Sure, a USB adapter such as the Linksys WUSB12 would be easier to install--the MN-730 requires opening up your PC--but not everyone has a free USB port, and other people may prefer to use an available PCI slot and leave their USB port free. To Microsoft's credit, the software and the documentation for the MN-730 make the process impressively painless. When you run the Setup Wizard on the included CD, it gathers the necessary information before you install the adapter, then it configures Windows networking on your PC once the adapter is in place. The Setup Wizard also installs the Broadband Network Utility for configuring the adapter once you've installed it, a straightforward process, although Windows XP users can use their OS's Wireless Zero Configuration service instead. Possibly the most daunting step--opening the PC and locating a free PCI slot--is covered thoroughly in the included Start Here booklet. Microsoft also gives you a detailed printed user guide with complete installation instructions, a wireless networking primer, and a lengthy FAQ.
We did uncover a bug in the Setup Wizard software that prevented the application from completing normally when we attempted to use a workgroup name that contained a period. Microsoft tech support worked quickly to determine the cause and promised a fix in a future release.
|The MN-730's antenna is removable and can be replaced with a directional antenna for increased range.|
The MN-730 provides the latest security options to keep your network safe. It works with 64-bit and 128-bit WEP security and automatically distinguishes between hexadecimal and ASCII strings. This can make configuring WEP a lot easier, especially if your network consists of equipment from multiple vendors. The MN-730 also supports WPA. If you want to connect to an open access point with neither WEP nor WPA enabled, the Broadband Network Utility warns you and requires you to verify the connection with a check box.