I won't go into as much detail about features and such of this router, the other review makes for excellent reading of these. In short this has everything, application firewall, wireless 54-G, 4 port hub, port forwarding, everything the adsl user needs. However i should stress the reliability of this model is somewhat flawed. Both mine and a friends routers have had similar issues, both due to design defects. The issue is poor quality capacitors that often fail after a few months of use. This results in problems such as the ethernet connections no longer working at 100mbps but only at 10mbps, or even not at all. I experienced this and sure enough replacing the appropriate capacitors fixed the issue.
this forum post (see link below) explains the issues, the high internal temperatures (thanks to no cooling whatsoever, no airflow since theres no fans, and cheap capacitors that can't handle the heat) results in a low lifespan. Replacing the capacitors fixes the issues, but no consumer can be expected to do that!
Also on hot days the router sometimes crashes under load due to the main chip having no cooling whatsoever - no heatsink even. I drilled some holes and added a small 40mm fan to it and that fixed the issues mostly, its now cool to touch instead of being too hot to touch. So now my modded linksys router is almost flawless, - bittorrent never crashes the router where it used to. The firmware is still a bit buggy though, i can get the router to reset fairly consistently by making a large search in dc++ (say a flood of 1000 results to the search in a second or two). All in all the V1 revision of this router(what i have) is a poor design, lets hope Linksys has learned from their mistakes and updated the design for future models. if this forum is anything to go by, V2 hasn't fixed the issues:
Some time ago I reviewed the NetGear DG834G based on both my own personnel usage of the router and also as a tool within a business environment. At the time I gave the product a 5 star rating which on current form may just drop down to a 4. The reason I say this is that on buying around 100 routers for our business environment 5 have so far failed for various reasons. Dont get me wrong they get some hammer and we have had no problems replacing them on warranty but I thought now was a prudent time to take another look at the competition.
Just a quick reminder on why we actually wanted this equipment. We where looking for a standard solution (different providers where supplying different MODEMS), some sort of firewall protection (we use Windows 2000 as our standard operating system and unlike XP this does not have a built in firewall) and finally some users expressed an interest in having home WiFi access.
The product most likely based on features and price was the Linksys WAG54G.Therefore this review has turned out to be more of a comparison of the two than just on this one product and a lot of the information provided very similar to that in the previous review. I should also point out this review is fairly technical, given the chance of 2 reviews it would be nice to write another for the slightly less technically proficient but alas that is not an option. Now just in case you dont know Linksys are now owned by CISCO - sort of one of them names you know you can trust as most of the Internet is run off there kit.
Like the NetGear this device is made up of the following an ADSL MODEM, 4-port Switch, Wireless Access Point and Firewall. Bear this in mind when making a purchase if you dont want all of these facilities NetGear, Linksys and other manufacturers make other products such as a model that does not include the ADSL MODEM.
If you do already have a MODEM supplied by your ISP it still might be worth getting an all in one model just less fiddly. From a business point of view we had to deploy Broadband access to around 100 remote users in different geographical locations. Because we ended up using a few different Broadband providers we wanted to provide a standard front-end device. Each different provider was offering to supply a different USB Modem device. However a word of caution with this approach, because there is no need to use your ISP supplied MODEM you may potentially have problems if you require support from them at some point.
First what you get. The pack contains the router itself, power, filter, ADSL cable and one Ethernet network cable (you may need more if you are hard wiring as it has 4 ports). Instructions supplied are brief but in truth thats all thats needed and on the enclosed CD is a more substantial manual in PDF format. A trial of anti-virus software was also included.
Apart from whats supplied you are going to need some method of connecting up your client computers newer PCs and laptops are likely to have either a built in network or wireless card but if not you are going to need one. Note that many suppliers offer some sort of WiFi bundle with this model where you get a device for your PC/laptop also.
At this point I should point out the quick visual differences compared with the NetGear.
Firstly the Linksys model is somewhat larger than the white version 2 model of the NetGear router. It is however on a par with the older silver version 1 model. That being said its not too large and is visually pretty pleasing.
However it does have an on/off switch - thats right if I want to reset the Netear model I have to pull the plug out of the back.
Like the NetGear product the Linksys version has some fairly obvious visual status indicators on the front. Moving from left to right and needing no introduction is power. Second are 4 Ethernet port indicator lights. Next is the WLAN (Wiress LAN) indicator light. Finally and of most interest to me are the DSL and Internet status lights. Now the reason I find this indication superior to the NetGear is that you only get one light on their model. Because of this you could have a physical working connection as such but your credentials (username and password) could be wrong. With the Linksys model you know if both are working.
Putting it together
A visual getting started document is included with the product. It really is just a case of plugging the supplied filter into your wall socket, plugging the supplied cable from the filter to the router and switching it on. You will also need some sort of connection between the router and computer either the included cable or WiFi.
The router is managed via a web front end. By opening your web browser and going to the address of the router (http://192.168.1.1) you end up at the web based management console.
The web based management console
Just a quick mention on the console itself as this is where you pretty much configure everything. The console is broken up into 7 logical sections Setup, Wireless, Security, Access Restrictions, Applications & Gaming, Administration and Status. These show on the top of the screen with extra options then displayed underneath to further break down the settings. Comprehensive help can be opened into a seperate window by choosing "More..." found on the right hand side. Overall, as with the NetGear, well layed out and easy to follow. The following are a breakdown of some of the key features logically broken down into the consoles menu options.
