22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2010
First, the con. It is unwieldy for a dongle. You really benefit from a USB extension cable if you are using this with a laptop.
Now, the pros.
Excellent performance. I installed drivers only (no utility) and let windows manage the device. I get far superior performance two stories up from my basement router than I did with my netbook's built in card. Superb reception as confirmed by a Windows "excellent" five bars vs. two previously, and my DD-WRT router's connection ratings (40 percent vs 17 percent).
As a huge added bonus for power users, it has a replaceable antenna and is ready for your homemade cantenna or a commercial upgrade.
A great value and it runs nice and cool for its power. If you can live with the clunky size, buy it. It is a great mobile adaptor you can easily shift to other PC's and antennas. Though the included antenna works very well.
The best USB network dongle of the 5 I have owned from Belkin, Netgear, Trendnet, and a generic Ralink. When I use inSSIDer or netstumbler, far more networks show up in range. I had issues streaming video on my home network and this solved the problem. It may not be 300M/S but it gives you a solid connection which is more important than rated speed.
46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2010
The hardware itself works great. However, the installation CD comes with Alfa's own utility, RaUI.exe. Using this utility can cause major problems with your system. Basically, once installed, the utility ties up your system resources. It can use up to 90% of your CPU time constantly. This causes the CPU to overheat and shut your system down (power off) without warning. This can result in lost data in other open applications as well as presenting a serious risk to your CPU overheating and getting fried, which could be an expensive repair.
Also, the CD which comes with it has some serious flaws. You can't exit the installation unless the CD is still in the CD drive you are installing it from. You can't even Ctrl-Alt_Del to access the System Manager and end the task unless the CD is still present.
Furthermore, the Auto-Run function of the installation CD has a fatal error. You can't Auto-Run the CD. It will come up with a Windows error if you try to setup using the screen which is presented from an Auto-Run. You can install the driver ok without problems, but you can't install the utility from the screen which gives you that option. You have to open the CD with explorer and click on the setup to run the setup without getting an error.
If you install the utility on the CD your PC will later crash due to the overheating of the CPU. This problem doesn't appear at first, but only after you restart your computer and the utility RaUI.exe is initiated as part of the start-up. At that point it takes over your system resources and causes the 80%+ overhead on your CPU.
My recommendation is that the hardware itself and it's drivers are very good, but the utility is dangerous. Just install the driver, but NOT the utility. Then use the Windows Wireless Network Wizard to install Windows' own utility. Once the drivers are installed, Window's own built in functions can use the hardware and provide all of it's functionality without the problems inherent in the RaUI.exe utility.
The RaUI.exe utility is more user friendly and easier to setup and use than the Windows' built in wizard, but the serious flaw in how it uses so much of your system resources isn't worth the convenience.
Again, the hardware itself, and it's drivers are very good. But the Alfa utility not only sucks, but poses a serious hazard to your system. Get someone who knows what they are doing to help you and install only the drivers from the provided CD but avoid the utility on the CD and use the Windows Wireless Setup Wizard instead to avoid serious problems which could lead to expensive repairs of your computer.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2010
Use it on my brand new macbook pro. The mac 10.6 driver worked.
It did improve the signal but only slightly better than the MBP
Next I tried it on an old PC laptop. It detected more and
stronger signals than the PC laptop build-in.
802.11n support, working Linux and SnowLeopard drivers, easy to carry.
not supporting WPA2 enterprise protocol, plastic structure not very strong
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2011
I just received this today. Fast shipping. Ordered Sunday night, received Thursday morning.
I did a lot of research to find a 802.11N WiFi USB that would work with both Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10 Linux.
This one came the closest. Although there were reviews suggesting that I would have issues on both OS's, they would be resolvable.
Those doubts were wrong. There were no issues on either OS.
I unplugged my old Belkin Basic 802.11n ($35) and plugged this one in. Windows 7 found it and installed the drivers immediately and at once I was able to surf the net at 2-3 times the speed. I verified this with CNET's Speedtest. It showed a 65Mbs connection.
I planned to install Ubuntu on this same box once I found a reliable 802.11n WiFi USB. So, as a test, I booted Ubuntu from CD (64bit version) and voila!
It found the dongle and I connected to my D-Link 802.11n Wireless network using WPA with no problems whatsoever. It showed a 54mbs connection. Surfing was quite quick. I could not test via CNET due to an Adobe Flash Issue that will be resolved when I install the OS on my hard drive. But, it appeared quicker on the same pages that I tested on Windows 7 (which I expected).
So, bottom line, I am extremely satisfied with this purchase.
Update: After using the product for several days, I have discovered a minor inconvenience. If the computer goes to "sleep" due to inactivity, when I "awaken" it then Windows 7 cannot find it. I have tried adjusting the Power management options, including disabling "allow the computer to turn off this device to save power" to no avail. The solution is simple but somewhat inconvenient. I can either shutdown and power back up, or unplug the dongle and re-plug it, at which point Windows 7 finds it immediately and activates it. I did read in one review about a similar issue with Ubuntu but cannot verify at this time.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2010
I can pick up more (and stronger) signals with this device. I had to download a new setup file from the manufacturer's website to install on windows. Works on Ubuntu 9.10 (native driver) with better signals than Linksys. Laptop battery power consumption remained the same using this device compared to the pcmcia card.
