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VPN

VPN capabilities are limited to pass through mode for PPTP and IPsec clients. Port forwarding to one PPTP and IPsec server is also supported, provided you enter the proper ports.

Logging and Other Features

The WRT54G's logging features are the usual Inbound and Outbound traffic logs that you've come to expect with Linksys routers. But once again, there's work left to do since the usual SNMP Trap logging mechanism that's used to send detailed logs to a LAN server isn't implemented yet. You won't be able to save logs to a file either, but you can clear them.

Other features worth mentioning are the ability to disable the Internet Sharing function and use the WRT54G as a non-NAT router. When in this mode, you also get to control the interfaces (but not the direction) that Dynamic Routing RIP-1 and 2 messages are allowed on. You can also define up to 20 Static Routes in either Gateway or Router modes.

Version 1.01.4 firmware added a built-in client for TZO's Dynamic DNS service, in addition to the usual dyndns.org offering that you find on most routers that implement dynamic DNS. I may be biased, since TZO both hosts SmallNetBuilder and provides our DNS, but if you're going to use dynamic DNS, you really should use a reliable service, which is one of TZO's strengths.

That about wraps up the features. Let's move on to Performance.

Routing Performance

NOTE!Testing Notes:
All tests were run with LAN endpoint in DMZ

As you can see from the numbers, you'll find it hard to complain about the WRT54G's routing speed, which was evenly matched in both WAN-LAN and LAN-WAN directions. If 20Mbps isn't good enough for you, then I'm not sure you should be using a consumer-class router!

Note that the lack of UDP test results in the LAN to WAN direction isn't Linksys' fault, but a problem that Qcheck has with some newer routers. I'd expect actual performance to mirror that of the WAN to LAN UDP stream test results.

Routing Performance Test Results

Test Description Transfer Rate (Mbps) Response Time (msec) UDP stream
Throughput (kbps) Lost data (%)
WAN - LAN 19.7 1 (avg)
1 (max)
498 0
LAN - WAN 21.7 1 (avg)
21 (max)
Firmware Version 1.01.14 Jan 27 2003
See details of how we test

Wireless Features

As I mentioned earlier, the router's wireless features are separated into Basic (on the Setup tab) and Advanced, shown in Figure 7 below

Linksys WRT54G - Advanced Wireless screen

Figure 7: Advanced wireless

You've seen most of these settings before, and if you can't figure out what some of them do from reading the online help or User Guide, then just leave them alone.

The MAC Address Filter feature lets you enter 40 MAC addresses of clients that will be denied or allowed access to your Wireless LAN. This is actually a wireless association control, so if you have the Prevent mode set and a wireless client's MAC address entered, not only will they be denied Internet access, but more importantly access to all your wired and wireless LAN clients.

This feature uses three different windows to view and set MAC addresses and I found it somewhat confusing to navigate. The good news is that it has a feature that shows you a list currently connected wireless clients, that you can just select and have copied to the MAC address list window. The bad news is that the list of filtered MAC addresses can be neither saved or loaded to/from a file.

WEP setting from the Setup tab is straightforward. You can enter 64 or 128 bit keys either in Hexadecimal or via an alphanumeric passphrase. The passphrase method generates four different keys, which unfortunately can't be saved to a file, which would make client entry a little easier.

The main missing pieces are the ability to monitor wireless clients and information about wireless data flow or signal strength. The only way you have of knowing whether wireless clients are connected is to enable the MAC Filter list, click the Edit MAC Filter List button, then click the Wireless Client MAC List button on the window that opens. Not very handy at all.

The other thing to note is that the Wireless Bridging capabilities found in the WAP54G Access Point are not included in the router. So if wireless repeating or bridging are on you list of must-haves, you'll need to look at Buffalo Tech's WBRG54 router instead, which performs both functions.

Update 2/1/2004 Wireless bridging support for WAP54G added in Version 2.02.2 firmware.

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