capsule review

Linksys WKPC54G Network Kit

At a Glance
  • Linksys by Cisco WIRELESS G 54MBPS NETWORK KIT

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.

Becky Waring

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At a Glance
  • Linksys by Cisco WIRELESS G 54MBPS NETWORK KIT

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