With more consumers turning to wireless for their network connectivity, the technology has to keep changing to keep up with expectations.
While we had to put up with the constraints of 802.11g and its relatively miserly maximum throughput of 54Mbps, the next generation of wireless connectivity, 802.11n, has been waiting in the wings.
This new standard promises a maximum throughput of 300Mbps (although expect it to be half that in most practical applications), which means it should be able to stream movies without any hiccups.
However, despite being in the works for several years, the new standard has still not been ratified, meaning that there's a slim chance that the standard could change before its official release.
Although both the router and the card are designed to work with the draft 802.11n specification, they're both software upgradeable. This means that interoperability should be guaranteed once the final specification is ratified.
The PC card is supplied with XP drivers and takes just a few minutes to install. The router can be configured automatically, or manually, but whichever option you choose there's one thing to be aware of. The first time you plug it in to your Internet connection it takes a while to establish a connection with your ISP and retrieve the necessary information needed for automatic configuration.
The change in speed was instantly noticeable, putting our old 54Mbps kit firmly in the shade. The router also seems to cope better with heavy Internet traffic and makes use of a technology called Stream Control to ensure quality of service for online gaming, VoIP and streaming video.
The router has a built-in firewall as well as network address translation, but is also fully configurable for extra security. It enables you to lock down port ranges, set up virtual servers and much more. If you're looking for an upgrade to your existing wireless setup, then you won't go far wrong with these two items.