Any know problems with the Belkin 54g wireless PCI adapter?
Are ther better buys?
Any know problems with the Belkin 54g wireless PCI adapter?
Are ther better buys?
I just bought and installed a Netgear USB adaptor in my Windows box WG111 v3
It was a cinch to install and get working to link with my BigPond Home Network Gateway for internet access, and then with my Apple iMac for sharing files
I had tried this with a different brand (I've forgotten the name) and had lots of problems both in setting it up and in it dropping out all the time
So. Netgear is a good way to go if you can use USB - I haven't used Belkin, but they are expensive
Are you talking about a PCI wireless card or a USB adapter? " In 54G I have a Belkin PCI card, a Belkin USB adapter, and a cheapie high power" Chinese USB adapter.
The Belkin PCI card is very good provided you install it after the software (or disable the card before installing the software) to avoid problems.
The Belkin USB dadapter is of average power and has no provision for an antenna.
The cheapie Chinese USB adapter has provision for an antenna, and easily outperforms the others by 10-15% better s/n ratio.
USB adapters require more CPU usage from the PC so a PCI card is better for a lower powered PC.
USB adapters can also minimize cable loss issues.
The only adapter I have been able to get full speed out of at 802-11N, is a D-Link Expresscard which consistently gives me 300 mbps from anywhere in the house to a Netgear Rangemax Gigabit Edition router. I never got the equivalent Linksys card to work at all.
This is important when you have networked storage for backup and file sharing.
None of the USB adapters I tried worked at anything close to the advertised speed (270 mbps) because of the limitations of USB itself. They also reduced speed with distance from the router, which the D-Link expresscard didn't.
I also have a PCI to MCMCIA expansion card in my desktop, so I can use all the old laptop cards I have lying around - one of which was a Netgear 802-11N card. Again, for some reason I never got the expected270 mbps but then this machine normally uses gigglebit wired ethernet so I wan't too worried.
There seem to be two chipset suppliers and it's not always clear which you're going to get until you open the box. Both Netgear and D-Link supply version and version 2 models which are supposed to be the same as far as the user is concerned.
One seems to operate consistantly at 300 mugglebits. The other at up to 270, with "up to" being painfully accurate.Weaker antenna reception and generating a weaker signal.
Which IMO is naughty because they don't tell you.
Poor USB performance is more of a problem because I use a USB dongle that gets swapped between several old PCs when I need to use them.
Belkin always struck me as "no name with a label" if you see what I mean. Cheap connectors, cables and mice at Office Max.
Why is it advisable to install the software first?
I was talking about the Wireless PCI Adapter, not USB dongles.
Can I ask where you got it and how it was described?
Because otherwise it can find a generic driver for the same chipset which may or may not provide what you want.
When I was having problems installing a 300 mbps express card because of buggy software, I tried various alternatives including leaving it in, and it picked up a generic Atheros driver at 54 mbps.
FWIW it worked properly when I downloaded the latest software and ran it from the downloads folder instead of the CD. But I still had to remove the card first.
PCMCIA laptop adapter or PCI expansion card in a desktop?
I'd recommend getting the fastest setup you can afford. 54 is OK for stuff off the broadband connection but if you ever want to access data from other PCs it will be too slow and you'll only end up spending more money.
Once you realise what a home network can do for you, you start doing things you never originally imtended. Eg I bought a networked storage box for backups - and then used it to share files between the machines on the network as well.
Which brings up another question. If it's a laptop it's been a long time since they didn't come with wireless already, and these days the come with 54 mbps already installed. Some are even coming out with faster wireless.
With the Belkin it will go into a sort of shunting mode where it continually connects and disconnects or at best gets a very very weak connection.
You must also NOT let windows manage the connection or the same thing will happen.
I see quite a few entries on the web where people have criticised the Belkin adapters, but from the symptoms described it seems they didn't read the instructions, and got the adapter into this major conflict/loop.
The only way to fix it is to completely uninstall the driver, pull or deactivate the card and start again.
The cheapie chinese "hi power" USB dongle was off Ebay and made some slightly outrageous claims about giving 50% better range. It supposedly has 22 dBm transmit power.
It uses a Realtek chipset.
This is not ideal for Linux and the Bekin driver is a better bet if you use Ubuntu or similar.
Here's a picture I took of it.I was very sceptical but it was so cheap there wasn't much to lose.
There seem to be quite a few similar units on Ebay.
I was amazed how much better it performed than the PCI card - with the same biquad antenna or a 5 dBi rubber ducky attached.
I was using the biiquad to connect to a very weak signal through trees about 100 metres away. In wet or windy conditions the PCI card would drop out, but not the Realtek, it just hung in there - albeit with a bit of variation.
