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Installation and Set-up
Standard installation of the Universal Wi-Fi N adapter is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is connect it to the Ethernet port of whatever you’re trying to add to your wireless network, then provide power by plugging the USB cable into a powered USB port or into a wall outlet using the included A/C adapter. The cables aren’t very long, so if your TV, Blu-ray player, etc. is in a remote area away from any free outlets, you’re going to have to rely on having a free USB port on that or another device nearby that will remain powered on whenever wireless connectivity is needed.
After that, setting it up is easy if your router supports WPS: just press the button on the top of the adapter and you’re golden. However, if your router doesn’t support WPS, like mine, you’ll have to manually configure things. That requires you connect the adapter to a Windows computer with both the Ethernet and USB cables, set a manual IP address, access the built-in utility via the web browser, select which wireless signal to use and provide the password, then switch back to an automatic IP address. Thankfully, the process takes no more than 5 minutes and is detailed for every operating system in the manual. Not to mention, you only have to do it once -- after that, you can plug it in to any other Ethernet port within range of your router and it will connect immediately.
I don’t have a stand-alone Blu-ray player or an internet-enabled TV, but it did work flawlessly on everything I tried it out on, including my Comcast DVR, PlayStation 3, Core i7 gaming rig, older Core 2 Duo PC, and even a 6-year-old laptop. It was kind of a pain to have to configure it manually, but it apparently saves that information on internal memory and will remember your wireless settings even after you unplug it. There are no drivers to install, and it performs just as well as the USB wireless-N adapter I normally use. In fact, the data rate is likely to be limited by your Ethernet port rather than the wireless signal unless you have a newer/premium motherboard or add-in card that supports gigabit transfer speeds. I didn’t experience any drop-outs or lost packets during the solid 24 hours I used it on my primary computer, either. Granted, I live in a small apartment, so the adapter was only about 20 feet away from the router with one wall in between, so your mileage may vary.
All in all, IOGEAR’s Universal Wi-fi N adapter works as advertised and is fairly easy to use. It connects anything with an Ethernet port to your wireless network, which would be a boon for any network-enabled device that isn’t within easy reach of your router. With online retailers selling it for at least about $40, though, it is a bit pricey, even considering the inclusion of the cables and A/C adapter. Nevertheless, it’s not as bad as being gouged by those brand-name wireless adapters, so if you need internet connectivity on that isolated HDTV, Blu-ray player, or standalone printer and don’t want to muck around with 100-foot cables, definitely get this instead. However, if all you’re looking for is a wireless-N adapter for your desktop or laptop computer, there are plenty of USB dongles out there that will do the same thing for half the cost.
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Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
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