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Linksys WRT54GL vs. AirPort Express

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June 24, 2006 4:34:36 PM

I'm trying to decide between an AirPort Express and a LinkSys WRT54GL to act as a wireless AP on a primarily Mac-based network. I'm having trouble finding stats that I can compare. Can anyone provide info on the relative performance of these two with 802.11g devices? Thanks.
June 24, 2006 11:47:02 PM

I prefer the AP to be seperate from the Router. So if you all ready have a router and just need to expand your system, consider adding a AP, requires one open lan connection. AP generally have high gain antennas which greatly increases range.

The Apple airport gives you added ports for printers if I recall. But only 2 nic connections. It is almost twice the price of the linksys. The Airport of course is design with apple computers in mind, and the setup will be easier. I have not seen any heads up comparison between the two. With the antenna being concealed in the airport the range will/may be less. Since the linksys has linux firmware, gives you more control over all settings.
June 25, 2006 4:13:08 AM

Seems like it's easier to get information and reviews for routers than for APs. And a router can still be used as an AP. Plus my current router is a basic VoIP router, and it might be nice to put that inside a better router at some point in the future...though better range might be worthwhile. To be honest I'm overwhlemed by the number of products and the amount of information that's hard to reconcile. These two products seemed to get good reviews and to be popular, so I figured I'd go with one of them :) 

I'll probably get the Linksys since it is half the price.
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June 25, 2006 1:23:06 PM

It alwas cheaper to get the combo. As for the radio they short you on the antennas. They come with low gain 2bi antenna. Another think that comes into play is heat. Some routers start having lockup problems or dropped connections, which are usually heat related.

Good luck with your choice, At least TomsHardware exposed the problem with the v5, so you know which is the better choice.
June 25, 2006 2:10:30 PM

Thanks. I'm not averse to the idea of a standalone AP if it's not too expensive - you'd mentioned the USR I think but I hadn't seen any performance ratings or reviews of it. Do you know of a well-reviewed, relatively inexpensive AP that has been tested at comparatively good speeds with 802.11g devices?
June 25, 2006 2:24:18 PM

As a general rule the AP cost almost the same as a wireless router. The main difference is it is not sharing the cpu, ram, etc.. with the routers other function. They install better antennas. I would say that they out perform there couter parts in a wide margin.

I have a USR AP, I run it on low power and abe to cover my whole house, 50 ft & 4 walls. I know of no wireless router that can do that on high. I have tested, Lnksys, USR, SMC ( high power), less than 1/2 the range with them set on max power. I had a laptop that I was setting up that connected to mine 50' away instead of the router that was 20' away.

Another nice advantag of a AP is that you don' have all of the wires related with the router if you decide to locate it where you can get optium coverage. Like high on a wall or celing, or into the main living room. All you need is 1 cat 5 and the powersupply. Makes a clean setup.
June 25, 2006 2:53:48 PM

Thanks. That sounds like a reasonable argument for the AP. However, I would say that speed is probably a bit more important than range for me as I'm only covering a one-bedroom apartment (and 80% of the usage occurs in the same room as the AP). That's not to say range is unimportant, but I'm most interested in excellent performance under 50 feet from the AP and maybe decent performance under 100 ft.
June 25, 2006 3:12:04 PM

I think the model I have was good for 300 ft indoors. USR is mainly comercial and spend very little in the general public sector. Please note that some builtin wireless cards are not very good. Apples seam to use better hardware than the pc world. As your distance increases your signal/speed will drop. Some of the reviews here show that as part of there testing.
June 25, 2006 3:21:26 PM

OK, thanks. Do you know of any reviews/tests of your AP (or the 5451, which is the closest I could find online)?

Part of the reason I initially looked at the WRT54GL was that it's the fastest basic 802.11g router on this site's router chart, with speeds in the 50s in some categories. I don't suppose there's a similar AP chart?
June 25, 2006 6:09:47 PM

I wish some one would do a article on strictly AP's. When I purcased my equipment I based it on a article here ( Wireless Shootout) But again no AP by them self.

If you look at it in a strictly hardware point. If you do not share resources you have a better/faster product.

USR operates in a differnent way than most other companies. They do not release any non approved equipment. Example, When the 11g was finalized they released their products. they had no pre-release equipment to upgrade. There units worked with the std, and did not take a hit when it came to wpa throughput. They had a larger more powerfull cpu to handle the encryption. Only a 3-4% drop. Others who had all of the pre-release equipment could not meet the std and perform properly. The reason I say stay away from 11n and MIMO hardware.

Another clue if a mfg is haveing problems with there hardware is look at all of the firmware updates. I think mine (5450) only had 2.

Looking at the 5451 it only has 2 and is bassed on linux. The GPL source code is avaliable for down load.

BUT the USR5451 only has a single 2dbi antenna.

Actual the USR 5453 is close to my setup. This is one nice unit.
Quote:
Complete compatibility with standard 802.11b, 802.11g and accelerated wireless technologies


I would by the one that has the High gain antennas if you have wall to penetrate.
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