ASUS WL-500G Access Point
What makes this Asus access point stand out from the rest is that it integrates a print server and a webcam server into the router. Like most routers, it has an uplink port for your DSL or cable modem and 4 10/100Mbs, switched ports, to this it adds the ports mentioned above and a removable antenna.
Setup was remarkably simple. It literally took 2 minutes from the time the cables were all plugged in, to when I was surfing the web. The wireless web connection took a little longer since WinXP doesnít have the PC Card drivers built in. Nevertheless, setup should be easy for anyone. The interface to the router includes a multitude of user-controlled options. For most users, these option screens probably wonít get much use.
The access point includes a nifty fold out stand that allows for vertical placement. I think it looks much better this way and allows for good cooling as well. The one problem with this is that the wires can tend to tilt the router backwards.
One nice touch is that the antenna is removable. This means that you can upgrade the antenna to a larger one in the future, increasing your transmission and reception strength. HmmÖmore power.
The integrated print server is a great feature for a truly wireless network since you can print from any computer at any time. Asus accomplishes this over the parallel port interface or the USB port. Not every single printer is compatible, but many are. Here is a list of tested printers , link from ASUS.
The USB port for a web cam is also interesting, but again, not every single USB camera is supported. The manual provides a list of compatible cameras, so you may want to check that out before you go buy any web cam. This includes the SAA8115HL, SAA811HL, OV511 OV511+ CCD webcam chipsets.
A flash drive or external USB drive can also be attached to the router and be accessed via ftp. This FTP server can be used to serve files over the internet, so you can share your files without setting up a dedicated FTP server, all you need is this access point and a USB drive.
People are too paranoid about wireless security. There are a few simple steps you can take to secure your network.
1. Hide your SSID. If they donít know the name of your network it will be hard for them to find and hack it.
2. MAC address limits. Setup your access point to only allow connections from a list of Ethernet MAC addresses. Unless they also steal your network card, they canít get into your network
3. WEP encryption. This isnít fool proof since it can be hacked, but it does limit your vulnerability to someone with a little bit more skill and time. If you havenít made any enemies in the digital underworld, you should be okay.