After upgrading from DSL (1.5 Mbps) to cable internet (12 Mbps), I began experiencing performance issues through my router, a ZyXel Prestige 334W, and it died shortly thereafter. At a replacement budget of $45 to $60, I've identified two possible replacement models from Linksys, the E1200 and the WRT54GL. I found the E1200 at a local store for a price comparable to Newegg ($45), while the WRT54GL is only on Newegg ($50). My networking needs are fairly basic: the cable modems connects to the router, then one computer is wired to the router while two or three others are connected wirelessly, with the primary purpose being internet access. The reviews that I've read are more favorable for the WRT54GL than the E1200, and I know that the 3rd party firmware capability of the WRT54GL allows access to more functionality; however, I'm not sure something like QoS is really necessary in light of my internet speed.
Essentially, given that the router is going to be used basically as a wireless access point, is the WRT54GL superior to the E1200 to the degree that I could justify waiting a week and spending more money on it?
As good as the WRT54GL may be, it's still very old technology at this point. It demands a high price because it retains quite a bit of popularity, but primarily because it's a good platform for dd-wrt and other third-party firmware. I myself have used the WRT54G series for many years. But even I eventually sold them off because the technology had simply moved on. For the same $50, you now can’t get wireless N, dual-band, Gigabit, MIMO, USB port(s) (external storage and/or printer server support), etc. We’re well into the wireless N era, with wireless AC around the corner ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11ac ).
But that’s just one person’s opinion. It’s hard to argue w/ something that has a good reputation and by all accounts would meet your needs. But purely in terms of best bang for the buck, I just don’t think it’s the right choice anymore, esp. if you don’t intend to use dd-wrt/tomato w/ it.