The Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander is still a product catastrophe

Wre54g_1_1
If you did not read my earlier article  on this botched product, you should take the time to read it now, because Linksys has not significantly improved the product experience in the last 12 months, even though they have changed from version 1 to version 3.

As Jarrod Lewis noted yesterday: "I have had more signal boost using tinfoil and a drinking straw than with the Linksys expander."

If you go on Amazon.com and see the price cuts on these WRE54G Range Expanders (from $99.99 to $41.25) you might be tempted to buy. What you don’t know is that these are the old Version 1 models which have no ethernet connector and cannot be upgraded.

Supposedly, there is now a version 3 out which handles some of the problems but Linksys’ lack of documentation and the difficulty in setup still makes it a real challenge.

Linksys should have bitten the bullet and regained credibility by issuing a recall for version 1 with a free replacement with the latest version. They may yet have time to do so, but I doubt they will consider it.

A significant problem for Vonage users is that this latest Linksys expander is incompatible with the firmware running on Vonage controlled routers. If it comes to choosing between Vonage and this range expander, the choice is obvious to me, at least. This product has no future unless it is compatible with Vonage.

Unless you are a computer expert and have 4-6 hours to spend toying with  the equipment and waiting on the phone to talk to a service rep, you should consider using longer antennas on your wireless router for now.

For more firsthand information, read these customer reviews on Amazon.com.

My suggestion? Wait until version 4 comes out and let someone else buy it first. The product concept is brilliant, but the execution is a disaster. By the time they get it right, the competition may have cornered the market. This is a textbook case of what happens when a product team cuts corners to meet a release date.

Once again: Before you buy anything more complicated than food from the grocery store, Google "product name and model" and "problems". It will save you from this foolishness.

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0 Responses to The Linksys Wireless-G Range Expander is still a product catastrophe

  1. David – totally agree with your assessment. I no longer purchase ANYTHING Linksys… I’m now a Netgear guy.

  2. DaveH says:

    If you are looking at getting a WiFi signal from point A to point B over a long distance, these people make a great product:

    http://www.deliberant.com/landing/deliberant_landing.htm

    High powered WiFi sets — they have one that is in it’s own weatherproof box and the power comes in over the Ethernet. I have foil covering the insulation in my house so used that outside the room where the router is and I am able to get a strong signal to all the outbuildings (they are all within a 180 arc of the transmitter.

    The Linksys WRT54G is a decent router but lacks power as a WiFi device — I use it for routers a lot as they are cheap but for anything more than 100 feet, it’s useless.

  3. Jim Rait says:

    It is difficult moving from B2B to B2C. This article is interesting in the light of your blog. I’ve got into circularity which feels like the Monopoly Go back to home and donnot collect £200!
    http://www.infoworld.com/article/06/12/13/HNciscoenduser_1.html

  4. mattbg says:

    Linksys is one of those companies that seems to have no problem releasing beta hardware products into the marketplace. I’ve tried three or four products from different categories from them, and each one of them had some kind of glitch seemingly related to the firmware.

    The only product I’ve had from them that worked OK was the network switch 🙂

  5. Carlosfvs says:

    I definitely don’t get it. I have the “compatible” linksys router (which works great) and I have been able to upgrade the firmware of the RE, because both leds are BLUE. But everytime I try to connect to the RE, it gives me a frustrating “limited connectivity” problem. I give up. Linksys: 1, me: 0.

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