Netblaster II Wireless Hub
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
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
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.