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Linksys WPC54GX4 review: Linksys WPC54GX4

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The Good Paired with the WRT54GX4 router, the Linksys WPC54GX4 adapter gives incredible short-range performance.

The Bad The Linksys WPC54GX4 adapter's long-range and mixed-mode scores were unimpressive. It's also a pricey adapter and must be used with the WRT54GX4 for maximum performance.

The Bottom Line If you plan to sit within 10 feet of your WRT54GX4 router, you'll get satisfying throughput. But if you want an adapter that's faster than standard 802.11g, opt for the Belkin Pre-N, which shows more consistent performance.

6.7 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 5
  • Support 7

The Linksys WPC54GX4 wireless notebook adapter delivers superfast throughput when paired with its companion router, the WRT54GX4--if you're sitting close enough to the router to pitch rings around its antennas. Unfortunately, it stumbled in the long-range and mixed-mode tests, which is disappointing given Linksys's claims for speed and range boosts and this unit's hefty price tag ($99.99). For the most consistent performance with expanded range and speed, check out the Belkin Pre-N router and adapter.

Installing and configuring a wireless PC Card adapter is dead simple if you have Windows XP or an equivalent OS. Slide the card into one of your notebook's PC Card slots, load the driver from the installation CD if necessary, and off you go. When you insert the CD, you get Linksys's wireless connection window. Though Linksys plastered the install CD with a big sticker that shouts "Run CD First," you don't have to. We simply inserted the card and popped in the CD when the Windows hardware installation utility started searching for drivers. Either method should serve you equally well.

In conjunction with the WRT54GX4 router, the Linksys WPC54GX4 adapter proved lightning fast in CNET Labs' short-range throughput tests, averaging about 75Mbps at 10 feet. The competing Belkin Pre-N pair logged 45.7Mbps, though the Netgear WPNT511 RangeMax 240 (with its companion router, the Netgear WPNT834 RangeMax 240) beat all comers with a blistering 93.8Mbps. At 200 feet, the combo's performance had fallen significantly to 16.3Mbps, and it did not fare well in a mixed environment either (with 802.11b/g clients), scoring a mere 23.0Mbps.

CNET Labs maximum throughput tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Note: Throughput in Mbps

CNET Labs maximum throughput tests with mixed 802.11b/g and MIMO clients
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Note: Throughput in Mbps

Note: Throughput in Mbps measured at 200 feet indoors

The Linksys WPC54GX4 wireless notebook adapter carries the same generous three-year warranty as the WRT54GX4 router, and toll-free telephone support is available 24/7. Linksys's Web site provides online tech support, as well as FAQs and downloads. The user guide that comes on the included CD is well written, although, as we pointed out, you shouldn't really need it.

Despite the great performance you can get from the Linksys WPC54GX4 wireless notebook adapter with SRX400 at short range, you'll be disappointed by its long-range and mixed-mode showings. For more consistent performance, look to the Belkin Pre-N router and adapter combo.

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