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Selecting a Draft 802.11n Wireless Adapter

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dnguyen800

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I had a few questions about wireless N NICs only. I plan on getting a D-Link 655 router in the future, so I want to know the best PCI and Cardbus wireless N cards out there.

Does brand matter? What do I need to look out for when I buy an NIC? How do I know if a product is truly draft-N certified (look for the B,G,N certified logo)? Is it easy to tell if an NIC is singlestream or not?
 
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I had a few questions about wireless N NICs only. I plan on getting a D-Link 655 router in the future, so I want to know the best PCI and Cardbus wireless N cards out there.
You have some good questions. Let's take them one at time.

Does brand matter?
Yes and no. Lesser-known brands can be as good as the more well-known companies. But drivers and utilities can be more basic and updates infrequent. However, buying from Cisco, NETGEAR, etc. doesn't guarantee frequent updates for a product.

What do I need to look out for when I buy an NIC?
First, ignore any performance claims from the manufacturer. Most are useless anyway, since they are vaguely worded and offer no performance guarantees.
The only thing is to make sure that the adapters you are considering are Wi-Fi Certified for draft 802.11n. With single-stream products, manufacturers are getting very tricky with Certifications and marketing. The only way to know for sure is to check the Wi-Fi Alliance's Certification database.

How do I know if a product is truly draft-N certified (look for the B,G,N certified logo)?
Manufacturers don't always put the Cert logo on the box and if/when they do, it is usually very small. Check the Wi-Fi Alliance Certification database. They have a handy draft 802.11n filter link. But you may have to hunt a bit, since the product names and numbers aren't always in the description and you may have to check the certificate itself.

Is it easy to tell if an NIC is singlestream or not?
Right now, yes, because they can't be draft 11n certified. They can be certified for 802.11b/g, so if you can't find an adapter's 11n certification, look for it in 11b/g. Most manufacturers (except for Cisco / Linksys) are now also including "150" in product names to indicate use of single-stream N technology.
 

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