|Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router with 2 Phone Ports (WRT54GP2)|
|Summary||802.11g router with built-in 2 line VoIP interface. Available in various versions bundled with different VoIP services.|
|Pros||• Good documentation
• Good wireless coverage
• QoS controls including logical, physical port priority and throughput control
|Cons||• VOIP phone quality about on par with a cell phone
• Three LAN ports vs. the usual four
Nearly everyone is familiar with the terms "Voice Over IP" and "Wireless Networking" these days, but what's all the fuss about? What can wireless networking do for me? And how does VOIP work, anyway? To answer those questions, I tested the Linksys WRT54GP2, which combines an 802.11g wireless router with a built-in two-port VoIP Analog Terminal Adapter (ATA). The version I tested came bunded Vonage's VoIP service, but Linksys makes the same hardware available under similar part numbers for other VoIP service partners.
The GP2 package comes with the router itself, a power adapter, a network patch cable, an installation CD, and various literature. I was glad to see an actual paperback user's manual in the package too, even though a PDF version of it is on the CD. Too many electronics manufacturers try to save themselves a nickel by leaving the paperback version out, which always makes me wonder what other corners were cut. It's good to see Linksys included it here.
Figure 1: Package Contents
(click image to enlarge)
The router case is made so it can just sit flat on a table if you like, or it can be hung on a wall. It's also designed to match up with other Linksys products, so they can be stacked together securely with the interlocking case feet.
As Linksys notes, the GP2 is really four devices in one box. First, it's a 802.11b / g wireless access point with 64 / 128 bit WEP and both WPA Enterprise (RADIUS) and WPA-PSK security. Second, it's a three port 10/100 network switch. You can connect your computers directly to it, or connect other hubs and switches if you need more than three ports.
Third, it's a NAT+SPI firewall/router that allows you to share your cable or DSL broadband connection with multiple systems on your network. The firewall / router features include port forwarding and filtering as well as priority-based quality of service (QoS).
Finally, the GP2 is a VoIP phone adapter with two phone ports that work with Vonage's phone service. The Vonage service includes voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, and even free Vonage to Vonage calls, among other things. There's an online management system for the Vonage service that allows you view your account status, and configure features such as how you get your voicemail.