Pros stable high throughput, reasonable, high security
Cons no IPSEC client, lower throughput at higher distance
Summary I have been using the MaxG Router for a month now and I also have a Linksys WRT54GS wireless router. The MaxG offers higher security in terms of WPA2, and has an overall higher throughput as compared to its Linksys counterpart.
According to this report: http://www.keylabs.com/results/usrobotics/usr_wireless.pdf
, the MaxG outperformed its counterparts for reasonable distances.
Also, it supports VPN passthrough just like the Linksys and has an inbuilt Print Server, which are very useful features.
Pros Didn't catch fire; WPA2 worked at close range
Cons Five steps backwards from USR's previous-generation router
Summary Don't be mislead by other reviews from people who may not have owned USR's prior-gen router (the dual-antenna USR 8054) and therefore may not have a reference point. Compared to last year's wireless router, the MAXg is horrid. It has serious issues penetrating such structures I like to call "walls, floors and ceilings." The range and throughput of the older USR 8054 was vastly superior in all respects when going through such structures. In light of the fact that an older product was notably better, I have even a hard time with cnet's "average" rating. The lack of the ability to even e-mail the router's logs seals the MAXg's fate. Unless you live in a glass house, avoid this router at any cost.Updated
MAXg router was tested with the matching USR MAXg PC-Card (MAXg PC-Card also used with the baseline, the pror-gen USR 8054 router). Encryption was set to WPA2 for the 5461 MAXg connection, and WPA for the 8054. Various channels including 1, 4, 6 and 11 were tested with optimal perfomance achieved on channel 1. Since the performance was so poor, an additional 5461 router was purchased to rule out a defective unit. The second MAXg router produced the same substandard results.
"May need to change some poorly documented default settings to get a secure wireless connection."on by PC Martin Seattle
Pros Relatively inexpensive; works acceptably well when properly configured; relatively complete feature set; very good configuration interface.
Cons Incomplete documentation; some "fatal" default settings; tech support limited to standard ET office hours; mediocre ability to penetrate structural obstacles (doors, walls, floors, ceilings).
Summary * IMPORTANT CONFIGURATION INFO *
I had to change three default settings to get a useable secure connection using WPA/WPA2 with TKIP/AES on the router side and WPA/WPA2 Passphrase (PSK) on the client side (my Cisco Aironet a/b/g CardBus adapter supports all of the security protocols offered by the MaxG router):
(1) I changed the Key Rotation interval (in web configuration interface > Security tab > Wireless section) from the default 0 seconds to 1800 seconds. At 0 seconds, my client adapter was in a more or less continuously "authenticating" state, almost never reaching "authenticated" -- and then not for long. Getting a router-assigned IP address was hit-and-miss, and when I did manage to get an address, throughput was severely degraded. A thirty-minute key rotation interval is probably way too long for high-security applications, but mine is a home network and I was desperate to get a useable connection. I will probably start reducing the interval until I notice a performance hit.
(2) I changed the Channel setting (in web configuration interface > Wireless tab > Transmission section) from the default 11 to Automatic. Since then, the router has been transmitting on channel 1.
(3) I changed the IP address lease time (in web configuration interface > LAN tab > DHCP Server section) from 1 hour to 23 hours 59 minutes. This change was probably not critical, but a one hour lease seemed more appropriate to Internet cafe use with numerous, constantly changing clients than to home network use with a handful of regular clients. I also wanted to reduce the frequency of potential delays waiting for an IP address to be assigned.
* TECH SUPPORT PROBLEMS *
Unfortunately, I had to find the above solution on my own and it took me several days. US Robotics tech support answered my initial webform email inquiry very quickly with a suggestion that I update my Wi-Fi adapter drivers and disable all security on the router. However, they have not responded to any of my follow-up emails. (I wonder if [Ch]amsalot, whose user review rated the MaxG a 4, had a similar but undiagnosed key rotation problem when using WPA2...) Clearly, US Robotics needs to provide better documentation for some of the MaxG router's configuration options and possibly change some of the default settings.
* WIRELESS PERFORMANCE *
Since making the above changes, I consistently get a stable, reliable, secure wireless connection. Compared to my previous router (a D-Link DI-624, which suddenly and mysteriously froze and could not be reset), the MaxG router seems to have a weaker signal and lower speeds at moderate to long distances. It also seems to be noticeably less good at penetrating doors, walls, floors, and ceilings. With the DI-624, I was able to get a useable connection two floors and two walls away. With the MaxG, I can't go much farther than one floor and one wall away. That being said, when you are within range and there aren't too many structural obstacles, you get a perfectly acceptable wireless connection.
* ETHERNET PERFORMANCE *
As a four-port Ethernet router, the MaxG seems to work fine -- no issues noticed.
* FIREWALL PERFORMANCE *
The MaxG has a built-in NAT/SPI firewall that I have left enabled. I haven't checked on its performance directly, but I have noticed that my software firewall security log hasn't been getting any new entries.
* VPN PASSTHROUGH *
I won't be able to test this until my brother visits. However, it is very important to Virtual Private Network users, and many routers don't offer it.
* USB PRINT SERVER *
I haven't used the USB printer server function because we have a multifunction machine and don't want to give up being able to access its scanning and memory card reader features. I'm thinking it would be incredibly useful if we could hook up our USB external drive to use as shared (quasi-NAS) storage, but I have a hunch this would require a firmware revision at the very least.
* CONCLUSIONS *
This is a very reasonably priced, full-featured, decently performing product -- when properly configured and used in the appropriate environment.
As a Wi-Fi router, it is probably best used to serve a large (but not huge) single room with few structural obstacles (e.g. an Internet cafe or single-room office with cubicles) or a small apartment with light construction (e.g., hollow doors and plasterboard walls). It is probably less well suited to multi-floor houses with older, heavier construction.
You may have to change some poorly documented default configuration settings to get a functional connection using WPA/WPA2.
You may have trouble getting useful tech support by email.
As an Ethernet router, it works fine.
Until I figured out a solution to my problems, I was set to give this product a 2 or 3. Now I realize that my problems are most likely the result of bad default settings, incomplete documentation, and unresponsive tech support. Not everyone will run into these problems -- hence the large number of positive user reviews? -- but for those who do, they can be fatal.
Pros price, features, looks
Cons no wall hookup, print server has drawbacks
Summary The router itself works fine, and haven't had much trouble with the wireless connection (except I had to change the broadcast channel to 6 or 11 for more consistent connections). But the print server doesn't work well for any printer that has bi-directional communications. Many multi-function printers just won't work, at least consistently. For me, my simple Epson printer has an application that signals the computer on ink levels, and I think this "send" signal from the printer to the computer over the print server seems to blow the wireless printing, so I've given up on it. USR's tech support confirmed to me that their print server only works well for simple printers. I haven't totally given up on it, but haven't found a work-around.
Otherwise, I like the router.
Pros Looks nice.
Cons Doesn't support All-in-One/Multi-function printers.
Summary I ended up not purchasing this router because I called U.S. Robotics' Technical Support line to make sure it would work with my particular printer and they told me it does not work with All-in-One or multi-function printers. I hadn't seen this stated anywhere else online or in any one else's reviews, so I thought I would add it here and let everyone know. Hopefully I'll save someone else some money, too!