How to get your Wi-Fi working again
Out with the old, in with the new
I didn't set out to do an exhaustive test of numerous wireless kit makers' products - though a number of well-known names were asked to participate and chose not to submit kit. Instead, I wanted to see what options as well as the as-yet-non-standard 802.11n are open to WLAN users who've hit the limits of standard 802.11g technology.
Clearly, 802.11n is the way to go in the medium term, since it provides not only greater bandwidth than 802.11g but delivers the kind of 802.11g performance that the more advanced 802.11g-only routers and adaptors offer. If you only want wireless networking, it's hard to recommend anything other than 802.11n. If you can wait for dual-band devices to fall in price - not that Apple's AirPort Express is particularly more expensive than single-band kit - it seems prudent to do so for access to the cleaner air the 5GHz band provides.
And if you'd like to wait but need an 802.11g deadlock-buster now, then powerline provides a way to reach dead spots or eliminate them by adding extra access points, though this approach is little cheaper than going for 2.4GHz-only 802.11n.
So much depends on your own circumstances, however. But hopefully at least one of these options will help you solve your Wi-Fi woes.
With 802.11n Draft 2.0 updates for existing next-gen Wi-Fi kit due in the next few months and Wi-Fi Alliance interoperability testing coming soon after, we're now in a position to consider 802.11n as fixed as it can be without the IEEE standards body's stamp of approval. As a result, Register Hardware will begin testing 802.11n products in their own right very shortly.
|Powerline WLAN extenders|
|Netgear WGBX102||14Mbps||£82||Two-unit pack|
|Solwise NET-PL-85PEW||85Mbps||£57.50||Single-unit pack|
|Devolo dLAN AVdesk 200Mbps||200Mbps||£75||HomePlug AV standard, one-unit pack cross-platform software|
|Netgear HDX101||200Mbps||£65||DS2 Opera standard, single-unit pack|
|Solwise PL-200AV||200Mbps||£61||HomePlug AV standard, single-unit pack|
|Netgear WPN824 RangeMax MIMO router||208Mbps||£90||Extra speed only with compatible adaptor|
|Apple Airport Extreme||300Mbps||£119||Dual-band - 2.4GHz and 5GHz|
|Belkin N1 Wireless Router||300Mbps||£90||Single-band - 2.4GHz|
|Belkin N1 Wireless PC Card||300Mbps||£60||Single-band - 2.4GHz|
|Belkin N1 Wireless USB adaptor||300Mbps||£75||Single-band - 2.4GHz|
|Netgear WN511T RangeMax Next PC Card||300Mbps||£80||Single-band - 2.4GHz|
|Netgear W121NT RangeMax Next USB adaptor||300Mbps||£65||Single-band - 2.4GHz|