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Final Thoughts

When I started this investigation, I really didn't know how hard I would have to look to find an explanation for the WRT54G V5's growing reputation as a botched product. As it turned out, I didn't have to look very hard. I can't say for sure that the V5's inability to support more than 16 simultaneous connections is at the heart of what ails most unhappy purchasers of this product. But I do know that for a router to be successful in today's market, it had better be able to handle as many simultaneous connections as its design will allow and the higher the number the better!

The sad part of this (besides all the unhappy purchasers of the V5) is that we've been through this before. Long-time Linksys users probably all-too-well remember the long, hard road it took for the company to learn the ins-and-outs of designing and debugging router firmware. It took well over a year and almost two for Linksys to work the bugs out of its original BEFSR11 and BEFSR41 wired routers. And other products have had similar long learning curves.

The let-the-users-pay-to-debug-our-product approach might have been ok for the up-and-coming scrappy company that Linksys once was. But those days are long gone. Linksys has been "a division of Cisco Systems, Inc." for more than three years now and frankly, Cisco knows better. But maybe the company is just content to let Linksys' past reputation and retail ubiquity keep bringing in the money from consumers while Cisco repositions Linksys for the main reason it purchased it: to get a foothold into the lower end of the small business market.

At any rate, if you still want to give Cisco your money, get the WRT54GL and even try out one of the alternative firmware distros if you're adventurous. But if you're a heavy P2P user you'll probably do better with one of the routers at the top of our router chart, where Linksys is definitely in the minority.

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