Review: Nearson 7-dBi 2.4 GHz Wireless Antennas

Ed Steele May 4, 2005 Comments Off on Review: Nearson 7-dBi 2.4 GHz Wireless Antennas

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What’s this, drumsticks? Not exactly – Nearson sent us these 7-dBi high gain antennaes awhile ago, and we’ve been using them at the Secret Underground GadgetMadness Headquarters for some time. I’m not sure about you, but I know that when I think of “wireless antennas” the first thing that comes to mind is a bearded guy driving around my neighborhood with a Pringles “Cantenna” connected to his wireless card snooping for open access. Perhaps it should have been an obvious leap for me, but it took me a bit to finally figure it out: anyone can make use of these wireless antennas in their home, office, or secret underground complex and greatly increase their coverage and wireless performance (even for wireless gaming with your Xbox or Playstation 2!)

What’s in the Box?

Two Nearson 7-dBi antennas, 11 inches tall: thin, flexible and articulating (i.e. they bend.) One with SMC connector, the other with TNC connector. (No silca gel packet – damn!)

What’s Good About It?

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SMC & TNC Connectors

What is good about these antenna is that they are far less expensive than a wireless range extender, yet increase your wireless coverage by roughly 30 percent. They are also super simple to install:
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Behold, a Wimpy WET-11 Wireless Gaming Bridge

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Simply Unscrew the Antenna…

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And Screw in the 7-dBI Nearson High Gain Antenna. Not So Wimpy Now!

I immediately noticed that wireless performance was significantly increased using the Nearson antenna on my Linksys WET-11 wireless bridge. I use the WET-11 for wireless gaming on my PS2 and my router is on the far side of the…um…underground base, that’s it. Before installing the Nearson antenna, I would get occasional lost packets and lag. Now the connection is strong, and I don’t get random lag while sniping in SOCOM II. Link quality is improved, my packet loss is eliminated and throughput is much better than it was. (I confirmed this by loading up Netstumbler and measuring signal strength both with and without the Nearson.)
If you plan on enhancing your wireless gear with a Nearson, just make sure that your wireless device has a removable antenna. The Xbox Wireless G Adapter’s antenna does not unscrew. (Commence tears of sorrow and pain.)
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The Xbox Wireless Adapter Has An Un-removeable Antenna

What Could Be Improved?

Two simple suggestions: communication and flair. The people most likely to use these antenna are the hardcore gaming or hardcore wireless crowd, yet like me I am sure most of them have never even considered adding a high gain antenna into the mix. Give us some examples of how to use these (call them “wireless enhancers” for the less technically inclined) and make them flashy and colorful to grab our attention. (Personally, I want one colored brown and shaped like a chicken leg!)

GadgetMadness Verdict: Gets the Job Done, Makes Cats Sleepy Too

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One day, future generations in their stark white robes will mentally travel into the past and wonder why we wanted to bombard ourselves with so much wireless equipment, when networking via telepathy is so much more efficient. Until the day comes where we can browse the web, email, IM and game in our heads using 8002.99T(elepathy), these Nearson antennas are an excellent way to trick out your existing wireless gear without spending a ton of money.
More photos in the Image Gallery: Nearson 7 dbi High Gain Antenna
Click: Nearson Antenna Products Home Page

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