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 Post subject: What is the best USB Wireless adapter
PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:53 pm 
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I need to get a good USB wireless adapater. G standard works, but N standard would be nicer.

1. I purchased a trendnet
54Mbps 802.11bg Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter Mfr Part #: TEW-424UB
http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... id=0243527

I had installation problems with it.

2. I purchased a fancy hawking unit
Hi-Gain Wireless-150N USB Network Dish Adapter
http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... id=0290400

Looks like it uses the same software that the trendnet uses. I had similar problems. It keeps losing connection.

(I have another Hawking USB wireless adapter that uses different software and probably a different chip, it seems to work OK, but Microcenter no longer sells it)

3. I want to buy from Microcenter or Frys because they are local and if it doesn't work I can return it.

Here is their selection

Microcenter
http://www.microcenter.com/search/searc ... group=JB7F
and
http://www.microcenter.com/search/searc ... 20hawking&

Frys
Wireless-N Dual Band
http://www.frys.com/category/Outpost/Ne ... Dual+Band/

Wireless-G
http://www.frys.com/category/Outpost/Ne ... ireless-G/

Wireless-MIMO (???? what is MIMO????)
http://www.frys.com/category/Outpost/Ne ... less-MIMO/

3. I don't need any super performance. I just need something that installs, doesn't bite back and works.

Do you have any experience with easy to install USB wireless adapters, especially if you have installed them several times? The newegg reviews are all over the place, I think because of widely varying levels of sophistication. I just find them not useful.

SPRC on the other hand are much more consistently sophisticated with respect to what they know and their self awareness of what they don't know.

Can anyone help me? What has worked for you? What hasn't|


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:32 am 
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I have used a few over the years, but I can't remember what brand/model. I'm sure the last two were linksys - they were on sale at Office Max / Depot and were bought at the same time.

I've never installed the software that comes with them though. Preferring instead to let windows manage my wireless networking setting. When you plug the USB adapter in, Windows should let you know and try to install drivers. I've always just told Windows where to look (the driver CD). And then you manage it through 'Network Connections' in the Control Panel.

Tell us more about your physical environment, your router/AP, and your client PC.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:00 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
I've never installed the software that comes with them though. Preferring instead to let windows manage my wireless networking setting. When you plug the USB adapter in, Windows should let you know and try to install drivers. I've always just told Windows where to look (the driver CD). And then you manage it through 'Network Connections' in the Control Panel.


If it is still using the same driver, won't you have the same performance problems?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 7:02 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
Tell us more about your physical environment, your router/AP, and your client PC.


I have two linksys wireless routers. One is a G and the other is a G & N.

That last one was a mistake. It was realy expensive, but it included networked attached storage... which never worked reliably.

The computers I am using are all XP with asus boards. I will be upgrading to win7 sometime soon.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:26 am 
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ces wrote:
If it is still using the same driver, won't you have the same performance problems?

Maybe! But this might help your "I had installation problems..." comment. I don't know what Trend software gets installed. Just the driver? Or extra stuff too? The CD included with the linksys USB adapters I've used include linksys management software. It never worked any better than what comes included with WinXP. I actually found it less responsive. I dislike bloat and try to avoid it.

But installation method shouldn't result in connection loss. Explain more what happens when it drops. Do you have decent signal strength and quality?

ces wrote:
I have two linksys wireless routers. One is a G and the other is a G & N.

Do you need both of them for sufficient coverage? Maybe your USB adapter is trying to associate with both? What if you temporarily drop one of the routers? But, I forgot that you wrote:
Quote:
I have another Hawking USB wireless adapter that uses different software and probably a different chip, it seems to work OK

This is with the same 2-router setup? That would suggest it's not a problem with your routers/APs.

I can guess the answer is "no", but is there any chance you can run cable?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:48 pm 
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Cable isn't a solution.

The new hawking adapter keeps dropping out from connections with the N/G router. It seems OK with the G router.

But the software functions so goofy. I think I am telling it to reconnect. It seems to. But there is no way to tell it with certainty what to do. Sort of like riding a horse with its own mind.

