Toss a coin. Heads Linksys, Tails Netgear. The linksys has a plethora of 3rd party firmware to choose from that will enable you to do some stuff that the Netgear won't. Other than that there is VERY little difference in any of the tier 1 budget market (linksys, netgear, DLink, SMC etc..).
I agree, if you want to play around with the stuff the 3rd party firmware allows you to mess with. If you just want the simple functionality any AP/ROuter combo offers then go with whichever is cheapest. You'd just be wasting money otherwise.
No argument here. Having the various firmware is a very nice feature. If I was in the market for a new AP that is what I'd buy as well, but only because I would like to mess around with the different things the 3rd party firmware will allow. If I wasn't brave enough to do that, it'd be whatever is cheaper. They are all the same otherwise
There are no differences in construction. They're all cheap. Across the board. That's why you can buy these devices so cheaply, because they are made cheaply. Take a look at some Buffalo Technology hardware. Proxim. Cisco. Then you start actually seeing a discernible difference in the quality of the components, the shell, software, materials etc.. To the OP, if you really want a quality piece of wireless hardware and dont' mind paying slightly more than the standard budget sector gear, take a look at buffalo tech's website. Very good hardware that bridges the gap from the low end equipment, Linksys/SMS/DLink/Netgear/Etc.., and the high end stuff, Cisco/Proxim/Wi-Lan and so on.
In slight defense of netger they do have higher end stuff that is very good. All their little cheap home user crap is crap. Their higher end switches and hardware (the ones in the blue metal casing) are actually pretty damned good. I've never seen on of those have any issues. I still have an old Netgear 10BaseT 4port Hub from back in the day when that was the shizzle and it still works perfectly. Those things are built like a tank