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I was (at least halfway) kidding, of course, but the jest wasn’t far from the truth.
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GWU627 Universal Wi-Fi N Adapter

While shopping for a new toaster recently, I looked at the back of the model my wife seemed to be favoring and said, “It’s not network connected; it’ll be obsolete in a year.”

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If it’s got an ethernet port and is within range of your Wi-Fi network, IOGEAR’s Universal Wi-Fi N Adapter will add a device such as a TV, source component, or even a refrigerator to the network, lickity-split.

I was (at least halfway) kidding, of course, but the jest wasn’t far from the truth. These days it seems that half the effort of setting up any new electronic devices involves network configuration of some sort, whether it be TV, source component, or refrigerator. This is all well and dandy if you have the luxury of ethernet ports accessible in every room of the house, or if the devices you’re installing all have built-in Wi-Fi support or optional dongles. But chances are, you find yourself installing a good number of components without Wi-Fi support, in a good number of homes in which ripping into walls and running Cat-6 cables isn’t an option.

Once again, IOGEAR comes to the rescue with its GWU627 Universal Wi-Fi N Adapter. The packaging for the GWU627 touts its compatibility with Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, TVs, and media PCs, but the long and short of it is this: if it’s got an ethernet port and is within range of your Wi-Fi network, IOGEAR’s Universal Wi-Fi N Adapter will add it to the network, lickity-split.

And I do mean lickity-split. Simply connect the device to a power source (ideally a USB port on the device you’re adding to the network; although, it does come with a USB-to-power adapter in the unlikely event that your device lacks USB), connect the included ethernet cable to your device and the adapter, press the WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button on the home’s router and then on the adapter, et voilà–you’re done.

That’s assuming, of course, that the router in question is WPS enabled. If not, go buy one that is. Seriously. Spend your own money on it if you have to. Because while the GWU627’s instruction manual dedicates but one page to setup with WPS, it takes more than 30 pages to describe the setup procedure for non-WPS wireless routers (with separate, detailed instructions for Windows XP, Vista, and 7, as well as Apple computers).

But let’s say your client is preternaturally attached to his existing wireless router. Say his favorite auntie had left it to him in her will, or Nolan Bushnell himself autographed the thing or something. (Hey, I’m sure you’ve dealt with stranger requests.) It’s still a whole lot quicker to go through what can only be described as the rigmarole of setting up the GWU627 manually than it would be to run a Cat-6 line through the attic and walls and install an RJ-45 outlet right where your device is going to be installed.

Just for giggles–and to prove to myself that it could be done–I decided to set up the adapter manually after testing the WPS setup, and yes, I can tell you it involves a lot of fiddling with IP addresses, a lot of changing under-the-hood settings on whatever computer you’re using, a lot of opening and closing web browsers and control panel windows…and a little bit of profanity. But if you absolutely, positively can’t use a WPS-enabled router, it’s good to know that there are at least other options.

And once the setup is done, the GWU627 Universal Wi-Fi N Adapter just works. It’s as simple as that. I first connected it to my Samsung PN58C8000 plasma, and quickly discovered one of the adapter’s most endearing virtues, besides the easy WPS setup: this thing is itty bitty. It’s way smaller than you would imagine from looking at the stock photography. It’s so small that, with a bit of doublesided tape, you will probably be able to stick it to the back of even the most flush-mounted of TVs without a problem. (On my PN58C8000, the AV and network connections are all located within a recess; the GWU627 fits almost perfectly within that recess, sticking out beyond the main surface of the back of the TV only the merest fraction of an inch.)

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On the back of the author’s Samsung PN58C8000 plasma, the AV and network connections are all located within a recess, so the GWU627 fits almost perfectly within that space.

Also just for the heck of it, I decided to see how well the GWU627 would perform with my OPPO BDP-93 Blu-ray player, which comes with its own USB Wi-Fi adapter, but sits in a corner of the room that I refer to as the “Wi-Fi Black Hole.” For some reason, at that spot I struggle to get 50-percent signal strength with the BDP-93’s adapter, and as a result, Netflix connectivity via Wi-Fi is a frustrating near-impossibility. So I normally keep the player connected to the network via ethernet.

The GWU627 doesn’t give any real indication of signal strength, so I can’t state that, “It boosted my connection from south of 50 percent to a strong 75 percent” or something equally specific. I can, however, tell you that Netflix is usable on the player with the GWU627 in place in a way that it simply isn’t using the player’s own Wi-Fi connectivity.

And because of that, you may want to consider the GWU627 even for devices that are already Wi- Fi capable. It seems to offer better signal strength than a Wi-Fi dongle is capable of, and as long as you’re using a WPS-equipped router, it’s certainly a lot easier to press two buttons than it is to futz around with a remote to dig around onscreen menus and enter wireless passkeys.

866.946.4327 | www.iogear.com

Kudos
IOGEA R’s GWU627 Universal Wi-Fi N Adapter is an incredibly tiny, powerful product that makes it very easy to connect any ethernet-equipped device to a home network.

Concerns
As long as you’re using a WPS-equipped router, there simply aren’t any concerns. Not a one. Otherwise, setup can be a little tricky.

Product Specs
■ Power Consumption: Transmit: <380mA.; Receive: <250mA.
■ USB Specification: USB 2.0
■ Transmission Power: 17 dBm
■ Frequency Band: 2.4GHz ~ 2.483GHz unlicensed ISM band
■ Data Rate: IEEE 802.11n: 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54, 60, 90, 120, 180, 240, 270 and up to 300Mbps
■ Security: 64-bit or 128-bit WEP/WPA TKI P
■ Operating Range: 100 - 400m, depending on surrounding environment
■ Encryption: 64 bit / 128 bit WEP, TKI P, AES
■ Antenna Type: On board chip antenna
■ Dimensions: 2-7/8 x 5/8 x 2 inches (whd)
Unit Wt.: 0.08lbs

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