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Have a computer without wireless Internet capabilities (Wi-Fi)? Or perhaps you have a slower Wi-Fi device built into your system, and you're missing out on the higher speeds available today. Newer Technology's MAXPower 802.11n/g/b Wireless USB Stick Adaptor and Extension Cradle is the perfect, affordable solution.
It's easy to set-up the MAXPower USB device. Just plug the USB stick into your computer, or into the Extension Cradle, which plugs into the USB port on your computer. Put the software disc into the CD tray and follow the onscreen prompts to install the proper software. Keep in mind that the disc has drivers for all MAXPower devices, be sure you're installing either the Windows or Mac USB drivers.
I used the Extension Cable mostly because the USB stick can actually get in the way of the other USB port, due to its size. I use only the stick if I am away from home, and surfing with the computer on my lap without my USB mouse plugged in. However, you can set the Extension Cradle anywhere you want to increase your range, especially if you're tethered to the laptop's power cable.
The MAXPower device promises up to 4x the range of 802.11g, and I can attest that it picks up signals from pretty far away. To test, I took my laptop out of my home, and went about a block away. I plugged in the MAXPower and it found my Wi-Fi base station, an Apple AirPort Extreme 802.11n. I was surfing away without any problems, but the speed did drop due to the distance.
The closer you are to your Wi-Fi base station, the faster the connection. But the speed of the base station also comes into factor. The MAXPower supports 802.11 n, g, and b, so you're going to get fast speeds no matter what.
Though I have an AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi card built into my laptop, I enjoy using the MAXPower to achieve faster speeds when I'm somewhere with a public Wi-Fi hub. Also for this review, I was using a Mac Pro 2.8 GHz dual-quad core system (read the review here ) that didn't have an AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi card, so the MAXPower USB stick and Extension Cradle kept me online without having to run a long Ethernet cable to the tower. Find it for only $49.99 at http://newertech.com/products/usb.php.
Heath McKnight is a filmmaker and author who has produced and directed several independent feature and short films, including Hellevator, 9:04 AM and December. He is currently web content manager for doddleNEWS. Heath was also a contributor to VASST's best-selling book, "The FullHD," and has written for TopTenREVIEWS and Videomaker.