Thursday, November 8, 2012

Netgear WNCE2001 Universal WiFi Adapter Review

On a personal note a few days ago, I decided to order an Ethernet bridge for my laptop, which does not have the best compatibility with Ubuntu -- specifically with the WiFi. Ubuntu has good Atheros drivers, but apparently they do not work so well with my specific card. So I decided to purchase the Netgear WNCE2001 Universal WiFi Adapter. It didn't really cost that much money to me, and I had standard shipping. Shipped a few days later. All pictures were taken on my phone -- so I can't help the image quality that much.

Unboxing the package was easy. The tape was a paper Amazon tape. I forgot to take shots during the unboxing, so here is the unboxed box with the actual bridge box on top of the air protection packaging.
The device itself is very small, just a bit bigger then a credit card. Makes all of the packaging look big, right? On the back of the device you get a WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) button, an ethernet port, and the power port where you connect power to the device via USB or a power adapter.

In the box, here is what I got:
  1. Ethernet Bridge Unit
  2. USB Power Cord
  3. AC/DC adapter power cord
  4. paperwork
  5. ethernet cable

The setup of the ethernet bridge is very easy. You do have a manual, but really it is just a folded up piece of paper. What you need to do is connect your computer to the provided ethernet cable, and power the unit via a USB cable or a dedicated AC -> DC adapter. You need to navigate to the gateway IP via your network manager, but you can also visit which will serve you your router settings. When you visit that page, you'll be taken though the setup wizard. It will scan your local WiFi networks, and then give you a list of items to choose, or you can check a box to manually enter network settings, such as if your network's SSID is hidden. When you check the box and click continue, you will be prompted for the routers security info if it has security. You should be able to connect with no issue.

When you are done, you should have all green lights lit.

Speed with this ethernet modem is the same. Of course your connection can fluctuate, but from what I have tested the speed using the ethernet bridge is not noticeably changed from just using your wireless network adapter.

Heat produced by the device is not a serious issue, but the device can get a bit warm. I'm not sure if you should keep it on all the time, but I'm just putting the warning out there. So far I have not had the device overheat on me. Keep in mind that you should not block the ventilation holes. My best advice is to leave it somewhere out in the open where it can receive air. This device does not come with any type of fan.

The Verdict
My ruling is that this device is excellent. It delivers what it is supposed to do, and doesn't present much problems at all. If you have a router that is "twitchy", then you might have to fiddle with the adapter a bit to get it to connect, but it is the router really that presents the problem and not the ethernet bridge itself.

If you have some questions that I didn't really answer in the article, then let me know in the comments below and I'll be happy to answer.