Review: Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander

The Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander is suitable for companies looking for a quick and easy way to expand their existing wireless coverage offices.

Designed for existing wireless networks, the Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander represents a quick and easy way to increase the effective wireless network coverage that is both simple to configure and requires no maintenance.


Who's it for?

The Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander is suitable for companies looking for a quick and easy way to expand their existing wireless coverage in their offices. The device works with both Wireless-G and Wireless-B wireless networks.

What problem does it solve?

While wireless networks can bring about both flexibility and savings by eliminating the cost associated with having to cable an office, there will inevitably be corners or areas with poor or non-existent reception. The Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander attempts to resolve this problem by expanding the range of your existing wireless network to hard-to-reach areas.

Standout features

  • No cables required: The Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander does not have to be connected to your network by cables. While the device does come with an RJ45 port for configuration purpose, the device works simply by placing it in the range of the existing wireless network which will then be seamlessly expanded.
  • Easy configuration: Setting up the device for the first time consists of pressing the "Auto Configuration" button, which is located on its side. In most cases, the Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander will connect to your wireless network automatically and without further configuration. If that doesn't work, the bundled graphical configuration software will step you through the process. In addition, an undocumented Web interface is also available for users who prefer to eschew the Windows-based configuration utility.
  • Excellent mounting options: The flexible design of the device lends itself to be mounted on a wall or placed on top of a bookshelf. In fact, the Wireless-G Range Expander can even be plugged directly into a wall socket using the bundled faceplate.

What's wrong?

  • Limited security options: At the moment, the latest firmware supports only WPA with AES/TKIP. On my end, I was able to get it to work with my wireless network using WPA2 with TKIP.
  • Uncertain compatibility: While the Range Expander worked flawlessly with my Wireless-N Gigabit Router, be aware that individual mileage may vary. Generally, it will work fine with wireless routers that support WDS-based bridging (Wireless Distribution System) and/or repeating. As far as Linksys is officially concerned the Wireless-G Range Expander only supports the Linksys WAP54G Access Point, and the WRT54G and WRT54GS Wireless Routers.
  • Support for only Wireless B/G: The Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander only supports wireless-B and Wireless-G. With the large number of draft Wireless-N devices already available, the slower speed is starting to look sorely lacking.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

Despite the fact that the Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander supports only Wireless-B and Wireless-G networks, choosing between a slightly slower network or no wireless network is really no choice at all. And despite the lack of full WPA2 support, WPA AES is still considered secure for now.

Overall, the Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander is a robust and solid performer that just works as advertised. The fact that it looks aesthetically pleasing, and is also easy to configure is an additional bonus. Overall, its wireless expansion capabilities make it a natural choice should you be faced with zones with poor wireless reception.

User rating

Have you encountered or used the Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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