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Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201 USB/802.11b Dongle Review

Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201 USB/802.11b Dongle Review - PCSTATS
Price Check: $/£/€
Abstract: Now here's a new idea! For the GN-WLBZ201 Gigabyte has combined two of the most popular USB accessories; memory keys and wireless network adaptors into a single product.
 87% Rating:   
Filed under: Networking Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Gigabyte Jan 26 2004   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Networking > Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201

Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201 USB/802.11b Dongle Review


Now here's a new idea! For the GN-WLBZ201 Gigabyte has combined two of the most popular USB accessories; memory keys and wireless network adaptors into a single product. On one hand this makes a lot of sense.

After all, it's not like the components of either the NIC or the memory key themselves take up much space, and it saves you the hassle both of paying for them separately and of plugging them in separately. Certainly a boon for mobile users. On the other hand, it's an odd combination which may not function as smoothly as a separate network adaptor and memory key would. Read on and we'll tell you why.

The Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201 comes in a small cardboard box, including only the device itself and a CD. Kudos to Gigabyte for resisting the temptation to package the device in one of those bulletproof stamped plastic containers. With the lid on, the GN-WLBZ201 presents a small, attractive silver package resembling a highlighter pen in appearance and weight.

Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201
Includes:

Manual, driver CD.


Along the side is the (mostly useless) security mode switch. A set of six discrete LEDs run along the bottom end of the device. These are arranged in a row of 2 and a row of four respectively. The first two lights indicate the link status (whether the adaptor is connected to a wireless network) and data transmission to and from the device's memory respectively.

The four lights on the second row indicate the strength of the wireless connection from one (lowest) to four. This is an extremely useful feature for a wireless card, as the user can find the best areas for signal strength merely by looking at the card, rather than going through software.

Removing the lid reveals the USB 1.1 connector and one more useful feature. The GN-WLBZ201's USB plug is capable of moving 180 degrees vertically and swiveling 90 degrees to either side. This gives much needed flexibility both in plugging in the device, since it is much bigger than a standard USB memory key, and in using the GN-WLBZ201 as an antenna to obtain better wireless reception. Nice feature.

The CD contains drivers for the wireless adaptor built into the GN-WLBZ201, Windows 98 drivers for the USB memory key (not necessary for 2000 or XP users) and an additional copy of the security software already installed onto the device.

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Contents of Article: Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201
 Pg 1.  — Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201 USB/802.11b Dongle Review
 Pg 2.  Using the GN-WLBZ201 Memory key function
 Pg 3.  Data Security Protection
 Pg 4.  Wireless Benchmarks and Conclusions

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