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I bought this wireless adapter after the pci wireless card that i was using stopped working, to this day i do not know what caused that adapter to stop working but i am happy with the Net gear dongle that i now use which currently sits on top of my computer case. When i first started using this dongle i could only get speeds of 65 megabits per second after i bought a wireless home-plug by tp-link the speed went up to the maximum possible 150 Mbps/s which is a great improvement. the reason why the speed did improve and as a tip for anyone else who will use this adapter is because i used as the security setting on the home-plug as WPA2 AES which now allows me to use the maximum possible speed that it is possible to achieve.
I believe that I bought this from either Curry's or PC world which in a way does not matter which since in the end they are both the same company. The price that i paid for this was £20 which in my opinion is a good price to pay for a wireless N product which allows me to achieve fast speeds out of my wireless router. I have had this wireless dongle for a year now and it is still working as it should which is a blessing because i have had some products from Belkin which have failed within the 28 day period. Which is better than the product failing after that because that would effectively be my money down the drain.
The usb extension cable that comes with this dongle is useful because the rubber grips on the bottom of the stand make it much easier to position the dongle where i think it will work best. it also gets the dongle to sit at what looks to me to be a 45 degree angle which seems to get the best response out of it as i have tried it using a different usb cable and it was too annoying to try and get it to stay in a position that i liked. The blue led on the dongle is useful to be able to tell if windows decides to power down the usb port that the dongle is plugged into, if you have it facing away from you like i do then the air gaps along the sides of the dongle also allow the light from the led to shine through which imposes less limits on how you can position the dongle.
The wireless dongle comes with installation CD which also has the version of the drivers and software that it installs labelled on the disc, this helps to prevent mistakes such as installing a previous version as an update. The software that comes with the adapter is useful although i do not find myself using it once i had the dongle set up because it is just easier to use windows wireless selection menu which is only one mouse click away. If Net gear had set their software up in the same nature as the windows menu then i would be much more liable to use it. the windows menu also closes when you click in another location which makes it useful for checking which wireless connection that your computer is connected to.
I sometimes find that the wireless dongle will disable itself this is because as far as i can tell windows cuts the power to the usb port. This is most likely a power saving method that microsoft has decided is a good idea, like they thought that windows vista was a good operating system. This problem i have just found out through help desk geek is a windows power management issue which is easily disabled through windows device management. Although i can understand stopping power for some usb devices there are others which require to be on all of the time. i would tell you how to do this but i believe it best for the reader to research this information themselves so that i can not be held liable for anything that goes wrong.
I would say that the usb cable on the cradle or as i called it earlier the extension cable is over 1.5 metres in length because i currently have a 1 metre Ethernet cable which does not stretch as far as the cable on the cradle can stretch. I would say that the cable on the cradle is of a high standard because I have not had any connection problems other than the windows caused problem which i will update the review after 1 month to inform readers if the measure that i have taken has worked. The cradle itself is built to a high standard as well as it is a dark grey colour which feels fairly solid although just by looking underneath the cradle i can tell that it is made out of a minimum of two pieces because i can see a small gap but as you would expect from netgear products it is not too big and does not compromise the strength of the cradle.
The dongle fits snugly into the port on the cradle and because the plastic around the port is the same colour as the dongle. This makes it look as though it is one item which to me makes it look much more professional although that is a matter of your choosing. Because the wireless dongle is finished in a glossy black this both attracts more dust and makes the dust on it more obvious and although i am not bothered about this other people care more about this. This is where the rubber grips on the cradle are useful as you could place it on a shelf where you might not be able to see it. The length of the cable also means that if you are further away from your router you can choose to move it closer towards it to achieve a better signal strength.
