Linksys WRT54G3G review: Linksys WRT54G3G

CNET Editors' Rating

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The Good Allows you to share Vodafone 3G service wirelessly. Easy to install. Can also work concurrently with regular broadband services.

The Bad Could be very costly to use. Speeds can drop. Can cause speaker feedback.

The Bottom Line The Linksys WRT54G3G does an admirable job of simply and seamlessly sharing a Vodafone 3G data connection.

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Design
For most intents and purposes, the Linksys WRT54G3G looks much like any of the other Linksys products we've reviewed recently, including models such as the Linksys WRT54G Router with SES or the Linksys WRT54GC. The big visual difference in the router comes in the form of a PC-card slot in the side of the WRT54G3G. This is where the router will accept a Vodafone Wireless Mobile card (AU$299 plus service fees, sold separately) with a Vodafone 3G SIM card securely embedded in it. Aside from this slot, the router is effectively a normal Linksys router -- 4 ports and a port labelled "Internet" for connecting up other high-speed Internet services.

Like other Linksys products, the ports are initially obscured by a sticker telling you to run the install CD first. Unlike other Linksys routers we've seen, however, this time the sticker is correct. We've bemoaned the fact that Linksys' router software is cable-modem centric previously, but in this case the automatic configuration works seamlessly for setting up the Vodafone 3G service. There's also the option to use an existing broadband connection in conjunction with the Vodafone connection if you're into network redundancy.

Features
The router side itself of the Linksys WRT54G3G follows the exact same set of standards and options as much of the rest of the range; it's a four port wired router with 802.11b/g connectivity, wireless security, inbuilt QoS features for services such as VoIP and Internet Gaming and a simple, blue-themed interface that's accessed via any Web browser. The main difference with the Linksys WRT54G3G is naturally that's there's an additional tab for configuring the Vodafone 3G service, although as long as you get a signal up and running as part of the initial installation, you shouldn't particularly need to access the 3G/UMTS panel much in any case.

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Where to Buy

Linksys WRT54G3G

Part Number: CNETLinksys WRT54G3G

Typical Price: $380.00

See manufacturer website for availability.