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WLS 802.11B/G/N PCIE X1 CARD

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WLS 802.11B/G/N PCIE X1 CARD
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Rating: 6/10
With 1 User Reviews
A Good Spellr@NCIX
Rating:

Review Date: 05/08/12
Cons: -signal boost is slight (~10%)-WPA2-PSK AES does not work with Windows 7 64; have to use RALink software-price is hard to justify

Pros: -mostly works-software from RALink is top notch-can get a slight signal boost if antenna location helps
Comment:
Background: I have spent years teaching networking and wireless technology.Bought this due to persistent slow connections and difficulty with finding a card that would work at all with Windows 7 64bit. (Bought three cards when wireless-N first came out which didn't work despite claiming to.) Was hoping that, being quite expensive from a big brand name, and with a clever antenna, it would have high quality software, unusually good connection strength, and excellent support. There was a mixed bag on all three fronts.Software: The stand-alone drivers do not work with Windows 7 if you want to have decent wireless security (i.e. WPA2-PSK). Nor do the ones from Windows Update. They both refuse to recognize a valid PSK. If you don't care about having security so weak that any pre-teen can break it in two minutes, I'm sure the software works fine. This necessitates using RALink's software. I have had extremely bad experiences with OEM software playing nice with Windows, and sought to avoid it, but RALink's software has been excellent. Too bad it took me six hours to give up and try it.Support: HP seems only vaguely aware that they are selling this product. It is almost impossible to find on their site, and they have nothing whatsoever in their support section on it. Finding drivers elsewere was extremely difficult. RALink's site is set up as an OEM site... also hard to work through it, though it's not supposed to be for end-users.Quality: I was hoping, with the extended antenna and solid reviews on the web, that I would get a significant signal boost. In practice, I go from about 55% signal strength with traditional 2db antennae attached in an area surrounded by power cords and blocked by a UPS, to 65% if I position the extended antenna in exactly the right spot on top my desk or on the floor. The connection speed has slightly improved from 48-52 Mbps to 52-65 Mbps. That's not much considering the move from G to N. Unfortunately, the cable to the antenna does not appear to be shielded, which largely defeats the purpose of having it. I'm not sure who would get a significant boost out of this - perhaps if your computer box was surrounded by a lead shield and a 3 ft cable would get you outside of it.Upshot: Paying three times as much for this card brought me from wireless-G to wireless N with only a slight increase in connection speed. This is a step up from the last three cards I bought, which didn't work at all. However, it is hard to justify the huge increase in price just to get an antenna with an unshielded cable extension, unless you have a very unusual environment where that might help. Bang-for-the-buck, I give it 3 stars due to the great software from RALink, which at least is great at letting you know if you've positioned the antenna in the best possible spot.

Product Features

Product Specifications

General Information
Manufacturer:Hewlett-Packard
Manufacturer Part Number:FH971AA
Manufacturer Website Address:www.hp.com
Brand Name:HP
Product Name:Wireless 802.11 b/g/n PCIe Card
Product Type:Wi-Fi Adapter
Technical Information
Wi-Fi Standard:IEEE 802.11n (draft), IEEE 802.11b/g
ISM Band:Yes
ISM Maximum Frequency:2.40 GHz
Wireless Transmission Speed:135 Mbps
Wireless Security:
  • WEP
  • AES
  • TKIP
  • Interfaces/Ports
    Host Interface:PCI Express x1
    Physical Characteristics
    Weight:36.29 g
    Miscellaneous
    Additional Information:

    No. of Antenna Connectors: 2

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