes per second). Our phone conversations were conducted using an account from MyNetFone.

While our Internet connection barely broke a sweat handling VoIP traffic, narrower connections, such as ADSL connections with 128Kbps upload speeds, may want to take advantage of the QoS (quality of service) feature in the router, which prioritises voice data over everything else. Otherwise, you could just make sure that your Internet connection is not being used to do anything else while you are talking.

For a typical home network, the three Ethernet ports on the back of the unit should suffice, but if you're an enthusiast, you may miss the extra port that most other routers provide. However, the router does have wireless capabilities built into it. It doesn't support MIMO, but its 54Mbps radio provides enough range to supply an Internet connection to the far-reaching corners of a typical household. You should get a useable signal up to 20m away from the router in a typical household through multiple brick walls. Wireless throughput from one metre away from the router using a Centrino notebook averaged around 1.9MBps, while from 10m (through a double-brick wall) it averaged around 1.8MBps.

As for security features, our tests were conducted with WPA-PSK TKIP enabled, but the router also supports WEP-64 and WEP-128. WPA-PSK using the AES algorithm is not supported.

An SPI firewall is built into the router and it also supports port-forwarding and DMZ functions to give your PC unrestricted access to the Internet.

All up, this router was solid during our testing and its feature-set is useful. We particularly love the fact that two individual VoIP accounts from different providers can be used with the unit, which is more convenient than having two separate ATA devices connected to the same network.

Price: $240
Vendor: Linksys
Phone: 1800 617 711
URL: www.linksys.com.au

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Elias Plastiras
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