This is the area you configure your broadband settings and user details supplied by your ISP.
Unlike the NetGear product you are not prompted to run a wizard to try and autocomplete your settings. Basically you have to key in the settings suggested by Linksys in the documentation enclosed. Not really a bind but not as quick as the NetGear model either. The supplied settings worked fine.
Broken into 2 logical different sections..
The first basic option here is to enable or disable the firewall feature of the box. By default this is switched on.
You can also choose to filter some extra items (all allowed by default) - java applets, proxy, cookies and ActiveX controls.
VPN (set under the Security option)
I am going to have to be fairly brief here as this really can get quite techie! If you dont know what VPN is then basically its a way of using the Internet as an extension of your own network. It does this by creating an encrypted 'tunnel' through the Internet between 2 locations. For instance if you wanted to access e-mail etc. from inside your corperate HQ via the Internet you would use VPN.
On the back of the box it says you can use the gateway to allow up to 5 remote users access your home/corporate network.
Now what I cant quite work out at the moment is whether this means this can be used as the VPN gateway or you need an internal VPN gateway and this just allows the traffic through. I e-mailed the Linksys tech support with this question and the reply seemed to suggest it is for passing VPN traffic only.
Incidentally the Netgear model also makes claim to a similar system, which has been added as a firmware upgrade.
This device supports the 802.11g standard which means it can run at up to 54 Mbps. It also supports backward compatibility with the 802.11b (11Mbps) standard.
The Wireless Settings allow you to configure a number of options. The first option you might want to change is if you actually allow the router to act as a Wireless Access Point. By default this is switched on so if you arent going to be using Wireless its a good idea to switch it off it at this point.
If you are going to be using Wireless the other settings are all security related from this point on.
Firstly you can change the default SSID from the default linksys to one of your own. From a security point of view its a good idea to change this.
You can also turn off the broadcasting of the SSID. Again from a security point of view there is no reason to leave this switched on as you can key your own SSID into any client machines.
Without setting some of the basic settings above you are pretty much offering your neighbors free Internet access..
Your next options "Wireless Security" allow you to choose the type of encryption you want. The default is not to use any encryption but the other options are
WEP (Wired Equivelant Privacy) you can choose from either 64 or 128 bit strength..
WPA Pre-Shared Key
Although its beyond the scope of this review again you should really use some sort of encryption.
The next bit of security "Wireless Access" allows you to setup an access list of allowable machines to connect via Wireless. This is based on the MAC address of each network/wireless card that is going to connect. Each card has a unique MAC address. You can type this in manually or if the router can see any devices it lists them for you to choose. Again for security reasons there is no reason not to set this up.
Finally there is also an "Advanced Wireless Settings" section which again is beyond the scope of this review.
Within the Access Restrictions section you can setup up to 10 'Internet Access Policys'.
These policies can be pretty much as complicated as you want.
For instance, after giving your policy a name, you could create a policy that did something like the following -
Between the hours of 6PM and 9PM allow Internet access
Deny access to the Internet on a Sunday
Block the following web sites - www.aaa.com, www.bbb.com (you seem to be able to block up to 4 web sites - however I guess you could create 10 combinations of this).
Block the following keywords 'xxxx', 'yyy' etc. You can block up to 6 keywords.
Block certain services - e.g. SMTP, POP3 required for e-mail.
You can choose to apply these policies to all or selected computers on your network. Needless to say you can build some pretty flexible policies from these options.
Applications & Gaming
This section is pretty much what you are going to let in through your firewall. For instance MS Messenger needs certain 'ports' opening for it work, likewise if you had a web server inside your network that you needed people to access. Some games also require ports opening.
As default the ports required for MS Messenger are enabled while port 80 (required for incoming web traffic) and a number of others arent.
Also in this area you can setup a DMZ De Militarized Zone (i.e. unprotected). This would allow you to open ALL ports to a certain computer for certain requirements (some gaming for instance). As default this turned off.
The 'Gateway username' option allows you to change the master password to access the router via the web console. The default password is literally admin' so it goes without saying you should change this straight away.
Next the 'Remote Management' option allows you to configure your router from a remote location via the Internet. This is turned off as default.
The 'Backup&Restore' option is a pretty important option once you have spent time keying in your various settings. For me this is very important as I may need to setup a number of routers with one configuration.
Another important option is for 'Firmware Upgrade'. I havent had to use this yet as the model I received had the last firmware already included. This is worth checking though and updating to the latest if available.
Also within this area are reporting and diagnostics which pretty much speak for themselves.
Loads of status information is available such as
Firmware version, MAC address, and IP address of the router
DHCP - i.e. what address each client machine has been given
WIFI status - who is currently connected
DSL connection info
Like the NetGear DG834G I cant really knock this product. Truth be told I cant see us moving over to this model unless we really start to see the NetGear equipment start to drop like flies. Its good, but I wouldnt say better although I would have no problems using this equipment if we had to change.
If you do choose this model I doubt you will be disappointed.
If you have any questions or find any mistakes please feel free to leave me a comment so I can reply or correct.