A Simple Design Tweak Makes Wi-Fi Work Better: Gigabyte's GN-WBKG 802.11g USB Adapter Review
December 21, 2005
Wi-Fi works great -- until interference gets in the way. Gigabyte added a rotating hinge to its 802.11b USB 2.0 adapter, and for road warriors, the results are worth looking into.
Wireless Internet access is sure to be one of the great innovations of the past several years. There's no need to list the myriad ways in which Wi-Fi has improved our use of the Internet, or indeed, is poised to improve numerous aspects of daily communication and commerce. But if you're anything like myself, or my girlfriend, friends, co-workers, or acquaintances, you've also experienced Wi-Fi's perplexing dark side: inexplicably limited connectivity, even in areas where networks are known to be operating.
The culprit? Bad hardware or bad software, perhaps. But most likely, your problems are due to the nefarious little gremlin called interference. It's the reason you can't detect the wireless access point a measly ten feet away in another room, but the next door neighbor's network (encrypted, alas) comes in just fine.
Gigabyte Technologies, best known for its PC components, proposes one way to circumvent these issues: a Wi-Fi antenna that can be manually rotated and pivoted to home in on a signal.
But its key feature is a "hinged antenna" that promises to swivels 360 degrees. Actually, it's the entire adapter that's hinged, with the pivot joint located immediately above the USB connector.
At any rate, this feature is designed to enable a user to position the antenna to maximize reception. Anyone (like my girlfriend) who has furiously tried to re-locate a fading signal just to send that last, mission-critical email will certainly appreciate this.
Before we dive into testing the adapter, a look at its specifications as provided by Gigabyte.
|Gigabyte GN-WBKG 54Mbps Wireless USB Adapter Specifications|
|Interface Type||USB2.0||IEEE Standard||802.11b/g|
|Data Rate||Up to 54 Mbps||Security||64/128 bit WEP, WPA, 802.1x, AES|
|LED Indicators||Power, Link, Intensity||Antenna Type||Chip antenna|
|Signal Range||Indoors: Up to 100m|
Outdoors: Up to 400m
|Humidity||10% ~ 90% Maximum (Non-condensing)||Dimensions (W x L x H)||109mm x 25mm x 16mm|
|Certifications||FCC, CE, DGT||Os Support||98SE/ME/2000/XP|