The antenna on the
Actiontec wireless PCI adaptor is a point of contention for us because it
doesn't look like it will give that great of a range. The antenna is simply
a small piece of PCB which has been etched in to form an antenna and to which
two lengths of shielded cable are soldered.
In our tests
with Actiontec's WAP, we noticed the signal strength remained very high thoughout the data
transfer tests (as it should being just under five feet away) but signal quality
fluctuated quite often.
The PCI card installs just
as another card does into a free expansion slot. The drivers can be loaded up from
the CD in a mater of moments and that is about
Configuring the wireless adaptors' properties
in WindowsXP is accomplished via the standard windows menus. While these windows are not as nicest
way to do things, they are to the point and relatively trouble
Unlike the SMC USB
adaptor which for some unknown reason gave us a lot of problems during driver installation, Actiontec's USB adaptor
installed in a snatch.
The installation went
quickly and we only had to specify the right WLAN configuration
settings by means of standard windows menus. The USB adaptor hooks up to
a special USB cable which ships with the unit. The USB connector which hooks into the rear
of the USB access point is smaller than the standard USB jack and is more like
the kind you would use to connect a digital camera or MP3 player. The smaller size keeps the overall
thickness of the unit down.
In our tests, the USB adaptor
performed a bit better than the Actiontec PCI card which is a bit surprising as
the reverse was true with the SMC PCI adaptor.