Round-up: 802.11g-based USB 2.0 Adapters - Page 6

By Joseph Moran

January 20, 2004

Netgear 54 Mbps Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter

Model: WG121
Price: $79
Pros: Excellent client software
Cons: None

Netgear's take on the 802.11g USB adapter yields a device that is mostly wide and flat, almost resembling a radar detector (but smaller and thinner). A short antenna folds flush into the unit. Like the D-Link, Linksys, and IOGear offerings, the WG121 is based on the GlobespanVirata Prism GT WLAN chipset.

Installation of the WG121 was uneventful. One of the benefits of the WG121 is its excellent Smart Wizard client software, which can be used with Windows XP in lieu of the built-in WLAN capabilities. I particularly liked the fact that upon installation, the utility automatically prompts you if XP is configured to control the WLAN device, and can assert control over it with one click, saving you from having to do so manually.

As is the case with all five products tested, if you want to utilize WPA, you must forgo the vendor utility and use the XP feature. Netgear, like all the vendors in this group, is planning to integrate WPA into their software in the early part of this year.

In terms of throughput performance, the WG121 held its own against its peers. At a 10 foot range, it posted throughput of 19.4 Mbps, which was within striking distance of the low- 20 Mbps figures yielded by the Buffalo, IOGear, and Linksys units. At 125 feet, the WG121's 11 Mbps throughput was also on a par with the other products.

The Netgear WG121 doesn't set itself apart in terms of physical design or performance the way the IOGear does, but its still a solid product that's worthy of consideration.

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