Finally! The wireless technology made its way to the countryside where I live. The neighbour of mine set up an access point with Internet connection. Of course I grabbed the opportunity to hook myself up to his AP (yes yes he allowed me to do that) and be connected. I chose an USB client because I needed external antenna to achieve line-of-sight with AP, but didnt want to spend more on standalone wifi box with omni or directional antenna. The USB seemed to be just the perfect choice, allowing me to re-orient the client and not requiring additional wiring and power lines. So I bought this one. Back to home, I plugged it into the computer and installed the driver and software. Bingo! I see the AP. Now the WEP key, just a bit of waiting and... and... nothing. The AP doesn't want to talk to me. Ok, lets rescan the network... what? the application seems to freeze? Oh no. Lets restart the computer. Wow, the icon in tray is green now and we're go for the Internet. But after some surfing, the adapter suddenly stops responding. I try to ping the gateway (with no success), then restart the USB device. Nothing. It is dead and I find myself restarting my computer again. Allright, maybe I have something wrong with my PC. I install the latest windows SP, the lates VIA 4-in-1, the latest motherboard BIOS, the latest driver for the wireless adapter from SMC site and, just in case, add another PCI USB controller into my computer. Didn't see all this stuff in Getting Started book. But it helps, now we are at the point where adapter would only crash once per day. Oh my, it is time to call for support. I fill the support form in SMC website. Next day, they reply suggesting that I should install the latest windows SP. My fault, I write a reply with description what I already did. Silence from their side. I fill the support form once again. Silence. Dead silence. Frustrating. But nevertheless, I decided not to return the a
dapter. In fact, I like it when it works, it is fast and RF sensitivity is good, I managed to get acceptable speeds in places where other adapters failed. The speed drop is noticeable only when signal strength is way under 50%. Once the connection is established, there are no "brownouts", it is as steady as a wire. The adapter itself looks nice and doesnt take much space on your table or window sill. If only it had a little longer USB cable... but yes, I can buy an extension if I really need it. So I'll wait for a new driver or firmware, to help me with my problem, and meanwhile I'll write a script to ping periodically and restart the computer if gateway is not responding. Sounds like a solution to me.