* Prices may differ from that shown
This is a very useful yet small device which is easy to set up. You have to simply plug in the small device into any USB port on your computer and install the drivers from the disk. The device is a nice silvery - gray colour. I have only had one problem with this device which was when I updated my windows from XP Professional to Windows 7 and when I installed the drivers from the disk and it showed up perfectly fine but would not connect. After a few months I found out I needed to update the drivers from the website which fixed all my problems. Also sometimes if there is interference in the room with the device you may need to use a USB extension cable to move the wireless adapter around to get better signal/reception. I recommend buying this as it is cheap and a good quality product.
This Netgear adapter is a wonderful step forward for internet convenience, and although it seems like such a small wireless stick couldn't deliver the same quality as an ethernet cable, I have noticed no difference in quality or speed of connection, and I have found a strong signal at quite a long range - from opposite ends of the house.
I found it very easy to install, as you only need to plug it in and insert the disk and you are walked through the rest. A blue light comes on when it is connected, which is always a useful indicator.
One possible drawback occurs when you're USB slots are close together, which is more common on laptops. In this case when both are in use, I have found it difficult to fit both in because of it's fairly chunky design and the plastic layer over the word 'Netgear'. Also, after about a year of use I have noticed that it has become very sensitive to any movement, and it can lose connection completely after only the slightest touch, and then requiring a few seconds to load up again. This can be quite frustrating when buffering a video, because it means the page needs to be refreshed, but I'm willing to concede that it might just be in my case.
Overall I have found this adapter very convenient and satisfactory, and once it is running you hardly notice it, although it may get more temperamental as it ages.
When I took the plunge to make my internet connection wireless I decided on a USB wireless adapter as it seemed to be the easiest way. The first I bought was an unbranded product which would not keep the signal and was absolutely useless. Fortunately I was lucky enough to be given this Netgear product and it is absolutely first class.
I was apprehensive at first thinking this cannot be any better, it's the same connection etc. So I carefully read through the instruction manual which didn't state anything other than the obvious. Taking the big warning signs onboard, I installed the Netgear software onto my machine before plugging in the adapter. The installation typically consists of the drivers for the device and network control software. Personally I did not like the supplied sofware and used Window's network configuration instead. Despite this, setup itself was incredibly easy.
The adapter is supplied with a USB extension cable to allow you to place the adapter further away from the machine in the hope of finding a stronger signal. This was certainly the case with my machine. I used the cable and blu-tacked the adapter to the leg of my desk. (This was the optimal signal strength location).
The connection was brilliant from the outset, it never fails and is constantly running at a high transfer rate. The adapter itself is quite a neat looking device and doesn't look too out of place should it be on view.
The device is an incredibly handy way of enabling a computer for wireless use but it is no where near as tidy as a built in wireless system or a wireless card to place in a spare expansion slot. I would not recommend it for use on a laptop as it seems it could be easily snapped when poking out the USB slot.
I don't know much about computer technology so I'm sorry if this review is vague! So instead of posting complicated technical information I'll rate it on issues such as ease of use and price.
Here are the key features as listed by the Netgear website itself:
Use with Desktop PC or Laptop Computer
Wirelessly share Broadband connection with throughput of up to 54 Mbps
Wireless mobility for laptop/notebook users
USB 2.0 interface is up to 40x faster than USB 1.1.
Easy set-up with NETGEAR's Smart Wizard Install Assistant
Pentium class PC
Available USB port
Windows® 98SE, Me, 2000, XP or Vista (click here to download Vista drivers)
2 Mbytes of free hard drive space
EASY TO USE
I've already stated previously that I'm not a very "techy" person. In fact I'm pretty cluless in this area of technology so I was dreading having to set up and install this device. However, the Set-up is made quick and easy with the disk that comes with the software, NETGEAR's Smart Wizard Install assistant. NETGEAR's Smart Wizard pretty much does all the work for you and even offers to help you connect to a wireless network after installation is complete. I found this an extremley helpful feature.
The user interface makes it easy to adjust the settings of your adapter for example it assists you in adding wireless security settings and scanning for a local wireless network.
I like the way that after installation, the adapter simply needs to be plugged into the external USB port of your desktop PC or notebook/laptop computer in order for it to work. It has a built in LED light that flashes blue when a network is detected. This is really easy set up.
The WG111 wireless USB adapter is small and compact making it easy to carry it anywhere with you. It is described by the Netgear website as "pocket size".
As well as an installation CD, the adapter comes with a 1.52m (5 ft) USB cable. The aim of this is to enable you to locate your adapter where the signal is strongest. Personally, I use the cable because I feel it's easier than plugging the adapter directly into a USB port. I find that if an adapter is inserted horizontally into the USB port there is no support for the adapter as it has to carry the whole weight of the adapter. Thefore it can be knocked easily and can snap easily. I have to replace this product in the past because the head of the adapter has snapped inside the laptop. Ever since I've had my replacement I've connected the adapter using the USB cable instead and have had no problems with snappimg or breakages since.
