Budget Wireless Routers: Pro/Cons

By jobeard
Jul 31, 2006
  1. review comments from
    their reviews are online here by mfg

    Linksys WRT54G
    The good: Speeds approaching those of 802.11a at an 802.11b router
    price; easy setup.

    The bad: Short operating range compared to that of 802.11b; mixing
    802.11b and Wireless-G clients results in poor 802.11b performance;
    one-year warranty.

    The bottom line: The low-cost Linksys WRT54G features fairly high
    throughput. But it has a relatively short operating range, and its poor
    performance with 802.11b devices makes claimed backward compatibility moot.

    Linksys WRT54GS Wireless-G
    The good: Fast mixed-mode speeds; removable antennas; easy to set up;
    VPN pass-through.

    The bad: No mounting bracket; slower enhanced speeds than those of
    routers from D-Link and Netgear.

    The bottom line: The Linksys WRT54GS is especially well suited for
    networks with both 802.11g and 802.11b connections.

    NetGear WGR614 Wireless Router
    The good: Excellent 802.11g speed; long operating range; very easy
    setup; includes four Ethernet ports; toll-free, 24/7 phone support.

    The bad: Below-average speed when an 802.11b device connects; wizard
    skips wireless security; must register to activate warranty.

    The bottom line: The WGR614 is a good choice for those unfazed by the
    bleeding-edge nature of 802.11g.

    Belkin 54g Wireless
    The good: Easy setup; very good performance; compatible with older 802.11b cards;
    lifetime warranty.

    The bad: Expensive; no wireless bridge capabilities; sparse Web site support.

    The bottom line: With its top performance and easy setup, the Belkin 54g
    wireless router could be all you need to unwire your home.

    Dlink DI-624
    The good: Fast; long range; removable antenna; configurable firewall; compact.

    The bad: Lacks stand for vertical positioning; poor throughput with 802.11b devices.

    The bottom line: The DI-624 is fast, and it combines easy installation with
    advanced security options, making it a good choice for homes and offices like.
  2. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,024   +612

    Thanks for the information. I have actually had experience with three of those routers (they all sell in the $40-70 range).

    The worst experience I had was with the D-Link (wireless disconnected ALL the time), then is the Belkin which I still use but is not as solid as I wish for medium range Wi-Fi.

    Finally, the Linksys WRT54G is by far the best in my experience. Rock solid behaviour, never disconnects, good range, good speed... it simply works as one would expect.
  3. tlw

    tlw TS Rookie

    I have worked with several WRT54G's and I have never been able to get the logs to work out of box or after upgrades. It is also open source and several new ports are available but I haven't tried them.

    A friend has a d-link and she has nothing but problems with it. She gave up on wireless.
  4. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    It's missing a possible contender, That of Airlink101's products.
    Namely the AR525W MIMO XR™ 802.11g Wireless Router. It surpasses most popular routers in terms of LAN to WAN speeds. Even on par with one of D-Link's top "gaming" routers. Plus it's about $90 bucks cheaper.

    Here is the data page:

    And if you click the Buy Now button, you'll see that it is quite affordable as well! Just look at the features, and 3 antennas!

    I was highly considering one myself, but I have a Linksys now that, to often for good, just pops on the "Diag" light and has to be power cycled to work again. For no apparent reason. And I could use the fancy wireless.
  5. tlw

    tlw TS Rookie

    I bought 3 airlink switches for work. Each housed a main computer and in some instances a second or third computer we were testing. All three had to be replaced after only about 5 months. The first one was out in the april, we bought them in feburary. Airlink for me doesn't have much of a track record.
  6. Vigilante

    Vigilante TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,666

    lol, it got rave reviews from places like tomshardware.
    Plus the fact that is uses a more robust "chip" which is dedicated and doesn't have a built-in switch with it.

    In any case, can't argue with the facts!

    But still, I've seen my share, and a LOT of shares, of bad D-Links and Linksys products go through my hands as well. Not to mention Belkin and Netgear stuff.
    My friend bought a D-Link from BestBuy and had to get it replaced twice within two weeks cause it was dieing on him.

    Just hard to say I guess. I thought maybe this relatively no-name company had something good on their hands.
  7. tlw

    tlw TS Rookie

    I wont disagree with your views on D-Link either.
    I have no doubt Linksys has its problem. However, we set one up around June of 2005 for a conference with clients so they could use our internet and haven't touched it since. Today one of my managers asked me what the wireless was and I told him what we set up (from a year old sticky note taped to my monitor) and it worked just fine. No maintenance short of a couple of power outages that inadvertanly turned it off then back on has been done since then.

    I use it at home and in my appartment it sits in the living room and I in the far back. I bought it soon after we bought the router for work and I haven't had to replace it yet.

    Just my thoughts on linksys.
  8. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    I've just bought a WRT54GS(-eu) & its reach is much better then that of the WAG54GS I had before it. I also had a DLink DSL-G604T & I never got the WiFi to work. Not once so I just gave up on it. It worked well as a DSL + router but no WiFi, even though I payed extra over a regular DSL router for it. :(
  9. Shizat

    Shizat TS Rookie Posts: 70

    Well, not that this concerns BUDGET at all, but they are still affordable, and its the best SOHO router I have owned. In fact so much that my Die Hard LinkSys friends have bought it too :)
    The D-Link DGL-4300 has 4 gigabit ports, BG wireless, and what turned me onto it is the Gamefuel (QoS) setup.. Another good feature is the fact that most SOHO routers limit the number of virtual servers, whereas with this, I haven't hit a limitation yet... All still for around $100 not too shabby...

    As for the Linksys WRT54G I have had many wifi issues with the one I have.. But I may just have a defective one...
  10. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    Let's not forget IPCOP method of building your own Router from old PC that you're not using. I find that to work great when I had DSL, but not with Cable Modem.

    I've gone back to wired router made by D-link DI-704 for Best Buy
    cost only $39 bucks.

    Very quick and UnP supported works automatically.

    For wireless I use Bufffalo Wireless 54-G MIMO high speed 125 Mbp Performance Router & Access Point, but I use this as a Wireless Access Point. Features are excellent better than all the others you out there. High Power Amp and High Gain Ant. Signal strenght is Excellent on two floors and Very Good in the basement. Might just pick up another one and use as second Access Point to boost the signal more, they do offer wireless range extenders fot his purpose though...

    Cost $69
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