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Having bought a motherboard with no wireless functionality I ended up having to get one of these. For the most part it's worked really well.
Transfer speeds are very much dependent on signal; Windows let's you know if the signal is poor - I found using a USB extension cable and placing it elsewhere improved things (being on the other side of the house to the router). We get a 15Mbit connection, which is about 1.5MB/s throughput, which I've been able to pull pretty easily.
The dongle has worked flawlessly on 32-bit Windows 7 for ages - however, I recently upgraded to 64-bit Windows 7 and for some reason I've been having to remove and reinsert the dongle after boot in order to make it work... I only have to do this once mind you.
Other than that it works fine. It's a plug and play - so no drivers are needed. The aerial also rotates from straight out to a 90 degree angle and comes with a stiff-plastic USB extension.
I was given this as a gift from my Uncle who no longer needed it anymore, as after 2 years of our family arguing who gets to have the modem connected to their computer, we would finally be able to each have it on at the same time (no one ever did purchase one of these useful little gadgets either, weird!). It can be purchased for about £10 online, and although it is one of the cheaper models out there, it does a great job - even better than some of the more expensive models!
The design of this is almost similar to a USB stick, as it has the USB connector and although it is longer than a USB device, it is still pretty slim and lightweight. It comes in white, and the part after the USB serves like an antenna, and can be bent upwards. As my computer monitor is placed on the floor of my bedroom, having it bend upwards was really handy as it stopped me from walking into it and damaging it.
The setup was relatively simple, as all I had to do was put in a CD and follow the instructions. The most that it requires you to do is find your network, and then enter your Network password (if you have one that is). Even the setup was really useful, as it was clear and well designed, with instructions that basically everyone would be able to understand.
After plugging in my device, my network came up. Not only will it show you your signal strength of your personal Wi-Fi, but it will also show you the strength of surrounding networks and whether you can sign on to them. The only issue I had was that it kept logging me on to random signals without passwords, but this was soon fixed by changing my preferences to only my personal network!
The signal strength this small device is able to pick up is great, as after a minute of plugging it in, it signed onto my network and basically had full bars the entire time that I used it. It hardly disconnected, and I am pretty sure that when it did it was due to my family unplugging the Internet.
Overall, this is a really handy, small, lightweight piece of technology that allows you to almost carry the Internet around in your pocket. With great signal strength at such a low price, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a way to wirelessly have the Internet connected to their computer. So long as the CD has been installed on the computer, this handy little device can be used anywhere. It has stopped everyone arguing in my family about the Internet, which has probably been the biggest bonus for me!