Although i could have found this cheaper elsewhere i believe the convenience of being able to walk into a store and by it at a time of my choosing instead of saving £5 on amazon but having more time without the internet. Which is much more important in the modern especially when i can use it to research for any of my work at college. I also much prefer if the prices aren't unreasonable at a local shop prefer to support them rather than amazon. This dongle is also Aesthetically pleasing which is good because if it is going to be visible all of the time you don't want it to be an ugly device which will stick out from the rest of your room. this also has a push and connect button which can be used to quickly although i do not use this as i find it just as quick to choose the correct network and type in the correct password, in the real world the push n connect button is not needed because if you are a long distance from the router then it takes too long to reach the router for using the button to be off any use to you.
My son inherited my old Packard Bell I- Start when I got the new Medion a couple of years ago. Up until recently though, it has only been used for cd-rom games, mostly educational. As he is getting older though, he kept asking us to make it work online for Jumpstart - a complete educational online world for children. We thought the computer just wasn't fast enough and were planning to add more ram (which I still hope to try soon). However he said he could not get any internet sites working, and after checking, the wireless connection upstairs was coming through in speeds of about 1 megabyte per second. After messing about with the antenna from our wireless router we were able to boost this too 4 mbps (megabytes per second) . This is still not adequate to do anything.
Of course we could have gone for a wired connection - but naturally his room is situated at the farthest point from the cable line. I did a bit of fiddling around with the computer and came to the conclusion the bargain bluetooth usb adaptor ny husband had picked up was the culprit and we should try another one. Of course the fact that my sons room is a blackhole as far wireless connections, or even phone signals are concerned did not help. You can make or recieve calls from his room, and my husbands laptop will often not pick up a signal in there either.
My husband ended up buying this at Curry's for £19.99 but you can get from Amazon £15. It's just a matter of whether you would rather wait to save a fiver - I would have but my husband was already in shop to buy a cheaper and out stock of model. My husband wanted to go ahead and get it there and then. The girl at Curry's was quite helpful and said this was one of their best adaptors, and while there are adaptors which support more mbps it can't go faster than your internet connection and this should be all that was needed. She also said we could return it if it didn't do the trick, - regardless of the reason. This made me agree to buy from Curry's as at least we wouldn't be out if we still couldn't get a signal.
Inside the box we found a cd to install the software, the usb adaptor stick, a small black plastic stand which they call a cradle, instructions , and a black usb to usb cable. I wish I had measured the cable, but it is now running from the back of the computer's tower unit and attached to the wall to prevent it tangling with other wires and being pulled about the children. I am guessing this to be about 1 metre in length, perhaps a bit more.
Installation was extremely simple and staright forward. I expect my 6 year old could have managed himself. You plug in the dongle, either directly or with the cable, pop in the cd and click ok a few times. The whole process, including pulling the computer out from the wall and stapling in the wire took roughly 5 minutes.
And now the moment of truth - would it work? Would it make a noticeable difference? Yes it certainly did. Although the actual connection now is only 54 mbps, far short of this routers maximum speed of 150 mbps, the difference is incredible. My son is delighted that he can now surf the net and both boys can play simple games like Pingu and Hotwheels online. He can even get onto Jumpstart, but this still is a bit slow. Still it works where we couldn't even load the programme before. Now that we have the internet sorted, I hope to get some more ram and hopefully he shopuld have a pretty good pc after that, considering his age and needs.
We are using this with windows XP. The box says it can also be used for Vista and Windows 7. Further tech details can all be found at either Amazon or Curry's website, but there is a 1- 888 number for tech support 24 -7. As we had no need to call them, I can't tell if you if they are helpful or not. This product also comes with a 2 year warranty.
Although we are using this for an older desktop pc that did not have a wireless internet connection, I think it's main use is likely to be for laptops. Having seen the difference it makes, I do feel it was worth the money. My son is absolutely over the moon to have his own internet now. I would certainly recommend this adaptor to anyone who needs a bit of a boost to wireless signal, or just to set up a wireless connection. This gets a full 5 stars from the entire family.
Note I really did not know what to put for variety of features. This does one thing only - but does it very well - good enough in my book.