Apparently, a router Linksys released way back in 2005 is so popular that the device remains as a best-seller for the company, even in 2016. The router in question is the WRT54GL, which only serves up the 2.4GHz wireless band at up to 54 megabytes per second thanks to the 802.11g Wi-Fi standard. Did you get that? It’s only capable of Wireless G connectivity. Not the Wireless N follow-up, and certainly not the latest Wireless AC technology.
Despite its age, Linksys Global Product Manager Vince La Duca recently said that the company has no plans of shutting down production of its WRT54GL router unless its suppliers, such as Broadcom, no longer serve up the components required to assemble the popular device. Until that happens, Linksys will continue to crank out the WRT54GL, because consumers are still buying.
“To be honest, it somewhat baffles my mind,” La Duca said. He wasn’t willing to divulge the actual financial numbers generated by the aging router, but did admit that it’s a “multi-million-dollar SKU.” Between the WRT54GL and its siblings in the WRT54G line of routers, Linksys has sold over 3.1 million units since their original debut 14 years ago. The WRT56GL is the only one still in production.
Why is this $70 Wireless G router still a hot product? For one, many consumers recognize the Linksys brand, which still continues to thrive despite Belkin’s purchase of the company back in March 2013. Even Belkin admits that Linksys has “a rich heritage, a passionate customer base and a wide product line.”
Second, the router seems to have gotten a huge recognition throughout the years simply by word-of-mouth. “People say, ‘I had it, it worked, or a friend had it and it’s been working ever since nonstop, so I went and bought one,'” La Duca said.
The could also be widely known for its compatibility with DD-WRT, a third-party, open-source firmware for routers based on Broadcom and Atheros networking hardware. The Linksys WRT54GL is specifically listed as one of the requirements to use this firmware, which essentially gives the user full control over the device, along with serving up additional features not offered by router manufacturers.
Thanks to its ability to play nice with DD-WRT firmware, La Duca said that the WRT54GL seems to have generated an “interesting cult following behind it.” The device can even be quickly set up to serve as a hotspot, or provide a virtual private network.