Wider-Fi

Wi-Fi is certainly one of buzzier hyphenated words I hear each week, and while my experiences have generally been positive, seldom are they jaw-dropping either. That all changed earlier this month when the team from Belkin Corp. demonstrated their newest products, the Wireless Pre-N Router (F5D8230-4, $179.99) and Wireless Pre-N Notebook Network Card (F5D8010, $129.99). "Pre-N" means that these products are arriving in advance of the upcoming 802.11n standard, but are Wi-Fi certified under the 802.11g standard and are intended to perform closer to the theoretical levels promised in Wi-Fi literature.

Using either the router or network card individually will likely yield some improvement, but optimally you will want Pre-N gear on both ends. The secret lies in Airgo's True MIMO ("Multiple Input Multiple Output," three "smart" antennas, transmitting multiple signal on each antenna) technology, which yields a powerful wireless connection over a larger area while still providing ample bandwidth and quality of service to reliably stream video for example, a demanding application.

Or so they said: Would True MIMO be enough to overcome the interference of the 124 wireless networks we detected outside the window of our 16th Floor hotel room in midtown Manhattan? One of my hosts brought a laptop down to the ground floor and outside and successfully managed to stream video from the street up to the suite, with perfectly synched sound and nary an interruption in the playback, in suitable quality for watching on a big screen TV, even over the great distance. In short, the Belkin gear worked, far better than my expectations of any Wi-Fi gear thus far.

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