If you're looking for a wireless router that burns rubber at close range, the Linksys WRT54GX4 router with SRX400 technology is a good bet, but it's still not the fastest. Its impressive throughput of 75Mbps at 10 feet falls well short of the Netgear WPNT834 RangeMax 240's blistering 93.8Mbps. Alas, the Linksys SRX400 router also gets burned in mixed-mode and long-range throughput tests, not only by the Netgear RangeMax 240 router, but by many of its pre-N competitors as well. Given the hefty price tag of $149.99 for the router, we can't recommend it. If you must have a brand-new router now and need spectacular short-range and mixed-mode performance, go with the Netgear RangeMax 240. Otherwise, we still recommend the Belkin Pre-N router, which shows the most consistently good performance of the pre-N bunch and is less expensive than the Linksys WRT54GX4.
As with all pre-N MIMO routers, you'll need to use a matching adapter for optimal performance, in this case, Linksys's WPC54GX4 wireless card. Unlike the Draft N products that are trickling out now, such as the Linksys WRT300N and the Netgear RangeMax routers, the so-called pre-N products are all based on vendor-proprietary technology. Mixing routers and adapters from different vendors will likely result in degraded performance.
We were a bit disappointed that the silver and gray Linksys WRT54GX4 router doesn't have the built-in footpad that some of Linksys's routers have. To orient the square unit vertically, you'll need to snap on the included stand. The three antennas bend to 90 degrees and swivel 270 degrees, which should allow you to adjust them for good coverage in just about any physical circumstance. The router also has four hard-wired 10/100 Ethernet ports. We hate to keep harping on vendors for the exclusion, but to stream full-scale high-definition content, you need wired gigabit Ethernet ports (Netgear includes gigabit Ethernet in its Marvell chipset-based RangeMax Next Gigabit edition router.)
Setting up the Linksys WRT54GX4 is easy. Plug in the cables, and you should be on your way. If for some reason Windows XP, the WRT54GX4 router, and your broadband connection don't communicate to autoconfigure correctly, Linksys's browser-based HTML configuration application offers every option you need. (If you do have configuration problems, they can often be resolved by simply powering down your PC, router, and broadband modem and leaving them off for five minutes. When you power them back up, do so in the following order: modem, router, then PC.) Security features include an SPI firewall, MAC address filtering, WPA and WPA2, and support for VPN and remote configuration.