Styling and Design
At the top, behind a grille, there is a LED light that is used to indicate the adapter’s status and, as mentioned previously, at the bottom are the connections. There is a 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port for connecting the adapter to AV devices, as well as a mini-USB connector for providing the adapter with power. If the AV device that you are connecting to has a USB socket, you can power the adapter that way or alternatively you use a provided USB plug. Finally, at the bottom, there is a pin hole for performing a factory reset and the WPS select button.
Once you have done this, the WPS is in process and the LED light turns green for 500ms, then off for 500ms, the amber for 500ms and the off for 500ms continuously. When the WPS process is done, the LED light displays the link rate quality - if the LED is a solid green then the quality of the connection is good, if it is a solid amber then the quality is fair and if it’s a solid red, then the quality is poor.
If your router doesn’t support WPS, then the process is a little more complicated but not too onerous. You will essentially need to install the WNCE3001 on your computer by first disconnecting it from the router and removing any existing Ethernet cable. Then connect the WNCE3001 to your computer using the provided Ethernet cable and attach the other cable to a USB socket to power the adapter. Wait until the LED light is flashing green and then make sure the computer reads the IP address. Open your internet browser and it will automatically take you to the setup page, where you just follow the SmartWizard and connect the WNCE3001 adapter to your router. When this is complete you can disconnect the adapter from your computer and connect it to your Ethernet device. If the device doesn’t have a USB port you can use the provided plug to power the adapter.
The SmartWizard not only allows you to setup the WNCE3001 but it also gives you access to a fairly useful web-based user interface (WUI). You can use this WUI for setup of both the adapter, as well as a static IP address. There is also a very useful page that shows you the current status of the device, including the hardware and firmware versions and the link rate. Finally there are pages for backup settings, firmware updates and some advanced wireless settings.
The LED light at the top of the WNCE3001 adapter indicates a number of different conditions as well as the link rate quality already mentioned. If the LED light is off, the unit is obviously not powered and if the LED light is blinking red, it means the firmware is corrupt. If the LED light is blinking amber, then the system is booting up, has been reset or the firmware is being upgraded. Finally, if the LED light is flashing green then the boot up is complete but no wireless connection has been established.
We connected the WNCE3001 to our wireless network and began running some tests and overall the adapter performed very well. Whilst it can deliver speeds higher than 100 Mbps, it’s worth remembering that the WNCE3001 only has a 10/100 Ethernet port, so its maximum speed will be limited to 100Mbps. To be honest this shouldn’t be a problem because the devices you will be connecting the WNCE3001 to are probably going to be TVs and Blu-ray players that don’t have built-in WiFi. These devices don’t tend to use a lot of bandwidth so 100 Mbps should be more than sufficient. The only exception might be game consoles and especially online gaming, although even then 100 Mbps should be sufficient given most people’s internet speeds. We tried using the adapter on devices in various places around our home environment and never had any problems with the integrity of the connection or the connection speeds. Overall we found the WNCE3001 to be a capable performer and a great choice for anyone looking to connect an older Ethernet device to a wireless network.
- Easy setup
- Effective performance
- Flexible power options
- Quite large, especially with stand
- Connections are on the base
- 10/100 Ethernet Port might prove limiting
Netgear WNCE3001 Wireless Internet Adapter Review
The WNCE3001 wireless adapter is a glossy black wedge shape and quite large when compared to a normal WiFi dongle. It also has its connections on the bottom which seems a strange place to put them and requires the addition of an included stand if you want to use it upright. With the stand attached, the adapter is even bigger at 10cm high, so it isn’t very discrete and due to a lack of mass is a bit unstable. The connections are a 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port, a mini-USB socket, a WPS button and a pin hole for performing a factory reset. At the top under the ventilation grille is a LED status light and the adapter comes with a USB and a Ethernet cable included, both of which are just under a metre in length.
As with a lot of Netgear products, set up of the WNCE3001 wireless adapter is simplicity itself, especially if your router supports WPS (WiFi Protected Setup). It is literally just a case of pressing the WPS button on the adapter and the WPS button on your router and leaving the two to pair up. If your router doesn’t support WPS then the setup is a little more complicated but thanks to the SmartWizard it is still very straightforward. The SmartWizard also provides a useful Web-based User Interface (WUI) that provides details on the status of the adapter, additional set up features and firmware updates.
In terms of specifications the WNCE3001 is a Dual-Band Wireless Internet Adapter that uses the latest 2.4 or 5 GHz standards to deliver the widest working range and uses the IEEE 802.11n v2.0 standard. The adapter can work with any network enabled device with an Ethernet port and it is compatible with Internet Explorer 6.0, Firefox 2.0 or Safari 1.4, or higher, for software configuration. The WNCE3001 performed very well when connected to our wireless network but whilst it can deliver higher speeds than 100 Mbps, it only has a 10/100 Ethernet port, so its maximum speed will obviously be 100Mbps. To be honest this shouldn’t be a problem because the devices you will be connecting probably won’t use a lot of bandwidth. The only exception might be game consoles and especially online gaming, although even then 100 Mbps should be sufficient given most people’s internet speeds. We tried using the adapter on devices in various places around our home environment and never had any problems with the integrity of the connection or the connection speeds.
Overall we found the WNCE3001 wireless adapter to be an easy to set up and capable performer, that makes a great choice for anyone looking to connect an older Ethernet device to a wireless network.
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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