Reviews

Great Inexpensive WiFi 802.11 b/g/n USB Adapter!!


I am forever losing my wireless adapters. For real. No matter what I do, I always seem to lose them. (#wifi adapters and USB sticks always end up missing) I probably leave them at clients — so if you’re reading this and I left either one at your place of business… PLEASE LET ME KNOW! ūüôā

I had an opportunity to receive this ActionFly #wifi 300 Mini Wireless-N USB for free or deeply discounted in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. I figured I could use an extra one.. you know, until I lose that one too!

First of all, it’s easy to order on Amazon and is delivered quickly. ¬†Easy to open packaging, no struggle. ¬†( i hate packages you cannot open easily!)

The adapter dongle looks a little bigger than some that I’ve seen and it came with a CDROM (mini). ¬†It says to load the drivers BEFORE plugging in the adapter. ¬†So what did I do??? ¬†I stuck it right into my Win10 PC and it worked just fine.

I did a speedtest and it went like this:

WIRELESS ADAPTER: 7ms ping, 9.06Mbps DOWN; 17.43Mbps UP

versus the on-board ETHERNET ADAPTER (wired): 7ms ping; 83.73Mbps DOWN; 82.63Mbps UP

The driver that my PC automatically downloaded (or had pre-installed with Win10) for reference is the Realtek Semiconductor Corp. dated 2/17/2015 Version: 1027.4.1120.2014

This PC is a BEAST – core i5-6600K @ 3.50Ghz with 16GB RAM.

You’ll see why this is important in a minute.

Wireless is always slower…. so that’s to be expected. ¬†So let’s try this on the Windows 8 laptop…

That’s when everything went south. ¬†I plugged it in, it looked like it detected it – came up but didn’t find any wireless networks. ¬†I should have installed the software first. ¬†But I didn’t have a CDROM on this PC. ¬†So I went to the desktop and copied the entire CDROM over to a USB drive. ¬†Then went to the laptop, with the WiFi adapter now removed, and installed the software. ¬†It appeared to work just fine. ¬†I rebooted the PC at the end of the installation process.

After the reboot, I plugged in the WiFi adapter and again Рno wireless networks were shown.  Ugh.

I went into Control Panel> System> Show Hidden Devices

Deleted Realtek RTL8192EU Wireless LAN 802.11n USB 2.0 Network Adapter
Deleted Realtek RTL8192EU Wireless LAN 802.11n USB 2.0 Network Adapter #2

Rebooted. ¬†Plugged it back in – it redetected the Wifi adapter but still didn’t find any wireless networks. ¬†Frustrating!

I decided to perform the magic “System Restore” to 15 minutes ago before I installed the Wifi module and the software just to see if maybe I could go back to square one.

I should also tell you that I am a “PC guru” and half the reason why I did all this was simply to help other people avoid the common mistakes of just thinking “hey, I can just insert this plug in… what’s the worst that can happen?!??!!” ¬†Because if I can’t get it to work… most other people won’t either….

Of course the system restore didn’t go back that far (why, i’m not sure!) ¬†i could restore to before the software was loaded – i did that but the devices were still in control panel> device manager.

When I put in the WiFi Adapter, it says “this device is working properly” and it’s using the Microsoft 1025.1.423.2013 Driver from 7/10/2013 .

I clicked Driver > Update Driver > Browse and then to the Removable Disk (USB Drive) that I had copied the information off the CDROM. ¬† Selected Windows, RTWLANU_Driver, it searched the directory, and said it found and updated the driver. ¬†The response was: “Windows has successfully updated your driver software”. ¬†Clicked Close.

Now under the driver tab, it lists “Realtek Semiconductor Corp.” with a driver date of 1/10/2014 and a version of 1024.9.1219.2013

When I click on the Networks icon at the bottom right of my screen, THEY ARE THERE NOW!!

I hope this helps someone who just installs the WiFi adapter card without installing the software.

I then connected to the wifi network (same one as before) and re-ran the speedtest.

WIRELESS ADAPTER: 7ms ping, 17.15Mbps DOWN; 21.86Mbps UP.
versus the on-board WI-FI ADAPTER that came with the laptop: 10ms ping; 12.94Mbps DOWN; 10.45Mbps UP

This laptop is a Samsung Series 7 ULTRABOOK with a core i5 Processor (for benchmark purposes)

Conclusion: Always install the driver from the CDROM. ¬†If you don’t have a CDROM drive, find one and copy the drivers to a USB stick so you have them. ¬†This is important. ¬† DO NOT PLUG IN THE WIFI ADAPTER UNTIL YOU HAVE THE SOFTWARE INSTALLED. ¬†This is critical to the device working properly. ¬†It seems to outperform the on-board adapter on the laptop I tried it on. ¬†Installation was easy once the software was on the machine.

For $22.99 at Amazon.com with FREE PRIME SHIPPING, that’s a good value.