Hardly any laptop computers come without built-in wireless nowadays. However, if yours lacks Wi-Fi, or if you want to quickly upgrade to Wireless-N without something sticking out of the USB port, Trendnet has something to offer you.
The networking vendor announced on Tuesday what it calls the "world's smallest Mini Wireless N USB Adapter," the TEW-648UB. This ultracompact adapter is just slightly larger than a quarter in size, measuring merely 1.3 inches in length.
What's the catch? It's a single-stream adapter, meaning it supports speeds up to only 150Mbps (as opposed to 300Mbps of regular dual-stream Wireless-N devices). Nonetheless, this is still a big upgrade from Wireless-G, which caps at 54Mbps, and you can enjoy the other major benefit of the Wireless-N standard, which is its long range.
Despite its tiny size, according to Trendnet, the TEW-648UB supports One-touch Wi-Fi Protected Setup, which lets the adapter connect to a secure wireless network without you having to type in the encryption key manually. It also offers a Wi-Fi multimedia quality-of-service feature that prioritizes bandwidth based on the content you are using with it, such as video, audio, or gaming traffic.
The new 150Mbps Mini Wireless-N USB adapter works with Windows XP and Vista (both 32-bit and 64-bit) and is available now. Its estimated price is $25.