In regard to 54G I have a NAS as well and it's damn slow over 54G wifi.
But that's to be expected I suppose.
Thanks for the explanation.
Thats one of the problems with the current state of wireless. Some work with Windows, others need the supplied utility.
I didn't try the Belkin because I was recommended not to get it.
Thanks. I'll check it out.
Some of the name wireless stuff is crap. I think it depends which chipset they use. It doesn't do their reputations much good.
Thats pretty good.
Yes. That's why I use 802-11N. It's still slower than wired gigglebit but it is acceptable. I'm a semi-invalid so I do a lot of work either from in bed or on the sofa under a blanket.
Thanks for answering my question.
Wow, I didn't realize they had a lifetime warranty.
I also have a Belkin wireless router, which I now use as an access point, and it's been faultless and a very strong performer in each mode.
The only reason I went Belkin is because I picked up the wireless router, PCI card and USB adapter for half price off the local store"s "returns" table.
The only Belkin product I ever had trouble with was a dedicated access point (once again off the returns table) which wouldnt respond - I didn't worry about a warranty claim as I really didn't need it, but couldn't help myself, so I returned it to the returns table again and I suppose it's still being returned :-)
I have a belkin USB adapter. The first one was junk, cycling, had to unplug and replug to get it to connect. Then it quit altogether. I put it in a drawer and went back to my DLink802.11b.
I needed another WiFi, and the Belkin annoyed me, so I called support... Lifetime Warranty, and the new one runs just fine with the Belkin drivers and Windows Wireless Zero Management.
I think they had a bad batch.
Rated g, but I have no idea about what the actual speed achieved is - sorry. But for me that wan't an issue as my BigPond Gateway is also rated g - so an N wouldn't be of much use
Am I right in assuming that Belkin adapters are fine providing one installs the software first, and uses their software?.
I note they have a lifetime guarantee.
That's been my experience.
It's not so much the speed of the broadband gateway but the amount of data you want to move around the home network - backup to network storage, file and printer sharing etc. Some of us have gone beyond file sharing to client/server.
USB dongles aren't so good at higher speeds because of the limitations of USB itself. I found speed slowing drastically with N as the load increased. Another poster has pointed out how much CPU is used with USB, which could be part of the problem but N also pushes the transfer rate of the USB interface to the limit.
I've used Netgear and D-Link N USB, and while they've stayed up I never operated at anything close to the rated 270 mbps. The only device I have that works as specified in a D-Link Expresscard that gives me a consistent 300 mbps anywhere in the hose.
My biggest gripe is that the suppliers just say "up to 270mbps" without giving you any help. You're on your own finding all this out the hard way.
Too much stuff from different manuacturers doesn't work properly with each other, and even sometimes from the same one when they use different chip sets.
Microsoft is also a bit flakey in this area and the application developers haven't caught up either.
USB 1.1 is limited to 12Mbits/sec, which will certainly be a problem for 802.11g speeds. However, USB 2.0 is limited to 480MBits/sec, which is considerably faster than the 54Mbits/sec needed for the highest 802.11g speed. 802.11n may be a problem for USB, but I've found that speeds over about 120Mbits/sec very difficult to achieve and then only at fairly close ranges. Therefore, USB 2.0 should not be the limiting factor.
I assume you mean "throughput" and "system load". It shouldn't slow down. If it does, your computah is hurting for horsepower. Please note that if it can do 100Mbit/sec on the ethernet port, without a slow down, then it should also be able to do the same on the USB 2.0 ports. If not, something else is amis, such as a badly written wireless driver.
The limit of USB is about 3 times the best you can do with 802.11n. However, that assume the machine is capable of digesting the data. If the destination for the data is /dev/null, then you have the best of all cases, and it should be no problem. However, if you're viewing an HD MP4 video, the CPU has to divide its time between dealing with the USB port data, and dealing with displaying the movie in real time. If both require the full attention of the CPU, there's going to be visible dropouts (pixelation). It won't be so much the lack of performance on the USB port, as it will be the inability of the CPU to keep up with the video stream. It may look like a 802.11n slowdown, but it's really a video processing problem.
If you wanna do some useful benchmarks, look into iperf and jperf. (tutorial)
These should give you performance data (i.e. throughput) without simultaneously benchmarking a video application, or hard disk speed. For confirmation of my guess, also try USB wireless benchmark, while watching an HD MP4 movie from the local hard disk. I predict you'll see a major slowdown.
