Wireless-G, the draft version of the forthcoming 802.11g standard, looks great on paper. Low-cost, high-speed 54Mbps throughput and backward compatibility with 802.11b make you wonder why you'd ever pay for a pricey 802.11a device.
Unfortunately, the Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G router doesn't quite live up to expectations. Although real-world wireless performance hovers around 50 percent of almost all wireless-device manufacturers' claims, the WRT54G delivers even less than that. Also disappointing is its operating range, which is considerably shorter than that of an 802.11b router. Worst of all, connect the Linksys WRT54G to both Wireless-G and 802.11b network adapters simultaneously, and its speed bumps down closer to 802.11b levels. Linksys claims this last problem has been fixed by a firmware revision, but when we tested the new firmware, we noticed only moderate improvement. With more firmware updates likely in the future, we recommend that you skip 802.11g for now.