"They should update the CNET review. Router has had many updates, and is now an excellent performer"4.5 starson by dfichtner
Pros: Has all of the strength I need for my small home and outside in the yard. Easy set-up.
Cons: The "one-touch-set-up" button is sort of a fluke unless you have the right equipment. No manual in the box, but I think that is planned so you follow the step-by-step set-up.
Summary: I am an American living in South Korea. This is my second attempt at owning and operating a wifi router. My first wifi was a poor-quality (yet expensive) system I bought from Hi-Mart. The name was "I-Link", which I know now to have been some cheap knock-off of the D-Link name.
My Linksys WRT54G is version 4, and works beautifully. You can find out the version on the box's UPC code, as well as under the router itself. According to what I have read, earlier versions of this wifi router had many issues. These issues have now been fixed. This product is mature enough that it has worked out the bugs, and does what you want it to do. That is saying something. Through buying a lot of computer products, I have learned that the "newest thing" in computers is often a headache because no one knows what the bugs are for a few months. This product has the bugs worked out, and has the fast 54mps "G" functionality that my Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG card in my NEC laptop seems to work well with.
Set-up with my unit was fast. Unless you know you have the "one-touch-set-up" hardware on your other peripherals, I recommend that you don't bother with touching that button. It only causes you more time in setting the router up. Just do it manually, as the documentation and CD explain. Anybody can very easily get this router running wifi (with no security) in about 5 to 10 minutes by following the simple steps. Setting up the security takes more time, but is the same learning curve as with any router. I recommend you read the information at: http://www.54g.org/pdf/Wireless-WP200-RDS.pdf for lots of detailed information dealing specifically with this router and its capability.
I might also say that one thing which turned me off on buying any router at all was the whole, "ports" thing. I like to run some software (Shareaza) that gets blocked by routers such as this. Opening the port wasn't difficult once I learned to navigate the set-up menus online. There is tons and tons of great information online, so this isn't an issue. That link I gave above has what you want.
As for signal strength, I am very, very satisfied. I can now sit on the toilet and use my laptop (something which the other I-Link unit, which I returned, wouldn't allow). I can also pick up a signal outside on the 5th floor deck (I live on 7th and the walls are concrete, and the windows are double-glass with some dark tinting). The router is near the window, but not line-of-site with the deck.
It took me maybe an hour of playing to figure out the security I wanted. Actually, it took me two, because I had it going with WEP 64 encryption after 30 minutes, but accidentally pushed the SEC (or SES?) button on the webpage and changed all of my router settings. Doh! So don't push that unless you have the one-touch-set-up feature available on your external wifi card. After reading a bit more about encryption, I got the WPA2 incryption working, typed the same keys into my laptop's card set-up, and now I'm encrypted and working just great.
I'm very happy with this router, and glad I didn't waste money buying a 108mps router that my card can do, anyway. The "turbo" and 108mps stuff on the newer (and much more expensive) wifi boxes seems to require special cards and stuff, and many of those have bugs because it's a newer technology, as of this writing: Nov. 2005.
I highly recommend this router. Mine is version 4, and version 5 just came out. The only difference between v4 and v5 are that v5 runs on 3.3 volts instead of 5 volts, and the Linksys people locked out some 3rd party software that allowed people to mess with the internals of their router somehow. Nothing I would mess with, anyway. Oh, and I also recommend setting your router to run on channel 1, because every router out there defaults to channel 6, I think. Channel 1 is apt to have much less interference. You can do that at the website menu.
The only reason I give this a 9 instead of a 10 is because of the confusion with the "one-touch set-up" capability, and the lack of a nice owners manual (although everything can be found easily online). I also didn't like it that when I opened the ports using the website, it didn't seem to keep a log of what ports I had opened, unless I am looking in the right place. It just says they are open and resets the page to blank.
Anything v.4 or above is bound to work great! Enjoy!Updated
Still going strong after one month. The issue with the port forwarding was due to my error. It does keep track of the forwarded ports. I am still very happy, but drooling over the super-fast SRX400 from Linksys, which just came out. Mimo sounds great! I don't have a need for it, though. My place is very small.