The Good Significantly improves wireless network performance and range; can be wall-mounted; 24/7 toll-free tech support.
The Bad Fairly expensive.
The Bottom Line The Buffalo omnidirectional antenna is a great way to increase the range of a wireless network, and it's a solid choice for anyone who owns gear with an MMX connector.
|AirStation 2.4 GHz Indoor Directional Antenna||Hawking HBB1 Broadband Booster||Arc Wireless Freedom Blade||Hawking HSB1 Wireless Signal Booster||Kensington WiFi Finder|
|Price||$49 MSRP||$49 MSRP||$49 MSRP||$49 MSRP||$14 Amazon.com|
AirStation 2.4 GHz Indoor Directional Antenna
The Buffalo AirStation WLE-NDR indoor omnidirectional antenna isn't some wimpy little aerial antenna that you plug into the end of your wireless network card. It's an impressive, 6.5-inch desktop antenna designed to increase the range and performance of any 802.11b or 802.11g network card or router that has an MMX connector. In our tests with the Buffalo AirStation 802.11g PC Card, this fully adjustable, omnidirectional unit worked wonders, extending the card's range from 175 to 200 feet and significantly reducing throughput falloff with distance. (Your mileage may vary depending on your location's specific layout and the amount of time you spend adjusting the antenna position.) You can also attach the antenna to the. But is this antenna worth 50 bucks? Indeed, it's a nice upgrade for Buffalo users, but cards such as the Proxim Orinoco 802.11 ComboCard achieve similar range and performance without an external antenna.
As its benchmark, CNET Labs uses NetIQ's Chariot 4.3 software on a console system with clients running NetIQ's 4.4 performance end points. Our throughput results reflect the payload throughput of a network adapter transmitting at varying distances and at an adapter's dynamically chosen fallback rate. This allows you to see both the maximum throughput of a device as well as the decreased throughput you are likely to see with increased range. Throughput can vary widely from the bandwidth speeds that vendors typically advertise and is a much better gauge of what you are likely to experience with a standard file transfer. For more details on how we test networking devices, see the CNET Labs site.
The antenna can be attached to a wall, thanks to a mounting bracket and a reasonably long 4-foot, 9-inch cable. Setup is as easy as screwing the cable into any 2.4GHz product with an MMX connector, with an illustrated quick-setup guide to eliminate all doubt. The two-year warranty includes 24/7, toll-free phone tech support.
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