Review: Netgear WNCE3001 Wireless Adapter
If you have an older media player, Xbox 360 or PS3, you may not have Wi-Fi access on it. Netgear's Wi-Fi adapter turns your Ethernet-only device into a Wi-Fi one with relatively little effort.
Siobhan Keogh | Thursday, September 27 2012
Product type: Wi-Fi adapter
RRP incl GST: $139
- Connects Ethernet-only devices to Wi-Fi networks
- Quick setup with WPS
- Powered by USB port or mains adapter
The WNCE3001 has trouble streaming 1080p video, but otherwise does the job it sets out to do.
If you have an older media player, Xbox 360 or PS3, it may not support Wi-Fi. Netgear’s Wi-Fi adapter turns your wired Ethernet-only device into a wireless one with relatively little effort, and in the process cleans up cable clutter.
The Netgear WNCE3001 can be plugged into any Ethernet port, but it needs its own power source. Fortunately, the device can be powered by either a mains adapter or USB port. I tested the device using both a PC and an old Xbox 360, and the WNCE3001 could be powered by USB on both.
If your router allows for Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), you don’t even need a PC for the initial setup. Just plug everything in, press the WPS buttons on the adapter and your router, and off you go. On Netgear routers, this feature is called ‘Push2Connect’.
If you don’t have WPS, however, you have to manually attach the adapter to your Wi-Fi network. This is pretty simple – plug the device into the Ethernet and USB ports of your computer, and when you open your web browser you’ll be taken to the setup page. After it’s connected to your network, you can move it around between devices without having to configure anything else.
I ran speed tests with speedtest.net, and found internet speeds were just as good using the adapter as they were using Ethernet – around 16Mb/s down on an Orcon Genius connection in Auckland Central. However, when I streamed 1080p video from my PC to my Xbox 360 through my router, using the WNCE3001 as a wireless adapter for the Xbox, playback was jerky at times. Using Ethernet instead of the adapter, the video played back just fine.
While I wouldn’t buy the Netgear WNCE3001 to plug into a 1080p media player, it is useful for most purposes, and will allow you to unplug that several-metre-long Ethernet cable you’ve got in your living room. If you just want to connect it to your Ethernet-enabled TV or do some wireless gaming on your console, this device does the job with no problems.
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