Round-up: 802.11g-based USB 2.0 Adapters - Page 5

By Joseph Moran

January 20, 2004

Linksys Wireless-G USB Network Adapter

Model: WUSB54G
Price: $79
Pros: Removable panel with hook and loop fastener
Cons: Only works with Windows 2000/XP, no client utility for XP

The Linksys Wireless-G USB Adapter is among the larger adapters in the group, but I give Linksys credit for a couple of interesting and useful design features.

For example, the flat dipole 2dB antenna folds flush into the unit, so it won't get snagged on cables or other items if you toss it in a bag. Also, Linksys not only includes a hook-and-loop fastener on this GlobespanVirata Prism GT-based WUSB54G, but it's attached to a removable panel, so you can easily remove it temporarily from its fixed position and return it to a perch on a desktop or laptop without ruining the hook-and-loop.

One pre-installation caveat: the WUSB54G will only work with Windows 2000 and XP, unlike the others which are compatible with Windows 9x and ME, provided you have USB 2.0 hardware compatible with those operating systems.

On my Windows XP-based test system, installation went flawlessly. The WUSB54G's configuration utility won't install on XP systems, only on Windows 2000, so users of the former will have to be satisfied with WZC (Windows Zero Conifguration) for any configuration needs.

The WUSB54G's performance was good, particularly at closer ranges. Throughput at 10 feet was 20.7 Mbps, dropping to 12.0 Mbps at 125 feet. Enabling WPA reduced performance the typical 25% to 14.6 Mbps at 10 feet.

The Linksys adapter won't win any awards for small size, but the inclusion of the removable panel and fastener will be a useful feature for many. As long as you can live with the Linksys WUSB 54G's (admittedly minor) limitations like the lack of Windows 9x support or a configuration utility for XP, you'll find it worth your money.

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