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The Components

Netblaster II Wireless Hub

This is the heart of this wireless network and as such deserves the spotlight. The unit is surprisingly small but has a nice heft to it. Granted, weight is seldom considered but I feel more comfortable knowing that it isn't made from flimsy materials. In the rear the only connections necesary are for the power supply and for your existing network. If you don't already have an existing network simply hook it up to your cable modem or DSL and you are in business. In my home configurarion I connected it to one of the ports on my router. This offered me the protection of a firewall and the new wireless network coexists seemlessly with my existing wired-in office. On top of looking like a prop from a 50's sci-fi movie, the dual dipole antennas go a long way to producing a very stable network. As a joke I first set it up on top of my monitor and told everybody that it was a TV antenna.

Netblaster II PCI Card

Every network needs a NIC (network interface card) and so I put the most likely solution next in our list of components. I was quite surprised at just how much this NIC resembled a standard network card. What is immediately evident in the picture to the right is the pyramid shaped antenna. The cable that connects the two is nearly five feet long so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a good location for it. I'll cover my installation experiences in a few paragraphs.

Netblaster II PC Card

The fact that the PCMCIA adapter for notebooks is so closely named to the PCI adapter might be a little confusing. I have to agree with Sohoware's logic though: giving the PCMCIA adapter a very unique name may confuse people who should see this network as a complete package. The actual unit shipped to me had a slightly different appearance but didn't stray from the picture at Sohoware's site very much. The 1 inch of card on the right side sticks out past the notebook computer - you guessed it, its the built-in antenna. Now, you may not agree, but I think having wireless networking coupled to a wireless notebook is about the most liberating productivity aid I've come across in a long time.


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