Pros: Works with most O/S's, supports various protocols
Cons: Windows driver was not in installation CD.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2010
This adapter works wonderfully, I got all five bars on several networks for the first time ever!
FYI, please do not install the utility program that comes on the CD, it doesn't work very well.
Install the driver only and use the utility that is part of Windows, there is no difference in device functionality.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2010
Installed the unit with generic Win 7 drivers and it worked straightaway with no issues. In fact it showed 9 wireless networks where previously, with the internal wireless adapter only 3 or 4 showed up. However, when I connected to the strongest network (my own, where the wireless router was only 6 feet from the computer) it only connected at 54 mbps.
Downloaded the manufacturer's drivers from the file sharing website, and still had the same issue. It shows up in Device Manager as an 802.11n adapter, however the speed is only 802.11b/g.
For me, the quality of the connection and range are going to be more important than maximum speed, so I'll probably keep the adapter, but at least in my case, it's not performing as advertised.
10/16 Edit: After reviewing my router settings, and bumping off an unknown user who was limiting the network to "g" speeds, I was able to get this dongle to operate at 72mbps on both send & receive. The RALink utility shows its signal level to be in the range of -30 to -45dBm. Still a far cry from the advertised 150mbps, and yes, I have a 300mbps capable router (actually it's a 450mbps unit from Trendnet).
I also tried one of these dongles: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003P7EJ4I/ref=ox_ya_os_product, which is advertised as a 300mbps dongle, and lo & behold, it had the same or very similar chipset as the 1000mw Alfa. When I tried it out, its signal was actually stronger at -22 to -29 dBm, and its network speeds went as high as 144mbps, although I "saw" fewer wireless networks than with the Alfa. However in comparing the "Quality" figures of the networks I did see, they were higher than with the Alfa.
So, I suspect that the Alfa 1000mw dongle has had its sensitivity setting "tweaked" so that it can "see" networks at lower quality levels than other dongles.
Bottomline, it's not a bad product, but it never produced "n" speeds for me, even after some careful tweaking of the router.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2011
I live in the (finished) second level of a garage across the driveway from the house that I'm getting wireless from, so I NEEDED a range extender. My computer's internal would only get low signal (two bars) and would keep dropping the connection. I ordered this product because it seemed to be a good balance between price and quality.
When I started using it, I instantly got better quality signal, the connection never dropped, and I was able to see more networks in range. After a few months, I ordered the 9dbi antenna because I still only got a connection in a small "area of influence" in my living room. The 9dbi did extend my range, but the signal quality stayed at 3 bars.
When I got it, at first I tried to use it without a USB extender, and inevitably I whacked it on a chair armrest. The good news is that I was able to push back together the plastic casing that had come apart and it still worked. However, after using it for 5 months it has now truly broken. I accidentally dropped it (lightly) the other night, and now it isn't working. The annoying blue light is flashing, and the computer recognizes it, but it can't find any networks. After fiddling with it, I have concluded that the connection to the antenna is what has broken. I went to the alfa website for support, but none seems to exist. I suppose I'll just buy a new one and be gentler with it.
Big and bulky (needs to be used with a usb extender)
flashing blue light (fixed easily with black tape)
no ability to contact the company with problems
will only ever show 3 bars of signal (even with 9dbi antenna)
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 24, 2010
To start off, I did not use the drivers that came with the disk so I can't confirm with other reviewers about the faulty CD that comes with it. I usually download the latest drivers from the manufacturer's website anyways. This product was used on a Windows 7 operating system.
The product worked great when I started using it. It was picking up signals stronger than my internal wireless antenna. It even picked up a couple more access points thanb my laptop's internal adapter. Right after that, I attached the 9dBi antenna and the adapter picked twice as many access point than the original antenna.
After a couple of weeks of everyday use, the adapter's signal gradually became worse and worse. It got to the point where my internal wireless antenna would receive a better signal than this adapter. I reinstalled the drivers and the signal was still horrible. Not only did the adapter picked up less bars but it would not pick up all the access points that it orginally did. I tried the adapter on a linux based operating system and the poor signal was consistant.
Along with the degrading of the signal, it would drop the connection to the access point more frequently. The access point I used all the time was no more than 15 feet away with no obstructions between the adapter and the access point.
Another downside to this product is that as soon as you plug this thing into a USB port, a blue light will constantly flash. It doesn't matter if there is any traffic going over the connection or not. The blue light is fairly bright and can get annoying in a dark room.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2010
I needed something a little stronger than the Linksys card that I was currently using. It would drop out occasionally. This little devise has 100% signal strength always and picks up 7 other signals, where the linksys card would only pick up 2.