Belkin Pre-N PC Card

The Good Fast; great range; simple setup.

The Bad Pricey; requires MIMO adapter to achieve its full potential.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a PC Card adapter with great range, this is it.

Editors' Rating
  • Setup 7.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 9.0
  • Support 9.0
8.1 Overall

Compare

Belkin Pre-N PC Card
Belkin Pre-N PC Card
SMK-Link USB-C Multi Port Hub
SMK-Link USB-C Multi Port Hub
Proxim Symphony Suite
Proxim Symphony Suite
Netgear RangeMax WN511B adapter
Netgear RangeMax WN511B adapter
Netgear WG111 USB Adapter
Netgear WG111 USB Adapter
Price $5 Amazon.com $74 Amazon.com $100 MSRP $4 Amazon.com $9 Amazon.com
Setup
7
... ...
7
8
Features
8
... ...
7
8
Performance
9
... ...
6
9
Support
9
... ...
5
7

Review

Belkin Pre-N PC Card

Belkin Pre-N PC Card adapter

If you've seen one wireless PC Card adapter, you've seen them all. But that doesn't mean you've used them all. Although Belkin's new Pre-N PC Card looks like other adapters, it harbors a technology that's poised to change Wi-Fi as we know it. Multiple-input multiple-output technology, otherwise known as MIMO, is the secret to this adapter's great performance. The upcoming 802.11n specification, set to replace 802.11g, is also slated to include MIMO, but 802.11n probably won't be officially ratified until 2006. Belkin's new adapter gives you the benefits of 802.11n today, hence its "Pre-N" appellation. Chief among those benefits are its increased range and throughput. Even if you have a wireless adapter built into your laptop, you may want to consider turning it off and plugging in Belkin's card to enjoy MIMO's benefits.

These days, most Wi-Fi adapter installation routines are short and painless, and Belkin's Pre-N PC Card adapter is no exception. You begin by inserting the accompanying CD into your computer. The CD automatically launches a wizard that guides you through a few prompts and ends by asking you to insert the Pre-N PC Card, which initiates the adapter's driver installation. After the drivers are installed, the wizard guides you through the installation of Belkin's Wireless Client Utility, which you can use to manage the Pre-N PC Card adapter.

The Wireless Client Utility lets you scan for available networks; view connection statistics, such as the card's transmit-data rate; and set up individual connection profiles for specific networks you connect to regularly, for example, those at home and work. If you prefer to manage your adapter with the Windows native wireless configuration tool, you can. Belkin's installation wizard prompts you with check boxes that let you choose the tool you want to use. We like Belkin's utility better than Microsoft's because it shows you more granular network traffic statistics and gives you greater control over the adapter's transmit power.

Continue Reading

Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $100
  • Brand Belkin
  • Type Network adapter
  • Data Link Protocol IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n (draft)
  • Form Factor plug-in module
See full specs

Report errors

How To

Cable modem shopping tips

Cable modem shopping tips

Your router isn't as fast as you think it is. Here's why

Your router isn't as fast as you think it is. Here's why

10 tips to get the most out of Google Wifi

10 tips to get the most out of Google Wifi

How to set up Google Wifi

How to set up Google Wifi

How to turn an old Wi-Fi router into an access point

How to turn an old Wi-Fi router into an access point

How to set up, control Family Profiles with an Eero Wi-Fi system

How to set up, control Family Profiles with an Eero Wi-Fi system

10 things to consider when buying a router

10 things to consider when buying a router

The most common Wi-Fi problems and how to fix them

The most common Wi-Fi problems and how to fix them

Maximize your Wi-Fi

Maximize your Wi-Fi

Test your network with Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics

Test your network with Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics

Home networking explained, part 2: Optimizing your Wi-Fi network

Home networking explained, part 2: Optimizing your Wi-Fi network

Latest News