My Linksys Wireless Router (model WCG200) supports 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g. I’ve never had problems with it. I currently use it exclusively for wireless access around the house with a WPC54G Linksys wireless adapter plugged into the PCMCIA slot on my laptop. I’ve tried a Belkin wireless access point and it just didn’t work–with anything. I’ve tried a Netgear wireless router (WGR614) which is faster in terms of total throughput, but the Linksys router is by far the easiest to configure and manage.

Word to the wise, always enable your MAC address filter, turn on encryption, turn off SSID broadcast and use the largest encryption key your system offers if you want any hope of your wireless network being secure, especially if you’re within 50 yards of a major road, parking lot, shopping center, school or park.

The 802.11n or Wireless-n protocol isn’t yet an official standard yet and isn’t due to be adopted until at least 4Q 2009. But that hasn’t stopped vendors from selling ‘draft standards compliant’ wireless n devices, which aren’t compatible with each other and are using proprietary versions of the Wireless N standard. In some ways, this reminds me of the old modem standards arms race between Motorola and U.S. Robotics. Everyone is pushing the envelope for speed, but nobody is playing nice together.

I’ve checked the literature and the boxes. Most of the wireless modems I’ve owned can be flash-upgraded–that is, the software stored in the flash-ROMs can be updated with new code. That means, at least in theory, that if the standard is different from what your current wireless-N router supports, you can download a free firmware upgrade and voila! you’re standards-compliant. The reality is that if the standards folks change the wireless-N standard in some small technical way that requires a change in the hardware, the digital signal processing chip that generates and/or receives the radio signals, that sort of hardware change can’t be fixed with a flash upgrade.

So, for now, I’m holding on to my old Linksys Wireless modem until the standard is ratified and made official.

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