Linksys WPS54GU2 Wireless-G print server review: Linksys WPS54GU2 Wireless-G print server

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Linksys WPS54GU2 Wireless-G print server

(Part #: WPS54GU2) Released: Aug 1, 2004
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2 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Connects to parallel- and USB-based printers; SNMP support.

The Bad Arduous setup process; lacks WPA support.

The Bottom Line In theory, a print server can be useful, but the Linksys WPS54GU2 is not reliable enough for us to recommend.

4.0 Overall
  • Design and ease of use 2.0
  • Features 4.0
  • Performance 5.0
  • Service and support 7.0

Linksys WPS54GU2 Wireless-G print server

Getting the Linksys WPS54GU2 Wireless-G print server to work is no cake walk, but after many failed attempts and fruitless tech-support calls, we finally had it up and running. Theoretically, a Wi-Fi print server is supposed to make your life easier by acting as a wireless conduit for network print jobs. Unfortunately, it didn't make our life easy. Our advice: Don't get the WPS54GU2 unless you're willing to struggle with a fickle piece of hardware. You'd be better off with an old yet still viable router/print server combo unit, such as the Netgear FWG114P .

Our WPS54GU2 odyssey began with its setup. The setup guide gave good directions on how to plug in all of the hardware. But when it came time for the setup wizard to autodetect the device, the wizard's device detection window came up empty. We installed the Linksys management utility in hopes that it would detect the device, but no dice. We then unplugged and reconnected all of the hardware, which caused the WLAN LED light along the front edge to go dark. After unsuccessfully attempting a hard reset, based on the user manual's instructions, we placed our first call to tech support--only to learn that the true hard reset process differed from what the manual described.

We finally achieved a hard reset, which resurrected the WLAN light, though multiple computers still failed to recognize the device. The tech-support rep told us that we needed to set a static IP address for our PC in the same subnet as the print server. But because the rep couldn't supply us with the print server's IP, the device documentation didn't list one, and we couldn't access the device settings to learn what it was, we were out of luck. The tech-support rep's parting words were to coax our printer to cough up a test page that would list the print server's IP. Surprise, surprise: no test page printed. We placed subsequent calls to tech support in the following days, but no amount of tweaking, pleading, or swearing at the device got it going. We even tried a second device but experienced the same problems. Finally, we moved it onto a new network, swapped out the printer, and presto, it worked. Why the WPS54GU2 works in some cases but not in others remains a mystery. Products like this make us pity poor tech-support reps.

We were also disappointed to discover that the WPS54GU2 lacks the WPA support that is rapidly becoming the data security standard among Wi-Fi devices. The WPS54GU2 does let you assign 64- or 128-bit WEP keys. The print server also supports the business-friendly SNMP protocol, but we'd hardly recommend that companies rely on a troubled device like this one. The only positive, unqualified comment we can make about the print server's features is that it supports both parallel- and USB-based printers.

The print server supports the 802.11g standard, which offers a theoretical maximum data transfer speed of 54Mbps. But real-world throughput speeds tend to be more in the neighborhood of 20Mbps, still more than fast enough for most printers.

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