People actually get paid money to write software like this - amazing. It doesn't speak well of the so called efficiency of a market economy. Whoever wrote this software should be doing janitorial work.
And somewhere there is a janitor that should be writing this software.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 5:08 am 
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ces wrote:
Cable isn't a solution.

You mean "option" ... it's totally a solution :D

ces wrote:
The new hawking adapter keeps dropping out from connections with the N/G router. It seems OK with the G router.

I've never worked with two AP's like this. I assume the two have different SSID's? And you pick which one to associate with?

Is there something in between the USB adapter(s) and the g/n AP that would block/attenuate the signal? Like lots of metal? Refrigerator, etc.? I once had my wireless AP next to a metal file cabinet, and got horrible reception in every direction except for line-of-sight.

If you don't need the g/n AP, can you still return it? You mentioned it was too expensive and the NAS feature never worked properly either. Maybe you just got a crap AP and your USB adapters are fine?

ces wrote:
But the software functions so goofy. I think I am telling it to reconnect. It seems to. But there is no way to tell it with certainty what to do. Sort of like riding a horse with its own mind.

Have you tried ditching the software? Just letting windows handle it?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:24 pm 
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Hi Ces,

Quote:
I have two linksys wireless routers. One is a G and the other is a G & N.

Go on dd-wrt.com and look on the Router Database if your Linksys is compatible, then download the firmware with it you can incrase the power of your TX signal.

Another thing you can try is moving your acces point, since Wi-Fi signals rebound on walls and dont passes trought them, stay away from metal objects or large walls.

If it doesnt help and your always with low wifi and loose connection, i suggest you a powerfull Alfa Networks usb adaptater one like the Awus036h

It's one of the most powerfull you can find, used by many wardrivers for it's incredibly high gain and sensitivity.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:42 am 
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The biggest jump in performance/reliability I achieved was by replacing 11g entirely in favour of a Buffalo nFiniti 11n HP wireless access point, and Buffalo nFiniti 11n WLI-UC-G300HP usb adaptors. I use the Buffalo client software too, although the Vista/Windows version is someone better than the one for XP. To get the best out of this hardware you do need to set both the router and USB adaptors to 300Mbps mode 11n, it defaults to 150Mbps. Buffalo at least admit that this is a signalling rate, and not an actual speed. But I find that wireless transfers between PCs are way faster than they were with 11g.

So it may be that matching routers/APs/client usb adaptors from the same manufacturer make a big difference, probably more with 11n than 11g.

The 300Mbs 11n setup involves channel bonding, and while you can let the access point pick the channels automatically, some manual tuning can help. Using inSSIDer http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider to check what channels neighbouring APs were using I found that it was best to manually set the AP to channels with no/little conflict with others. Particularly as the Buffalo does stick out a big juicy signal.

Buffalo incidentally are planning to adopt DD-WRT as the standard firmware for their 11n range of routers/access points http://www.buffalotech.com/press/releases/buffalo-and-dd-wrt-collaborate-to-create-the-most-comprehensive-consumer-and-small-business-wireless-offering/. Products with DD-WRT will hit the shops between May and July this year.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:08 am 
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sub wrote:
Hi Ces,

Quote:
I have two linksys wireless routers. One is a G and the other is a G & N.

Go on dd-wrt.com and look on the Router Database if your Linksys is compatible, then download the firmware with it you can incrase the power of your TX signal.

Another thing you can try is moving your acces point, since Wi-Fi signals rebound on walls and dont passes trought them, stay away from metal objects or large walls.

If it doesnt help and your always with low wifi and loose connection, i suggest you a powerfull Alfa Networks usb adaptater one like the Awus036h

It's one of the most powerfull you can find, used by many wardrivers for it's incredibly high gain and sensitivity.


I think I am mostly looking for something that is stable, reliable and installs in a predictable manner. Seems like no one makes such an adapter. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:27 am 
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you might want to look at http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/ for reviews.

