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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Features

The GX' wireless settings are separated into Basic, Wireless Security, Wireless Network Access and Advanced sections. Basic wireless controls include setting the Network Mode to Mixed, G-Only or disabling the radio entirely. Figure 9 shows there are also controls for ACK mode and to enable / disable 802.11e QoS, which are features of the Airgo True MIMO implementation.

WRT54GX Basic Wireless settings

Figure 9: Basic Wireless settings
(click on image to enlarge)

The Wireless Network Access section lets you enter 40 MAC addresses of clients that will be denied or allowed access to your Wireless LAN. Unfortunately, the GX' implementation of MAC address filtering doesn't present a pick list of currently associated wireless clients to ease the task of setting this feature up.

Figure 10 shows the Advanced Wireless controls, which you can peruse in the larger screenshot. Most everything you'd want to mess with is here, but check the online help before tweaking things you don't understand.

WRT54GX Advanced Wireless Setup screen

Figure 10: Advanced Wireless Setup screen
(click on image to enlarge)

Being the curious guy that I am, I checked to see if Linksys disabled the hidden pages present in the Belkin Pre-N router. Figure 11 shows that most of the "secret" controls are already present in the GX's normal wireless setup screens. I wasn't able to find the wireless bridging and repeating screen, so Linksys must have headed that one off at the pass.

WRT54GX Hidden screen

Figure 11: Hidden screen
(click on image to enlarge)

The GX includes a full set of wireless encryption and authentication options, including support for Wi-Fi Protected Access' (WPA) "Enterprise" (RADIUS) and Pre-Shared Key (PSK) modes. Unlike the GS, however, the GX cannot also pass WEP-encrypted authentication requests to an external RADIUS server.

I'd like to see Linksys correct the confusing terminology in this section, however, since most users are accustomed to looking for WPA PSK and WPA RADIUS modes instead of the "Pre-Shared Key" and "Pre-Shared Key RADIUS" selections offered.

I was disappointed to find that a WPA supplicant is not built into the client utility for Linksys' WPC54GX SRX CardBus client. So if you're not running WinXP or 2000, you'll need to find a third-party option like Funk's Odyssey Client in order to use WPA.

WEP is also supported, but I strongly recommend you use at least WPA-PSK mode due to its improved security. 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.

Like most other Linksys wireless routers, the GX lacks the ability to monitor wireless clients and provide information about wireless data flow or signal strength. The indication you have of wireless operation is in the wireless section of the System Performance screen that I mentioned earlier.

Finally, like the Belkin Pre-N, WDS-based wireless bridging and repeating isn't supported in the GX.

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