A Simple Design Tweak Makes Wi-Fi Work Better: Gigabyte's GN-WBKG 802.11g USB Adapter Review - Page 2

By Christopher Saunders

December 21, 2005

Features and Accessories

The 54Mbps Wireless USB Adapter comes housed in plastic, in a stylish, if fairly unusual, metallic blue color. Six tiny green LED lights on one side of the device show signal strength.

The device ships inside a static-protective bag. Debate here at SysOpt rages over what, exactly, the adapter looks like. One coworker suggested a laser pointer. I vote instead for one of those flat magic markers or highlighters; it even comes with a pen-cap-like cap (complete with pocket clip) that protects the USB connector.

In addition to a manual, the device also includes SmartSetup 3, a utility that configures your adapter and wireless network (including the setting-up of WPA encryption) and handles connectivity via a System Tray pop-up called G-EzLink. The SmartSetup feature only works with Gigabyte components, so unless you're also using the company's wireless router/access point, they're largely unnecessary. G-EzLink, however, is vastly superior to Windows' built-in network connectivity tool, and operates more usefully, similarly to a program like NetStumbler.

Gigabyte's included G-EzLink software

Now, the 360-degree swivel does, in fact, enable you to point the thing in any direction away from your computer. Of course, since the hinge assembly doesn't actually rotate a full 360 degrees -- it only goes about 270 degrees, but a pivot allows you 180 degrees of y-axis freedom, compensating for the adapter's rotational limitations. This means that it's foreseeable that you might have to position the thing in such a manner that you won't be able to see the LED lights. Naturally, that's not supremely important, but it's an ever-so-slight annoyance, particularly if you lack an on-screen WiFi signal strength meter.

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