|At a Glance|
|Product||hField Technologies Wi-Fire (HFWFG10)|
|Summary||802.11b/g USB adapter with integrated 10dbi directional antenna|
|Pros||• Easy to install|
• Compact size for easy portability
• Good utility
|Cons||• Awkward to use for on-the-go laptop users|
• You may not see an improvement
You can never be too rich, too thin or have too much wireless range. And while hField Technologies might not be able to help you with the first two, they think they have something to aid in your efforts to extend your WLAN’s reach into those hard-to-reach spots in your home or office. The Wi-Fire is an 802.11b/g USB 2.0 client adapter combined with a 10dBi panel antenna and unique mounting apparatus.
This isn’t the first time that this has been tried (see our review of Hawking’s Hi-Gain Wireless USB adapter), but it’s the first solution I’ve had my hands on that combines a USB 2.0 11g adapter and an antenna of such high gain.
Figure 1 shows the product with the mounting gear stretched out flat. The product shots up above and in Figure 2 should give you an idea of how the gear works to perch the Wi-Fire on a laptop screen.
Figure 1: Wi-Fire closeup
The mounting apparatus has a short and long jaw and is articulated so that the antenna can both swivel and tilt. You mount it to a laptop screen (or any other surface that can be clamped on) by closing the friction-loaded jaws until you’re satisfied that the Wi-Fire will stay put. The jaws are not spring-loaded so as to not pinch your laptop’s LCD screen too tightly.
Figure 2: Wi-Fire on laptop
Even though the surfaces of the jaws are smooth, I would have liked to have seen hField put some sort of soft padding on at least the short jaw that touches the screen. This would perhaps keep Wi-Fire from sliding around when the laptop is moved and provide extra protection against screen scratches. hField includes a retractable Zip-Linq USB cord with the Wi-Fire that you may or may not like. (I ended up liking it…sorta.)