Linksys WRT543G3

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Linksys WRT543G3

Pros

  • Data card access

Cons

  • No built in modem

Bottom Line

For data card users, this product allows you to use the same Internet connection on the road using your notebook, as well as on your home or small office PC network. It also serves well as a reliable backup connection, rather than paying for a robust service level agreement.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 1 store)

Telstra recently announced that as of 1 April, its copper wire network service installation fee for residential customers will rise from $209 to $299, in addition to the $30 monthly line rental. Suddenly getting an ADSL connection costs more than before. So what are your options?

With the introduction of the Linksys WRT543G3 router, you have more Internet choices. This router can distribute the Internet from a standard wired Internet connection (ADSL or cable), as well as from a Vodafone mobile data card. The data card simply slots into the PC Card slot on top of the router.

The router will only work with Vodafone's data cards, which are capable of downloading at speeds up to 384Kbps, and the routing capabilities of the WRT543G3 mean you can distribute its connection via Ethernet cables or via 802.11b/g cards.

Setting up the WRT543G3 router involves an initial configuration via an Ethernet cable and a host PC. The router has a step-by-step guide to connect to the Internet, along with a configuration CD. Unfortunately, these didn't work for us, but using Linksys' HTML configuration menu was straightforward.

Once it was connected, it ran smoothly and reliably averaged speeds of 80Kbps. Depending on the data card's geographic location, it does not always run at its maximum download speeds.

The router itself has no modem and requires you to buy a Vodafone Mobile Connect Card, which will cost $399. As a result, this product is designed for people with an existing data card. Vodafone's monthly subscription will exceed the cost of a fixed line connection per megabit of bandwidth and gigabyte of download limit. At press time, plans ranged from $29 to $99 per month.

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