Linksys WKPC54G Network Kit
At a Glance
Kit consists of:
Linksys WKPC54G Network Kit (includes router and PC Card)
Linksys WUSB54G USB adapter
The Linksys kit takes a different approach from the others in our roundup: It bundles the router and the PC Card into one package, so we needed to add only the WUSB54G USB adapter to complete our kit. This approach keeps the cost down--at $170, it is one of the cheapest kits we looked at. It also has thorough and simple-to-follow browser-based setup and documentation, and all the usual firewall and routing features. However, it lacks both WDS bridging support (used to extend the coverage of a network by adding more access points) and interchangeable antennas, which means you can't extend the range easily (Linksys' own $90 WRT54GS router offers both of these features). It's also a plain 802.11g model and was the slowest in our lab speed tests at 13.5 mbps. Still, this is easily fast enough for general use (such as Web browsing); it is only with seriously bandwidth-intensive tasks such as streaming video that you might notice a difference between the Linksys and other, faster kits. The WUSB54G USB adapter does not support WPA encryption; we used 128-bit WEP in our testing.
The Linksys kit is very good all round and an excellent value, but those who need top performance or extended range should look elsewhere.