Linksys WPC54GX Wireless-G notebook adapter with SRX
The Linksys WPC54GX Wireless-G notebook adapter promises to deliver fast throughput at long distances, and, for the most part, it keeps its promise. At long range, the WPC54GX showed double the throughput speed of many non-MIMO adapters we've tested, such as the . But here's the rub: you can get those speeds only by using the WPC54GX in combination with Linksys's disappointing SRX counterpart, the . All things considered, we can't justify spending the 300 or so bucks that it will take to buy both the adapter and the router, especially when the and its corresponding router, the , offer more speed at a lower overall price.
Setting up the WPC54GX is easy. A sticker on the included CD instructs you to insert the disc before sliding the card into your notebook's slot. The CD installs the card's drivers and two utilities. The first utility monitors the WPC54GX's wireless stats, including a list of available Wi-Fi networks with their transmission speeds, security levels, and channels. The utility is similar to the native zero-configuration utility that comes with Windows XP, and you can use either utility to configure the card. However, we recommend using the Linksys utility, if only because it displays the channels of neighboring networks, which can help you avoid interference by selecting an unused channel for your own network. The second utility on the WPC54GX's CD is from Funk (yes, you heard right--Funk) Software and lets you alter the card's WPA settings and configure the card to use industrial-strength 802.1x security.
Linksys decided to rebrand the WPC54GX's MIMO technology with a name of its own: SRX (Speed and Range eXpansion). Be that as it may, the card is using essentially the same Airgo MIMO solution found in Belkin's card. The WPC54GX's SRX/MIMO enhancement helps the adapter earn a fairly fast 28.6Mbps throughput score at a long 200-foot range in CNET Labs' benchmarks. Unfortunately for the Linksys WPC54GX, the Belkin Pre-N PC Card clocked an even faster 36.4Mbps score from the same distance. In our Labs' throughput tests from a 10-foot distance, the Belkin edged out the Linksys, with the former transferring data at a superspeedy 45.7Mbps (maximum throughput under 802.11g conditions) and 42.1Mbps (max throughput in a mixed 802.11b/g environment) compared to the WPC54GX's 43.4Mbps and 28.6Mbps times.