Careful there. DLink does something that I consider to be rather devious. They only display the initial connection speed on the status page. You may probably get 300Mbit/sec initial connection, when there's no traffic moving, but as soon as you start downloading, and the errors accumulate, the speed will drop. Most wireless client managers do NOT display the inevitable drop in speed, or at best, when the system slow down and then only after a long delay insuring that the data cannot be used for tuneing. DLink does it even worse, but displaying the initial connection speed, and leaving it there. The bottom line is that you have to do the benchmarking yourself, and usually with a 3rd party application, as the Microsoft diags usually report what the NDIS driver is reporting, which is the same that Dlink uses for its connection manager. Incidentally, sniffing the 802.11 management frames with Netstumbler to get the connection speeds is useless because it would need to sniff 4 different streams simultaneously. Actually, I've never bothered to try it, but am fairly sure sniffing won't work.
Everyone lies, but that's acceptable because nobody listens. It's fully capable of going 270Mbits/sec and can probably be demonstrated in a Greenfield (i.e. perfect) environment or a laboratory. That's about the same as a 150mph automobile, that can easily do 150mph on a straight flat unoccupied road, but might have some difficulties on a city street. Caveat Emptor.
See the data rate chart at:
It would be nice if there were a standard test environment suitable for realistic benchmarking, but not this week. Important parameters, such a room reflectivity, interference, and wall construction are just too difficult to duplicate. So, the manufacturers supply an upper limit. In my limited experience, you'll be luck to *maintain* speeds greater than 54mbits/sec in a "typical" indoor environment.
No kidding. I'll just ignore that the 802.11n specification isn't quite done yet. Also, that there are a growing number of implimentations that claim to be 802.11n. For example:
At least the Wi-Fi Alliance is testing for pre-802.11n standards compliance, which should be a big help.
If you mean WZC (wireless zero config) is a bit flakey, that's an understatement. It's permanently broken and misdesigned in XP. Vista wireless is a huge improvement, but still lacking for things like connection progress indication, error recovery, monitoring, dealing with large numbers of AP's, etc. Maybe Windoze 7 will get it right. In my never humble opinion, Intel Proset 12 is the closest approximation of a useful and functional connection manager and driver. Note that it took many years of constant improvments to make it that way.
Incidentally, I would be interested in your iperf or jperf results if you decide to run them. Email address in signature below.
USB is simplex (ie one direction at a time) and bit serial. So it takes longer to send data that is parallel in the computer out to the adapter and make it parallel again in the adapter, as well as having to keep transitioning between send and receive down the USB interface.
The 480 mbps also has to handle any handshaking protocol between the computer and the adapter.
The express card splats the data out to the adapter in parallel. It's like the difference between counting up to 32 and just saying 32.
This surprised me until I discovered how USB uses up CPU.
I use gigabit Ethernet on the desktop, and the only time I have used wired Ethernet on the laptop was to connect directly to the cable modem.
Wouldn't surprise me though. Most of this stuff is badly written crap because it costs too much to write decent software.
Yet I get far better performance from my D-Link Expresscard, reported by the task manager and the performance monitor. File transfer times also reflect this.
I have no problem dealing keeping up with the video stream unless I've got conflicting security packages. These figures are from the performance monitor.
If anything the current problem area is the Netgear wireless router. If I lose my broadband connection it seems to forget work on the local network while trying to recover. And it's easy to overload it downloading from torrents (which I don't do all that often)I don't often download torrents but when I do
In either case applications lose their connection to files on the networked disk box and don't reconnect when it recovers.
I'll try these.
I run HD MP4 off a shared network disk. No problems at all with the300 mbps express card but stuttering if I use USB.
This is as reported on the task manager and performance monitor. The latter "adds things up" to get what should be a fairly accurate throughput. Although it does have its own overheads.
This is the express card in the laptop.
Oddly enough their USB dongle and the Netgear equivalent report varying speeds in the places you would look for it in.
People do listen though. Especially when they are planning a network.
And the guys in the stores aren't very helpful either.Prime example was the expansion card I put in the desktop to add a PCMCIA socket because of all the old PCMCIA cards from various laptops. "Yes, we sell lots of different cards for laptops, what kind do you want?" "It's an expansion card for a desktop PC so I can use all the old laptop cards we all have". "No such thing".
One of the reasons I chose my router: Netgear claim that when the standard is finalised this will reflected in a (probably just firmware?) upgrade,
I was being diplomatic.
I agree with all of these. Error recovery on the network is particularly bad.
Don't hold your breath. I only got Vista because that's what came with replacement machines after two successive laptop mother board failures and a desktop that fried itself during a heat wave when the air conditioning failed.
I use the machines as tools. Having been a mainframe architecture level hardware professional in my professional life I don't need to be a PC nerd now.
Not being in the best of health it's not always convenient to use the desktop PC so I need to do the same things using the same files from the laptop. Hence the need for a wireless network that operates as the manufacturers advertise.
