Amped Wireless has a Wi-Fi adapter built specifically for Windows 8 notebooks, ultrabooks, and tablets. It’s designed to clip onto your computer and give you better throughput and range over a Windows 8 client’s native Wi-Fi adapter. No, it does not work with Windows RT. Also, according to testing, it has negligible performance impact at distances less than 30 feet over those device’s native adapters. For weak signals, no matter what operating system you use, Amped Wireless’s excellent High Power Wireless-N 600mW Gigabit Dual Band Range Extender (Repeater) SR20000G, which can be used to extend a wireless signal, is a better option for whole home coverage (although it is designed to be an extender, whereas TAN1 is designed to give better performance).
The TAN1 is a small horizontal wireless adapter that clips to your device’s monitor. It’s a bit smaller than a ballpoint pen, measuring .4 by 4.5 by .6 inches (HWD). It may be small, but it’s not cheap, at a list price of $59.99. The adapter only supports the single 2.4 GHz band—it does not operate at 5GHz. TAN1 also supports WEP and WPA/WPA2.
The device houses two 2dBi high-gain antennas and provides up to 300 Mbps theoretical data rate. It connects to a wireless client’s USB 2.0 port and will work on either 32- or 64-bit Windows 8.
Included in the TAN1′s packaging are a USB cable, setup guide, and a mounting clip. The adapter has two notches which fit into two grooves on the mount and then the whole thing clips to a monitor. It’s not the sturdiest setup—anytime I moved my Windows 8 laptop, the clip and adapter fell off.
Setup is effortless. Simple clip the adapter to your screen, connect the USB cable, and Windows 8 will install the software automatically. The operating system displays the TAN1 in network adapter settings as a Realtek RTL8191SU Wireless LAN 802.11n USB network adapter.
The purpose of the TAN1 is to provide up to three times the range of your Windows 8 client’s wireless adapter. Unfortunately, I find that claim inaccurate in my testing. In fact, the throughput of the TAN1 was less at short range than the throughput of an Acer Aspire M Ultrabook running Windows 8 with a robust Qualcomm Atheros AR5BWB222 wireless network adapter.
I didn’t witness any TAN1 benefits until I got to a distance of 50 feet or more from my wireless router. At 50 feet, the Acer’s throughput petered out until I had no wireless signal, while the TAN1 sustained signal. I tested throughput using Ixia’s IxChariot and a bidirectional throughput script that threw a data stream between the Acer Aspre and a Dell Latitude E5430 that I had connected to the same router via Gigabit Ethernet. I first ran the script with the Acer wirelessly connected to my router with the Qualcomm adapter and then using the TAN1. The router used in testing was the Trendnet AC1750 Dual Band Wireless Router (TEW-812DRU):
Acer native adapter:
5 feet from router: 55 Mbps
10 feet: 57 Mbps
30 feet: 26 Mbps
50 feet: started at 25 Mbps and then signal went to zero and dropped
5 feet from the router: 38 Mbps
10 feet: 36 Mbps
30 feet: 36 Mbps
50 feet: 22 Mbps and sustained throughput
TAN1, OK But Booster Better
You can see from the numbers above, TAN1 is better for greater distances. At close range, it actually performed worse than my client’s native adapter. If you have a weak signal, Amped Wireless’ High Power Wireless-N 600mW Gigabit Dual Band Range Extender (Repeater) SR20000G is a better (although more expensive option) or look to D-Link’s Wireless N300 Range Extender DAP-1320, which is about ten buck cheaper and is our Editors’ Choice for wireless signal boosters. The Amped Wireless High Power Wi-Fi Adapter for Windows 8 (TAN1) earns three out of five stars for its easy setup and its ability to sustain throughput at range.
|Device Type||Wireless USB Adapter|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc