by Greg King on April 3, 2008 in Networking
Need a new router but not ready to take the 802.11n plunge? We’re taking a look at a brand-new ASUS model that boasts tried and true 802.11g and offers it at a great price. It lacks in certain ways, but makes up for it in others, such as with the inclusion of a real print server.
Oh, the testing. Our testing method currently for anything network related is a pretty simple process. Take a file, move it to and from the original source and repeat three times. Each upload and download is timed and the three are averaged out with the average time being the recorded figure in our comparison graphs.
The file we use is our trusty old XP Pro SP2 install image. Comparing the performance of the WL-520gU to the Linksys WRT54G, a router everyone, your brother and his neighbor owns should give us an idea of what to expect from this ASUS offering.
We’ve also included the D-Link DGL-4500 as a wireless n comparison at to keep things fair; we set our wired network connection on the desktop side to operate at 100/Full Duplex, the same as the ASUS WL-520gU .
- Dell Latitude D620
- Intel Core Duo T2300E @ 1.66 GHz
- 2GB RAM
- D-Link DWA-652 Xtreme N Wireless adapter
- abit IP35 Pro
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 2.4 GHz
- Kingston HyperX DDR2 2GB
- XFX 8800 GT Alpha Dog
- Realtek RTL8169/8110 Gigabit Ethernet Controller
As stated earlier, we included the 802.11n performance for no other reason than to show how much faster the newer protocol is than wireless g. It’s important to keep in mind that n will always beat g, hands down in every conceivable way. However, the real numbers to look at are the comparison between the ASUS and Linksys wireless g routers.
Both were incredibly close but the ASUS WL-520gU bests the everyman’s favorite, the WRT54G in our transfer times. For those playing at home, the WRT54G was a version 4 using the standard Linksys firmware.
It’s hard to find faults in the ASUS WL-520gU router when looking through the eyes of someone that either doesn’t care about wireless n or doesn’t know about it. Those buyers that don’t simply pick up whatever is the most expensive will still tend to collect the lower priced wireless g routers.
Don’t believe me? Go to your local Best Buy and watch. Most homes looking to network that aren’t keeping current with the latest technology will nine times out of ten go for something reasonably priced. This is where the WL-520gU shines.
Available online for under $40 ($39.99 after MIR at Newegg) and a little over that at brick and mortar stores, the price alone might convince someone into picking up a router like this one and that’s perfectly fine. A large majority of homes do not need n at this time. The bandwidth that g provides is more than enough to check email, browse eBay and kill time on YouTube. This is why routers like the WRT54G are still selling as if their very lives depended on it.
The ASUS WL-520gU turned out to be a solid wireless G router with a decent amount of features available to the user, albeit through its horrendously ugly user interface. While I personally use wireless n at home, this would be a great choice for a handful of users. Users that are looking to bring wireless into their homes on the cheap or even users looking for a very good base for their DD-WRT firmware experiences.
But regardless of the reason, if your looking for a wireless g router and can look past the full shelves of the full-featured Linksys WRT54Gs, then the ASUS WL-520gU deserves your consideration. Heck, even those looking to extend their reach with an access point could benefit from the WL-520gU.
All in all, it’s a nice router. It’s not great, nor will it wow you with features but it’s certainly not the worst g router that you could pick. For these very reasons, the ASUS WL-520gU earns a 7 out of 10 for being perfectly normal with an ASUS quality twist… and I am just fine with that.
- Solid wireless g router
- Inexpensive, at ~$40 (USD)
- Decent range for wireless g
- Intuitive and easy setup
- ASUS quality
- No 802.11n support
- Poor documentation
- Ugly UI
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