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Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201 USB/802.11b Dongle Review

Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201 USB/802.11b Dongle Review - PCSTATS
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

Data Security Protection

More interestingly, the GN-WLBZ201 will actually format the data partition if an incorrect password is entered more than 6 times straight, destroying all data on the key.

This also removes the password protection, meaning that you can use the device again if you forgot the password, but also meaning that anyone who finds your lost key can easily erase and re-use it just by entering bad passwords, reducing your likelihood of getting it back. At least you won't have your data stolen.

We ran into a few oddities while using the key with the security features enabled on one of our windows 2000 Professional systems. Access to the 'b:' drive containing the password utility was no longer available in the 'normal' mode, essentially meaning that you would have to insert the key in 'security' mode, disable the password protection, then remove and re-insert the key in 'regular' mode again in order to access your files.

Turns out that this is because pre-service pack 3, Windows 2000 can only support a single USB memory space, and since the GN-WLBZ201 is actually partitioned into two separate spaces, this counts as two drives. The workaround that Gigabyte offers in the manual is to insert the key in 'security' mode and copy the security program (UDP.EXE) to your desktop, then remove and re-insert in 'regular' mode. You can then use the security program from your desktop to gain access to your data. Not a big deal.

Wireless NIC function

As a wireless network card, the GN-WLBZ201 functions very well. Installation consisted of loading the drivers from the CD, then plugging in the device itself and confirming the drivers. After that, it picked up our test router (an SMC Barricade) just fine and we were off and surfing.

It's worth noting that while the GN-WLBZ201 received just about equivalent signal strength to the PCMCIA SMC wireless network adaptor, the position of the 'antenna' (the body of the device) made a HUGE difference. Straight up seems to be the way to go…

The software provided with the wireless NIC drivers is Gigabyte's wireless LAN monitor suite, which was pretty straight forward to use and similar in terms of options to any other wireless network adaptor software that we've seen, with one annoying glitch.

When setting the Gigabyte GN-WLBZ201 to use WEP encryption with a preshared key, there is no way to enter the actual 'friendly' preshared key into the interface. Instead you must enter hexadecimal values, which you can gain from your access point when you set up the encryption manually.

This proved extremely frustrating to do, requiring that the software (and in one case, the system) be restarted. This would certainly put off anyone not well acquainted with wireless security.

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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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