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NetGear ME101 Wireless Ethernet bridge review: NetGear ME101 Wireless Ethernet bridge

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We were also disappointed that the Ethernet port requires a network crossover cable (one is included in the box) to connect to your PC or game box if you are not using a network hub or switch. We would have preferred an autosensing MDI/MDI-X Ethernet port so that standard straight-through cables would work with it. Additionally, with no automatic upgrade utility, users have to download all software and firmware updates manually from the Netgear Web site and install them using the ME101 Configuration Utility.

The ME101 provides decent performance compared to that of other 802.11b devices, with a maximum throughput of 5.2Mbps. This is adequate for Internet sharing, but users who are thirsty for more speed should seek devices that offer 802.11g support and 100Mbps Ethernet ports, such as the Linksys WET54G Wireless-G Ethernet bridge or the Buffalo AirStation WLA-G54 wireless bridge.

We were pleased to see that, boosted by its external rotating antenna, the ME101 performs better than average over distance. Our tests show that the ME101 provides near-peak performance out to 100 feet and doesn't drop off completely until close to 175 feet. This performance is on a par with that of the Sony PCWA-DE30 wireless Ethernet converter.

CNET Labs throughput tests  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Distance in feet  
Linksys WET54G
Sony DE30
Netgear ME101

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Netgear offers a solid three-year warranty along with lifetime 24/7 toll-free phone support for the ME101. The Web site contains product updates and documentation downloads (we recommend downloading the updated firmware immediately to take advantage of DHCP), along with a useful, searchable knowledge base and contact information for e-mailing or calling technical support. Also, after installing some free downloadable software, registered Netgear customers have access to an online-learning tool, called Mentor.

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