Linksys Wireless-G ADSL Gateway with SRX200 review
The original SRX router was one of the first to incorporate MIMO into 802.11g wireless networking. Now, Linksys is combining the power of MIMO with the latest broadband speed hike: ADSL2+.
While the built-in modem will work with standard ADSL, to take advantage of the extra performance you’ll need an appropriate ISP connection. The new version of ADSL has surreptitiously appeared in the UK over the past few months, but you’ll have to look closely to find it. ADSL2+ increases the maximum downstream bandwidth from the original ADSL’s 8Mb/sec to 25Mb/sec, and improves upstream to over 1Mb/sec.
Apart from the headline performance features, the SRX200 also offers comprehensive routing options. Wireless security is well catered for, including WPA2. The original WPA is split into Personal and Enterprise modes, with the former offering TKIP or AES encryption, and the latter adding RADIUS server support. WPA2 has no less than three options. The Personal setting includes only AES encryption, Mixed mode adds TKIP backwards compatibility, with the RADIUS-authenticated Enterprise option making up the third. You can also restrict wireless clients by MAC address.
The more general security settings include an SPI firewall with optional proxy, Java applet, cookie and ActiveX filtering, plus anonymous Internet request blocking. VPN passthrough is available for L2TP, PPTP and IPSec VPNs, with specific tunnelling settings available for the latter. You can also set up access policies to deny Internet access at certain times of the day, or just to certain website URLs, keywords and services. The Applications and Gaming section allows single-port forwarding, with plenty of preset options, plus port ranges and triggering. You can also connect directly to the DynDNS.org and TZO.com dynamic DNS updating services, making the provision of Internet services from your LAN easy.
The Quality of Service (QoS) settings are particularly well featured. Presets are supplied for popular choices such as Skype and MSN Messenger, although the online game presets are somewhat antiquated. Best of all, you can apply specific QoS settings for voice devices by MAC address, and add custom services.
Unlike the original SRX router, the ADSL Gateway claims only six times the performance of a standard 802.11g router when you’re out in the garden, rather than eight times. We put this to the test by copying a collection of files to a Pentium M-based notebook equipped with a CardBus Linksys SRX 802.11g WLAN adaptor. The SRX200 managed an impressive maximum of 31Mb/sec. As we’ve come to expect from MIMO, throughput dropped to 25.6Mb/sec in close proximity. Moving down a floor and a couple more rooms away, the SRX200 still achieved 28Mb/sec. This wasn’t quite as fast as the original SRX, but still nearly twice the transfer rate of standard 802.11g.
With ADSL2+ connections still thin on the ground, we weren’t able to test other performance claims. Nonetheless, Linksys has delivered another solid router with a comprehensive set of security and configuration features. You do pay a distinct premium over 802.11g wireless ADSL gateways, but if you’re willing to fork out for SRX adaptors as well, this is about as fast as you can currently go.