First off, you're not guaranteed of having 54 megabit speed.
I would be interested in the distances between devices and whether there are any obstacles that might be interfering with the signal.
Yeah, I know I'm not guaranteed that speed, but I'm probably getting 3 Mbit/sec speeds. I should turn on my ftp and check out the log to find out... If I use normal Cat 5 cable and set my wired card on 10 Mbit/half mode, I get a faster connection.
As for the physical layout: The two computers are a couple of feet away from each other. The router is on the floor above them, about 6 feet away horizontally.
Signal strength: One computer has 2/5 bars; the other has 4/5 bars. That's something I didn't consider... hmm, I guess I'll move the router downstairs later today.