Asus WL-330 access point review: Asus WL-330 access point

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2.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Small and light; inexpensive; dual access point/adapter functionality; tiny AC adapter.

The Bad Supports 802.11b only; lacks WPA encryption; requires router for multiple clients; lacks password protection.

The Bottom Line Small and light, the Asus WL-330 is inexpensive and can create a wireless network anywhere there's a broadband connection, but the device has disappointing range and weak security.

5.7 Overall

Asus WL-330

The Asus WL-330 shrinks a Wi-Fi network setup to the size of a handheld. Easily the smallest and lightest 802.11b access point on the market, the WL-330 can turn a broadband connection into a quickie Wi-Fi network just about anywhere. Unfortunately, the WL-330 has limited range and is weak on security.

About the size of a handheld, the silver, 2.2-ounce WL-330 is smaller than and one-third the weight of Apple's AirPort Express . Even with its tiny AC adapter and short Cat-5 jumper cable packed away inside the included soft travel case, the whole kit weighs 9.2 ounces and can be easily stashed inside a laptop travel case. The box includes a CD bearing software and manuals, a printed quick-start guide, and a USB power cable.

Setup is simple, and the printed guide walks you through the process. A standard setup merely requires you to connect the WL-330 to a broadband source with an Ethernet cable. It takes all of three minutes to get online, and it worked on our first try.

Security is a step behind the rest of the wireless world, with only 64- or 128-bit Wired Equivalent Protection (WEP) encryption. The WL-330 lacks the stronger Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA); updating the unit's firmware to version 2.02 adds passwords to the device. The WL-330 can lock out clients based on MAC address, but it doesn't include a firewall.

Even though it's tiny, the WL-330 can act as either an Ethernet-to-802.11b adapter or as a miniature access point. Plug it into the Ethernet port of a notebook, a game console, or a desktop, flip the switch on the back of the unit to the adapter setting, and adjust the WL-330's network settings via the unit's browser-based configuration tool. You can power the unit with either the AC adapter or the included USB cable.

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