I'm not at home so I can't look at the last wireless adapter I bought.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:45 am 
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dhanson865 wrote:
you might want to look at http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/ for reviews.

I'm not at home so I can't look at the last wireless adapter I bought.

WOW! Thanks! This looks like a great resource.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:52 am 
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ces wrote:
I think I am mostly looking for something that is stable, reliable and installs in a predictable manner. Seems like no one makes such an adapter. :)

:!: You gotta keep trying man! You can't rule them all out because two don't work for you. I've never had such bad luck with USB wireless adapters as this, but I've only used a handful.

What have you all tried so far?

Here's how I would start testing

First, test with a different PC. Maybe your PC's USB port/controller is borked? No? OK, Then:
  1. get rid of 1 router/AP. Start by using only the G router, since you already know it works.
  2. download recent drivers for the adapters,
    a) the TEW-424UB's comes as a ZIP file. Extract this to a folder. Do NOT install anything yet.
    b) the HWDN2's also comes as a ZIP file. Extract this to a folder. Do NOT install anything yet.
  3. uninstall all the drivers and any software that came with either USB adapters.
  4. uninstall the HARDWARE (device manager -> uninstall this device) and reboot with the USB adapter plugged in.
  5. Windows will discover new hardware and start the installation process. Don't cancel this. When it asks for the driver, you will need to tell Windows where the INF file resides for your own OS.
    * Hawking example on XP: ../HWDN2revE_Driver-Win2K-7/88_91_92_SU_Driver/WinXP
  6. Go to Control Panel -> Network Connections ... do you see your USB Wireless adapter listed?
  7. Double-click it -> Properties -> Wireless Networks Tab -> check "Use Windows to Configure Wireless Settings", and click OK
  8. Click OK again.
  9. Click "View wireless networks" and you should see yours assuming your router advertises its SSID.

Test the adapter with the G router for connection/speed issues.

If issues persist, drop the G router and re-test with the new N router.

If issues persist, start back at step 1 with the other USB adapter.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:41 am 
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Jay_S wrote:
Here's how I would start testing...


Wow. Yes that sounds like the right approach. How do I uninstall a driver? Is that like any other software?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:01 am 
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ces wrote:
How do I uninstall a driver? Is that like any other software?

Any additional management software will be in Add/Remove Programs - get rid of it first. The driver may be there too. But often, when you uninstall the device through device manager, Windows will uninstall the driver as well.

R-Click on My Computer and select manage. R-click on your USB adapter(s) and uninstall. It should look like this:

Image

Oh, and be careful in there - device manager is powerful and "with great power ..."

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:27 am 
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Also, +1 for SmallNetBuilder.com - that site is an awesome resource. Not too many USB adapter reviews, but check out the Wireless Basics section. You may want to start with: How To Fix Your Wireless Network - Part 1.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:56 pm 
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Jay_S wrote:
Also, +1 for SmallNetBuilder.com - that site is an awesome resource. Not too many USB adapter reviews,

Yes that is what I found out. Still a nice site though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:37 am 
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Hi Ces,

try to download Netstumbler on the computer with the usb wireless adapater, and tell us your network signal, maybe it's not software.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:00 am 
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I would not advise anyone to use NetStumbler now, but instead to go for inSSIDer from http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider.

Reasons:

(a) NetStumbler does not report 11n network speeds correctly
(b) It does not report the type of 11n encryption accurately e.g. as WEP when it is WPA2
(c) Does not give the vendor information accurately, if at all
(d) You do not get, as you do with inSSIDer, a graph with a plot for each Wireless Access Point overlaid on it but instead a separate graph for each WAP
(e) NetStumbler's power output graph is not as detailed as inSSIDer's
(f) It does not work correctly with Vista or Windows 7

So essentially NetStumbler is a dead product, and inSSIDer is the one to use. Like NetSumbler, inSSIDer is free.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:07 am 
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I have D-Link DSL-G604T wireless router together with a DWL-G122 wireless USB adaptor as a kit. With the wireless adaptor plugged in to PC and the router right next to it, I could get a perfect connection for it so there is no problem regarding connection.

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