Laptop users frustrated with poor Wi-Fi reception, but without money to spend on expensive upgrades, might be interested in Buffalo Technology's new range-boosting adaptor.
Despite its awkward-sounding name, the company claims the Wireless-G High Gain Omni Directional USB 2.0 adaptor can double useful range compared to a conventional 802.11g Wi-Fi card, thanks to its integrated antenna design.
Despite using the older 54Mbps technology, the adaptor is an interesting approach to the problems faced by wireless users when working on the road. The antenna itself sits inside a plastic housing and attaches to the back of a laptop using two suction cups. A cable from the box then extends to a nearby USB 2.0 port.
The big advantage of this sort of product is probably its cost, retailing for an estimated street price of £28 inc VAT. Since it uses the cheaper and commodity 802.11g chipsets, this puts the price well under that for one of rival extended-range pre-standard 802.11n or MIMO adaptors. The disadvantage is the need to carry around and look after an adaptor that is 22 cm long x 2.5cm wide.
"Weak signals from built-in wireless adapters and distances from access points are causing users to experience problems with reception, which can be highly frustrating," said Buffalo's Gerardine Lynch.
"The Buffalo Wireless-G High Gain Omni Directional adaptor has been designed to keep pace with wireless advancements by providing users with an easy and convenient way to get better coverage immediately."
The adaptor supports WPA-PSK client security (AES encryption) and the out-of-date WEP, and features the company's proprietary client security setup system, AOSS.