January 23, 2004

Burney on Wi-Fi Gadgets

Brett Burney, a fellow legal technology guru and gadgeteer, recently reviewed two useful Wi-Fi devices in his latest LLRX column.

First. there's the Kanguru Wireless LAN, a combo device that smartly crams both a Wi-Fi networking card and either a 64 MB or 128 MB USB flash drive into a single USB key fob unit. Granted, it only supports 802.11b and USB 1.1 (i.e., up to 12 Mbps, not USB 2.0's much higher speed). USB 1.1 is fine for 802.11b's top transfer speed, but file transfers to the flash drive should be noticeably slower than via USB 2.0. Still, it's an interesting combo device if your laptop or PC doesn't have built-in Wi-Fi capability.

Of course the drawback is that you lose the Wi-Fi function when you remove the device to transfer files to another PC directly (assuming you can't transfer them wirelessly in the first place). While the combination is innovative, this device seems a bit behind the times. I'd much rather see a USB 2.0-based 802.11g card (backwards-compatible with 802.11b) with a minimum of 256 MB for the flash drive to justify the higher price.

On a brighter note, Brett also reviewed the WiFi Detector from Smart ID Technology. Brett's review on this device mirrors exactly what I heard at the Wisconsin Law & Technology Conference a few months ago from Ross Kodner -- that this device really works well, while the competing unit from Kensington fails miserably at the same task. For $25 to $28 (not incl. S&H), this device is a bargain for helping one find an available Wi-Fi signal on the go.

Topic(s):   Mobile Tech & Gadgets
Posted by Jeff Beard