Linksys Wireless-G Gaming Adapter: Bring Your Games Back Online
Jan 4, 2006 (Updated Jan 4, 2006)
Review by Charles Knutson
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:ease of use, portable, convenient, supports both 802.11b/g formats
Cons:price, tough to use with non-Linksys equipment
The Bottom Line: It's a portable ethernet port.
**I accidently put my original review on the wrong product, so if you're seeing this again, that explains why.**
Recommend this product?
I never really wanted to switch to wireless internet access in the house. I always felt that doing that would add a needless bottleneck in my internet connection. I pay to get the fastest bandwidth I can, why slow it down needlessly? Then I moved to a larger house in Oxford. The shape prevented me from making it possible to completely wire the house. Besides with two laptops bouncing around the house and with the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP now supporting wireless access, I took the plunge. I have to say that even though there's another bottleneck in the internet access, the convenience more than makes up for it. Unfortunately, the shape of the house still played into the wireless access as well. I had a hard time picking a spot for the router to reach the different areas of the house. While I finally found a place, my Xbox and PS2 were offline for the greater part of 3 months. The answer was to pick up a wireless gaming adapter. I decided to stay with Linksys for compatibility and relative ease of use. Besides, if I ran into a snafu, I could rely on their tech support to get me out of a jam relatively quickly.
Design and Features
The unit itself looks like a small cable modem with an antenna connected to the back of it. It's pretty small and light at first glance. It's probably no more than 4-5 inches tall and has a depth of 5-6 inches. The width is a mere 1-2 inches by my estimation. It also weighs less than a pound if you don't count the AC adapter. The adapter sits vertically on a surface. The front face has all the LEDs that tell you if it's working and transmitting properly. On the back is the non-detachable antenna, the AC port, the ethernet port, and a switch to determine whether it's communicating to another wireless adapter or a wireless network.
Right out of the box you get the adapter unit, a two-prong AC adapter, a 4 foot ethernet cable, and a CD to configure the adapter for certain wireless networks.
The Linksys Wireless-G Gaming Adapter supports both 802.11b and 802.11g transmission protocols. This is especially good if you don't know which standard your wireless router or wireless network is using. It also allows you to communicate to other wireless adapters, this creating a wireless hub of sorts. While the focus is on connecting your Xbox or PS2 to a wireless network, this adapter can be used as a portable ethernet port for PCs or other devices that require an ethernet connection.
Installation, Software, and Compatibility
Installing the Linksys Wireless-G Gaming Adapter is pretty easy under the right circumstances. If your wireless network is unsecure, or if you have a Linksys router, you'll have little difficulty. For instance, I have a Linksys Wireless-G router which I initially turned off the security to make sure the adapter worked. Installation was as simple as pluging in the adapter to the wall, then to my laptop or gaming console. Recognition was immediate and pretty solid.
When I turned back on my security (WEP with password authentication), I needed to do a little more. I had to put in the CD that came with the adapter. When I ran the utility, it recognized the router as Linksys and the security measures implemented. It prompted me for the password to the network and I was all set. However, when I tested it with another non-Linksys router with security turned on, I needed to know what type of security measures were in place, and how to authenticate myself. It was a lot harder to get working without knowing all the correct pieces of information. It was definitely for advanced users.
The software utility itself was pretty easy to use. I didn't really have many issues with it aside from minor gripes about the graphical interface, but I'm nitpicking as a software engineer. I would trust my wife to be able to install this device on a Linksys network, assuming she understood that the wireless security required a password. I wouldn't trust a true novice like my mom to install it unless the network was unsecured. People who hardly use computers might need more help. If you're using different network hardware brands, it's definitely possible to mix and match. Linksys makes it as easy as it can given the wire variety of security features. However they also make it worth your while to stay within their specific brand.
Overall I'm pretty satisfied with the device. My biggest issue with it is the price. The MSRP is $100, and while I got mine for $75 after two rebates at Circuit City, the price is pretty burdensome. Also given how small and light it is, I have reservations about the durability of this adapter. As long as it's out of the reach of small kids and you make sure that an adult moves it when needed I would think it should last. Still I don't know how many falls it can sustain if you have a cat that likes to jump on shelves and such. Still, it served my needs and I'm pretty happy in the end.
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