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AUKEY Wifi Adapter, 1200Mbps Dual Band USB 3.0 Wireless Adapter with Dual Antenna

AUKEY Wifi Adapter, 1200Mbps Dual Band USB 3.0 Wireless Adapter with Dual Antenna Support for Win 7/8/8.1/10/XP/Vista, MAC OS 10.11/10.10/10.9
Offered by Aukey Direct Price: CDN$ 79.99

Expand your range and do it without a huge investment

(8/10)

This may be the most unusual Wi-Fi adapter you’ve ever seen but it’s also probably got the most range you’ll find in a USB adapter.

The first thing you notice after pulling the adapter body out of the box is how long the two antennas are. They’re easily double the length of most 2.4G/5G antennas that you’ll see on any wireless equipment and this is a good thing. Without getting into all manner of technical specs these antennas have been designed and tuned to greatly expand the area they will work in on both bands.

There are two other important things to note about the antennas, first of all – there are two of them.

~This makes a huge difference when looking to get any kind of range with a good signal quality. Most people mistakenly think that good signal strength is all you need; they’re half right. Just as important is signal quality which as you get further from a signal source gets progressively worse. To overcome this engineers have for many years placed two antennas on items where signal quality is important, this is called diversity. Have you ever seen a wireless microphone receiver? If you have it will most likely have had two antennas. Even spaced out by a few inches, having two antennas can make a huge difference as one antenna may become blocked and the other may still have a clear shot at the router. This is why wireless microphone receives have two antennas, as the person wearing the mic moves around one or the other antenna will be receiving better than the other. Inside the receiver box the electronics take care of making sense of it all. Long story short, two antennas are better than one.

~Second thing is that they are made to articulate, they swivel in various directions so they can adjust for best signal strength, just like the old rabbit ears that used to sit on top of the very old analogue TV’s. Just being able to change the angle on one will often be enough to make a signal useable. Keep this in mind when using this adapter and your faced with a poor signal, move the antennas around.

I attached the adapter to my tablet and went for a walk-about to see how the coverage compared to the built-in Wi-Fi adapter. The Aukey adapter provided close to double the effective range that my tablet got without it.

Speed on this is more than you’ll ever need if all your doing is working online. A typical internet connection will have slower speeds than that of your router and this adapter. This means that you won’t be lagging when going online. If you are its most likely not the adapters fault, you will probably be experiencing a slow internet connection. That said, try changing the angle on the antennas. Where you may see a slowdown is if you have a gigabit network at home or at the office and regularly transfer large files. Here’s where I ran into a problem. The transfer of large files would hang up, literally come to a stop. The interruptions would last for 45 seconds to over a minute. Transferring an 8GB file was impossible as the hang ups were so numerous that it became impossible to get the file transferred in any time that could be considered reasonable. Transferring smaller files such as documents or video clips went without a hitch but transfer speed varied greatly, between 60MBs to as little as 2KB/s

That said, streaming video through Netflix or from a local server was smooth, no interruptions.

The MEDIATEK application is easy to set up but it looks like a blast from the past. It provides information on the adapters connection and transfer speeds. It can also hold access information for a number of different Wi-Fi connections.

The manual states that the driver should be installed before connecting the adapter. I found that Windows 10 was able to identify and set up the adapter without the driver installation. The application does provide the option to either provide the router password (PIN) or use the routers and adapters WPS button. Either way connecting to a router using the application is fairly simple. The manual walks you through the set up.

The application also allows you to quickly set up an access point or use it as an access point as well as operate in client mode. These items are accessed by right clicking on the task bar application icon.

One thing about buying Aukey equipment, they have an excellent warranty, 24 months. I’ve also had the opportunity to contact their customer service and have found them to be very helpful and quick to respond.

~Excellent range, far exceeds other adapters I’ve used
~Dual antennas provide diversity which means a better connection when signal quality is poor
~Antennas articulate to allow for tuning then to provide the best reception
~Easy to install application to configure and connect the adapter to your router
~The included USB cable is 39 inches long allowing you to locate the adapter so that it has the best reception
~The adapter comes with a mini CD for installing the drivers and application
~Good bandwidth allows for easy streaming of video and backing up smaller files
~After running and streaming video the adapter was only slightly warm

Snags:
~Transferring large files is difficult

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