I don't think any of my adapters use the Intel chip set. I know that when I didn't install properly the D-link came up with a default Atheros driver.
To be honest I'm disappointed how little the manufacturers do to help.
And especially disappointed that they use different chipsets and drivers in adapters that behave differently even though they're sold in the same box with the same labeling.
14 day trial or you pay $70. The lite version will do the basics after the 14 days.
Actually, I find that my speeds are very close to the legal limit (480Mbit/sec) for USB file transfers from a USB attached hard disk. I would expect similar performance with wireless. However, I can't find my numbers, so I'll run a quick test later today.
Permon is quite accurate but not as good as iperf and jperf for benchmarking.
Yep, serial versus parallel again. However, please note that Wi-Fi is inherently a serial protocol, with the added bonus of being half duplex. With streaming video, the half duplex is not as big a hit as you would expect because of the asymmetrical bandwidth. Protocol overhead is what slows thruput down to about half the connection speed.
I'll trust Perfmon not the speeds reported by the connection manager or WZC.
Good. If you can see changes, then the reporting program is probably giving an honest speed indication. However, please note that the connection speed can be different for each direction, and literally for each packet. I don't know if the Netgear connection manager reports an average, peak, or wild guess.
Well, nobody listens to me and I don't do much planning. However, I do quite a bit of damage control, which is a good indication that something is not being planned or calculated. When I start seeing real numbers, test results, and calculations, then I'll know that there's been some planning. I don't see much of that in my work or in this newsgroup.
Prediction: When the standard is eventually released for general consumption, there is going to be a flurry of updates, only some of which will be functional, tested, and stable. My guess is that the problems will take at least 3 firmware updates to nail down. Maybe more if the vendor cares about cross vendor interoperability.
Why? Bashing Microsoft is almost a national sport. Everyone hates them. I still think back in horror at the days before MS, when CP/M was the high fashion operating system. I dread to think of what the world would be like if CP/M had prevailed. MS has certainly had its problems and made some mistakes, but in general, they've done more good than evil. Unfortunately TCP/IP, wireless, networking, and in particular, WZC are areas where MS has done rather badly. I sometimes wonder if whomever wrote the drivers and user interface tools had ever even operated a real wireless network.
Yep. A great example is WZC and WPA. Type in the wrong WPA pass phrase (twice) and WZC will attempt to connect, fail, and not give a clue what's wrong. Worse, it's a rather tricky and non-obvious mess trying to fix the pass phrase. Same problem if you change the WPA pass phrase on the router. Extra credit for the brilliant user interface decision, where double clicking on an SSID in the "view available networks" window, offers to disable automatic connection, which is stupid when the user just want to try again at typing in the right WPA pass phrase.
I have dad news for you. PC's are like quicksand. Once you jump into the muck, you're going to sink deeper and deeper into the technobabble, acronyms, and bug chasing exercises. There's no way you can turn a PC into a real appliance type system (such as a banking ATM machine) and not get involved in the technology.
Get well please. The world need competent computer types.
The justifications for wireless and many and varied. As I previously ranted, there's no way to make a system that works for every possible configuration and use. I mention HD video as the worst case but there are others. Like any technology, leave yourself some headroom and don't run the technology at full throttle all the time. With wireless, all the manufacturers lie to varying degrees. Sometimes, they don't even know the difference between their marketing baloney and reality. If you need a good dose of reality, see Tim Higgins writings on:
It's not easy for them. For example, Netgear is now on its 3rd generation (and I think 3rd chipset supplier) for 802.11n products and the specification hasn't even been finalized. I would not expect support to be up to speed on what appears to be an endless beta test. Also, support does not have the benefits of hands on experience. It's much like reading about wireless from a book. You don't really understand the problems until you've experienced them first hand. For support, just identifying the problems over the phone are difficult mostly because the average caller does not have the appropriate vocabulary to describe the problem (much less describe their own system). Fortunately, about 90% of the problems are simple user or installation errors, which support can usually handle with a scripted troubleshooting tree. Suggestion: reduce your expectations.
Chuckle. Welcome to marketing. There are now 9 different mutations of the Linksys WRT54G, each with radically different guts, but nearly identical packaging. This is mostly to avoid stocking and chargeback issues with dealers. When a company issues a new hardware release, the first thing that happens is that the distributors immediately return all their "old" stock as unsellable. They only can sell the absolute latest. So, the manufacturers respond by making the packages and model numbers nearly indistinguishable. It works.
Pretty painless, too. They asked the standard questions about trying it on a different computer, and loading the proper software, and then they sent a new one out. I had to give a credit card which was never charged, since I returned the old one as soon as the new one arrived.
That's great. Thanks for that bit of Info.
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