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mobilenvidia

SparkLAN WUBR-505 USB Wireless ABGN Adaptor

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mobilenvidia

Another product from the great guys at OxfordTEC arrived on my door step.

This parcel arrived in just under a week, real quick, as New Zealand seems to be far from everywhere :)

Great service as each step of the ordering and sending process is sent via email.

Looks

Like previous items sent, the SparkLAN WUBR-505 came in a box many times it's size and packed full of protective fill.

An Elephant could have stood on it and it would not have broken.

Once the box was opened, inside was a pure white USB adaptor.

The model I got gave no clue to who it was made by, just telling us it's Wireless N and 802.11a/b/g/n

The card comes with a protective cover to put over the USB plug, I seem to already misplaced mine, but luckily not really needed :)

There is button on the side of the unit that switches the radio off, a very useful function for planes etc.

A tiny little power/connected LED faces up from within the adaptor shining through a tiny whole but the LED is clearly visible.

Size 82mm(l)x21.8mm(w)x10mm(w), weighing but 15gm it's the size of a USB memory stick

Sparklan_wubr-505_big.jpg

Picture as per website.

sparklan_wubr_505n_white.jpg

Picture as received

Uses

I can for see this being very useful for numerous devices.

Desktop computers needing easy access to Wireless devices.

Notebooks where upgrading to 11n and not wanting to pull the laptop apart.

It's purpose build for high bandwidth applications like VOIP, Data streaming, High definition online TV and gaming plus many others

Any device with a USB port that can take Ralink drivers should be able to use it.

Specifications

Standard - 802.11a/b/g, 802.11n draft2.0

Host Interface - USB 2.0

LED Indicator - Power / Activity

Radio - Antenna 2 Internal Printed Antennas

Operating Frequency

 2.400 ~ 2.484GHz(Subject to Local Regulations)

 5.150 ~ 5.850GHz(Subject to Local Regulations)

Security - 64/128-bit WEP Encryption, WPA, WPA2

Driver - Windows XP/2000/Vista, Linux kernel 2.6

Installing

First, SparkLAN doesn't include drivers or a manual with their products, they come OEM, just the card, this applies to all their products.

This is the way I personally prefer it as Ralink has an excellent website with drivers and Client Utility for various OS's.

SparkLAN also keep a very good driver database but not so for Ralink but no real need as Ralink is one of the only companes that has it's own support.

So while you wait for your purchase to arrive, head on over to Ralink tech page (for which ever OS) and grab the latest driver.

These drivers include a very useful and informative Client Utility that works in WinXP, Vista and Windows 7 (beta) in both x86 and x64 versions (Atheros can't claim this)

Once you have the driver downloaded, plug in the USB adaptor, ignore the "new device found' pop up screen.

The USB adaptor is a little wide and short for Desktops like the IBM Netvista but cannot really fault SparkLAN for IBM's terrible front USB port design.

But USB ports close together may struggle with neighbouring devices also plugged in.

Install the driver/Client Utility.

Once installed you should be greeted with a Client Utility and any nearby WLAN routers.

Press 'Connect' on the router of choice, put in the password/key (auto selects security needed)

You should now see something like this:

sparklan_wubr_505n.jpg

All very simple, the above is at 5m in line of site of the wireless router (Dlink DIR-655)

How well it works

Connecting to router was a breeze, and once connected it will auto login next time it sees the router (ie from sleep or power up)

The Client Utility can be opened by double clicking the Ralink logo in the Notification area.

The picture above shows my signal strength at 94%, compared with the GIGABYTE Aircruiser N300 GN-WS30N I tested here gets 100% in the same spot.

But 94% is very good for a tiny unit with only 2 antennas (build onto the unit) as the MiniPCIe version has 3 external antenna's.

The antenna's are configured as 2T/2R, both receive and transmit at once

I am very impressed with this card as it works just like it's bigger MiniPCI(e) counter parts.

As can be seen it hooks up to my Dlink DIR-655 router at full transmit speed, receive speed will vary with demand (ie go up when the bandwidth rises)

Range

Does surprisingly well in the range test.

Took it to the far side of the house where it's 15m away from router through 2 walls.

Very good reception considering the size of the unit.

Results can be seen below, where I downloaded a 85MB driver file.

Keep in mind I can only surf at just over 3Mbps from my ISP so there are no slow downs at all st this range.

sparklan_wubr_505n_15m.jpg

Pros

Broadcasts/Receives 11n at both 2.4 and 5Ghz, very few USB adaptors do this, may be the only one.

Excellent Client Utility and Ralink Driver support.

Like it's bigger brothers connects to the router really fast.

Tiny device that does everything and rather well.

Easily carted around in a Notebook bag/satchel but don't leave it in machine as it will break the USB port

Support for Windows XP, Vista (Win 7 beta also works), Linux, Mac OS and Intel IXP

OxfordTEC packed this device bullet proof.

Excellent service in all whole process.

Cons

May not fit all USB ports especially any build back into a case, or ports filled with other devices.

Button on USB seems to only turn off radio not turn it back on again (no biggy as Client utility can turn on/off radio as well)

Final thoughts

I can highly recommend this product to any one needing a USB 11n adaptor, it does ABG and N so can be used anywhere.

It works as it should and does it really well.

Ralink have really got a good thing and have done it well with good support, other WIFI companies should take note.

It even worked with another Ralink based card in the machine (but radio off), the Ralink Client Utility will ask which device to control.

At $54.95 not the cheapest card but it does everything and should be hassle free, I think well worth it.

Links

OxfordTEC Homepage

SparkLAN WUBR-505 USB Wireless ABGN Adaptor link

Ralink Homepage

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