I have lots of cheap routers and cards. With wireless stuff it always seem like a roll of a dice. You see people ranting about every brand including Linksys, which is often claimed to be one of the best networking brands.
Recommend this product?
I ordered one of these a few weeks ago mainly due to the hype about the WRT54 series. There are sites all over the net telling you how to flash 3rd Party firmware, most of it free which adds tons of features.
After flashing it, it's more similar to a much more expensive router. Frankly, most people don't need much more than the basic router but some features like bridging are very useful. You can, however buy access points that do the same thing for around the price of this router so it may be moot point for many people. For instance Trendnet has one for $47-60.
However, I like the idea of having a router with these features since I could use it just as a router or in bridge mode for the same amount. In bridge mode you can connect the Linksys wirelesly to another wireless router. I have several PCs close together far away from the cable router where the Trendnet is. I can either buy 3 wireless cards or buy one access point/bridging router and connect the 3 PCs to that instead with cables.
In terms of a basic router, the Linksys is fine. I tried it before I flashed it and it's no worse than the other cheap routers I have, such as the Trendnet I'm using now. Some people swear by Linksys and Netgear over the many cheaper brands such as Trendnet, but I've seen the same problems with cheaper brands that I see with Netgear and Linksys. I see lot of happy people with lots of brands and lots of bashing with all brands, just look at some of the other reviews here for the Linksys.
The main thing with the Linksys WRT54 series though is, the fact it can be flashed with other firmware such as Tomato or DD-WRT. The complexity comes with the fact that Linksys has been altering the router over the years. They've also come out with similar models that add to the confusion. The main thing is years ago they reduced the memory in the router making it incompatible with 3rd party firmware. Then DD-WRT came out with a way of flashing a smaller firmware to the router making it generally compatible again. Ever since version 4 or 5 I think, it gets a bit confusing with some models losing compatibility and then either the 3rd Party adapting new firmware that worked or Linksys coming out with a variant on the model that did work like the GL.
The current version of the Linksys54G seems to be the 8.2 as of 2008. Supposedly this is compatible with the micro version of DD-WRT. Tomato only works with a special model they came out with which restores the amount of memory in it to the older model to make it compatible to all the third party firmware. It's called the Linksys WRT54GL though it generally costs more than the G. Get that instead if you want to make it easier on yourself, if you are interested in flashing it.
The G the one here, version 8.2 seems to be compatible with VXworkskiller DD-WRTs firmware. I've seen people claim the flash was successful. However, be warned not everyone is successful. For instance I just did a bad flash and am trying to revive it.
As far as I know the completely different looking LinksysWRT54Gv2 which is all black and slightly rounded can't be flashed at all with the 3rd Party software.
The big warning about flashing it with any 3rd party firmware is, it voids the warranty and if anything goes wrong it can result in a completely useless router after spending $30-$60 on it. If you do a search, there are various methods for reviving it from reflashing it and resetting the router to using a JTAG cable and opening up the router. It all depends on how bad you messed it up when you flashed it.
Amount Paid (US$): 40
Driver Availability: Don''t Know