WHERE TO BUY
Prices vary (although it is a relativley cheap product whereever you buy from) so shop around before making a fnal buying decision. Here is a link to a list of websites which sell the product:
There comes a time in every mans life when he has to embrace the future rather than hide from it. I had always sworn by my tried and trusted wired internet connection and in turn it had never let me down. However, time and tide waits for no one, and it was whilst I was considering the setting up of a wireless Xbox live account for my console I took the plunge and make my whole PC/console setup a wireless hub of entertainment mastery. The time had come to cut the strings (or wires) that bound me and head fourth on a trip of wireless wonder!
* Which dongle? *
Upon looking into the whys and wherefores of going wireless I discovered it was a lot easier than first feared. I already had a Netgear Router (albeit the wired variety) so I only needed to purchase a wireless access point and plug that into the router to make that end of the concern wireless. My console was taken care of which meant all I needed to complete the transition was a wireless adapter or PCI card to plug into the PC. I knew that I wanted to stick with Netgear as I feared compatibility problems should I dare to mix my wireless brands! After a little reading on the Netgear website I decided on the Netgear WG111 USB wireless network adapter (henceforth to be known as the dongle). The appeal of this particular dongle was two fold - first - it was a compact little piece of equipment (about the size of a cigarette lighter) and second - it plugged straight into a USB 2.0 port, negating the need to open up the computer and install a card.
* What's in the box? *
Opening the package revealed the boxed dongle and assorted accessories. Included along with the dongle in the pack is a small USB cable in case your USB ports are internal or hard to reach, an installation guide and a CD containing the relevant drivers and setup programs. I purchased my dongle as a reconditioned unit and as such the warranty was not a Netgear one, but I understand if purchased new a one year warranty protects from any problems.
* Setup *
Setup was simplicity itself - a big warning sticker told me not to plug the dongle in until I had installed the software - which took about five minutes. I had to tick a few option boxes during installation but for the most part it was an automated process. When the time came I was asked to plug the dongle in after which the software detected and then loaded the relevant drivers to make it operate as it should. During installation I was given the choice of using the supplied wireless network software or Windows XP's version, since Netgear recommended using the bundled software I took that route and encountered no problems. Once installed the software performs a search for available networks, and I was a touch surprised when it returned two results - my AOL account plus a sky account! I guess one of my neighbours has an unprotected wireless setup using sky as their ISP. Not wishing to jeopardize neighbourly relations I did the decent thing and selected my own aol account, another thirty seconds of installation and the job was done. The dongles small blue light flicked when data was being sent or received and I was up and running on the internet in a wireless capacity. No additional changes were required when signing onto AOL; it really was simplicity itself.
* So is it any good? *
It's more than good, it's great! I was dreading the setup process and had visions of countless hours wasted trying to get a connection, but with the SmartWizard software every step is explained in an easy to understand manner so that any technophobe should not feel out of their depth. The unit itself is compact and stylish looking while the software takes up just 2MB of hard disk space. An icon sits in the system tray and flashed green when the connection is operating. Clicking the icon brings up the SmartWizard box where you can check your current speed, connection strength as well as sorting out security settings to insure nobody else can share the connection. With my Wireless access point and router a good thirty feet away from the computer (and a few thick walls in-between) I was concerned about signal strength, but at the time of writing the signal is running at 64% strength, with It never having dropped below 60% thus far. Mbps (Mega-bytes per second) fluctuates but has never dropped below 24.0 - way above the 8.0 my AOL connection tops out at! As mentioned above I purchased my dongle as a reconditioned unit from eBay, this cost my just £10 - purchased new the cost is about double that. All in all a great buy and a painless introduction into wireless computing - four stars out of five.
I subscribe to Homechoice and got a wireless router. With the router came one WG111 USB 2.0 Adapter.
The adapter is 8.5cm in length, 2.6cm in width and about 0.9cm depth. It is silver in colour and connects either straight to your pc via it's USB port or comes with a cable so you can move it around to get a stronger signal.
The main problem with the usb adapter is that if you attach to a front USB port on your desktop as it sticks out you may accidently snap it off. Therefore it's a good idea to use the cable it comes with and place it on top of the desktop.
On a Windows PC Before you connect the adapter to your PC you must put in the installation CD and follow the instructions. Then you attach the adapter to your computer and configure it to ensure it can connect to your network.
The driver software that I was given is not signed by Microsoft so if installing on Windows XP you have to ignore this fact. The adapter installs on Windows 98SE upwards.
The adapter is suppose to install on mac and linux but I have not tested it yet as there is no installation drivers on the CD for these systems.
The one problem with the adapter is there is nowhere to put the lid so if you generally lose things then the lid of the adapter will be lost.
Every now and then I start up my Windows XP machine and I get the blue screen of death which means I have to reboot my machine. There is no pattern to this crashing and only started since I installed the adapter.
I updated the driver and am still waiting to see if its stable. At the moment it hasn't crashed for 3 days.
I can connect to my router at maximum speed which is 54Mbps, and it is fine. I've not had to move the cable around to get a stonger signal the adapter just sits on top of my desktop.
-Portable you can in move the adapter to another machine
-Simple to set up on Windows XP
-Nowhere to put the lid once you have connected it to your machine.
-Causes Windows XP to crash
4 out of 5 ease of installation
4 out of 5 size
2 out of 5 for not having anywhere to store the lid
4 out of 5 for build quality
3 out of 5 for reliability
4 out of 5 for connection