capsule review

IOGear wireless kit with GWA502 router

At a Glance
  • IOGEAR Iogear GWA502 802.11g Wireless 4 Port Cable/DSL Router

Kit consists of:

IOGear GWA502 router

IOGear GWU513 USB adapter

IOGear GWP512 PC Card adapter

The design of the IOGear router and adapters bears more than a passing resemblance to the Apple iPod, thanks to a stylish white plastic case. Unfortunately, its beauty is only skin-deep; the setup utility is much more awkward than those of the other products we looked at. For instance, we had to dig into the advanced setup for the controls for setting up WPA encryption, and the labeling was not clear. This 802.11g router has what IOGear calls "super-fi" antenna technology; it has both a normal omnidirectional antenna on the outside of the case and a semi-directional patch antenna inside. IOGear claims that this combination allows the user to position the router for optimal coverage, but in our informal tests, coverage was no better than with the other kits. IOGear was also the only company not to offer 24/7 telephone technical support--its 10 hours of weekday and no weekend support was somewhat disappointing.

On the upside, the kit, at $150, was the cheapest of those we tested, and its performance was at the higher end of the speed scale: In our lab tests, it achieved an average throughput of 18.3 mbps, proving that you don't necessarily have to use an enhanced 802.11g mode to get speedy performance.

While the IOGear is cheap and worked well once installed, setup and support were lacking. There are better, easier-to-use choices.

Becky Waring

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At a Glance
  • IOGEAR Iogear GWA502 802.11g Wireless 4 Port Cable/DSL Router

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