Connect to newer wireless networks with minimum hassle
The Surf+ N300 (model number F7D2102AZ) is a miniature wireless network adapter, designed to work with the latest standard of wireless networking called 802.11n.
It will work with computers running Windows 7, XP (with Service Pack 3) and Vista. It's useful for two things: adding a wireless connection to an old computer that doesn't have it built in, or upgrading a PC that can access older wireless standards but not the faster ‘n' networks.
It was easy to set up. Just run the installation software from the supplied CD and it installs all the necessary software to work with the adapter. When it asks, plug the adapter into any available USB port, restart the computer and a wireless link will be available.
The adapter itself is small, about the same size as an SD memory card, though it's 8mm thick. Cased in glossy black plastic, it's short enough not to get knocked if it's stuck into a USB socket on the side of a laptop. It appears to have no indicator to show a network connection, but once running a blue light shines through the case and flashes when it's active.
Belkin says that the Surf+ N300 can get data transfer speeds of ‘up to 300mbits/sec', but even under ideal conditions you are unlikely to see that. Actual speed varies with the distance between the adapter and the router with which it's communicating, and with the structure of the building. It will be slower getting though thick stone walls than through composite partition walls, for instance.
In our tests it was noticeably quicker than using a standard (802.11g) wireless adapter in the same computer and this is likely to be true because of the way the newer 802.11n works, using multiple aerials and combining the signals to construct a faster data stream. The router it's corresponding with does of course have to be compatible with 802.11n to see the benefits.
This is a worthwhile addition to any computer that doesn't have wireless provision, and an economical way of improving the performance of laptops that currently only support older networking standards.
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A neat way to get fast wireless connection to any mainstream Windows device
Small; easy to set up; fast wireless-n link; neat blue network light
Network needs 802.11n router; performance boost is situation-dependent
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