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DWL-G650 AirPlus Xtreme G Wireless CardBus Adapter review: DWL-G650 AirPlus Xtreme G Wireless CardBus Adapter

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The Good Easy setup; three-year warranty; inexpensive.

The Bad Performance degrades in mixed-mode environment.

The Bottom Line The simple and affordable DWL-G650 offers easy installation and great support, but its erratic performance makes it hard to recommend.

7.4 Overall

Review summary

Editors' note:
D-Link has released a firmware upgrade that significantly improves the performance of this product. Unfortunately, the D-Link DWL-G650 comes in multiple revisions, and the upgrade is not available for earlier revisions of the product. If the D-Link DWL-G650 you own has H/W:B1 or H/W:B2 on the back label, we recommend that you download the latest firmware from D-Link's site in order to take advantage of its performance enhancements. (October 24, 2003)

The D-Link DWL-G650 AirPlus Xtreme G wireless cardbus adapter comes in a simple package that includes a colorfully illustrated, intuitive quick-installation guide and a software CD. The extensive guide makes setup a breeze, but it may actually contain too much information. The DWL-G650 works with Windows 98 SE or later and requires one available Type II PC Card slot on your notebook.

You can use Window XP's built-in configuration utility to set up the DWL-G650 or use the included software. The D-Link utility provides information on your connection status and lets you view signal strength and transmission statistics in graphical form. You can also create network profiles and enable 64- or 128-bit WEP encryption. (Support for 802.1x authentication and the more secure Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) will be available as a firmware upgrade later this spring.) If you need more help, the CD contains an electronic version of the manual as a PDF file.

CNET Labs' tested the DWL-G650 using the DI-624 AirPlus Xtreme G wireless router and got fairly poor results. The card delivered just 11.1Mbps of throughput in an 802.11g-only network. When we tested the card in a mixed network (802.11b and 802.11g), the D-Link operated at only 5.2Mbps, just a bit faster than the speed of a typical 802.11b card.

D-Link backs the DWL-G650 with a generous three-year warranty and 24/7, toll-free phone support. The company's Web site offers firmware updates, drivers, manuals, and FAQs.

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