While the firmware is open-source, the Download Master program for initiating these direct downloads is not open-source. At this time binaries are only offered for Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. With that said, we are unable to comment on the capabilities of this program due to the lack of GNU/Linux support. However, with the firmware being open-source a client application could likely be constructed to start these downloads from alternative operating systems. The firmware is Linux-based by Broadcom with mispel-linux. The potential for modifying the Linux-powered router is certainly terrific to see from ASUS.
When it came to the general functionality of the wireless router, we were impressed by its wireless speeds and range. The wireless signal was relatively strong even at extended distances, and was stronger than the D-Link DGL-4300 as reported by NetworkManager in Fedora Core 5. The wired connectivity had also worked great. After our thorough testing with multiple notebooks and wireless adapters, we were confident in the performance of the WL-500g Premium router.
The ASUS WL-500g Premium is certainly an interesting creation with its Download Manager (though lacks GNU/Linux and Mac OS X support), strong 802.11g WiFi signal, very well laid out administrative interface, and overall is a terrific package. However, the device is not perfect as it lacks 10/100/1000 Gigabit functionality for the wired connections, and the wireless capabilities could be improved with MIMO (supported by the ASUS WL-566gM). The ASUS wireless routers are backed with an open-source firmware that is Linux-based. This router would not be needed for the casual PC user that is not able to take advantage of many of these functional items, but for a PC enthusiast or gamer, this router packs some terrific features. Some of these features once again include NAS storage, print server, web cam server, UPnP media server, backup facility, and web server. For those looking at even a larger jump into having your wireless router multi-function as a media server, the WL-700gE includes a 160GB hard drive that is preinstalled. Another interesting ASUS creation is the WL-530g, which is incredibly compact in size. Surprisingly the WL-500g Premium router is not too expensive at approximately $110 USD.
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Phoronix Product Rating: 9 / 10