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Game Adapter
Wednesday, 02 May 2007

I previously showed you my IDE disk caddy, which is a standard PC part that's really useful for the 914. Here's another device I've just got hold of that some of you might like to consider.

I've had a few issues in the past with the wireless USB adapter attached to my Bot. If you just leave it attached to one USB socket and never mess with it, then of course it works as well as if it were attached to any PC. However, I wanted to use software bridging to support IP web cams and I also use a variety of operating systems. I found some issues with reliability and so I was always having so plug and monitor and keyboard in to see what was wrong - normally with the Windows wireless network settings.

The device I have used instead is marketed as a Wireless Game Adapter, although it will allow any device with wired ethernet to be connected to a wireless network - it's basically a wireless bridge. I used a Netgear product but they are also made by Linksys and several other companies. The device itself contains the wireless settings and deals with the wireless connection, allowing whatever you plug into it just to attach to it's wired network point as if it were any other network. I've found this to be rock solid in terms of reliability so far. Check out the pictures below, click on the them for bigger versions, or check them all out in the Image Gallery.


Here's the Netgear WGE111 Wireless Game Adapter, it has a switch on the back that allows to you manually choose ad-hoc mode (peer-to-peer) or infrastructure mode (using an access point). This means that normally I can have the Bot attach to my access point at home, but if I take it somewhere else I can connect straight to it from a laptop without having to reconfigure the Bot to attach to someone else's access point or touch the operating system's wireless settings.


The WGE111 is little bigger than the original Linksys USB adapter, it does require an external 5V power supply as it is not a USB device, but this voltage can easily be sourced from one of the Bot's M2-ATX PSUs.


I made up this special lead that takes 5V from a drive bay connector to power the WGE111.


The device is installed under the head plastics, the green cable goes straight to the on-board network adapter of the mini-itx board.

  Here's the WGE111 with it's lights on saying it's all happy and communicating. It uses a web based utility to configure the wireless settings which can be accessed from either the Bot itself, or anywhere on the network once it's connected.

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