Belkin Wireless G USB Network Adapter – Why did I buy this thing?

Okay so it was (relatively) cheap but the reviews were, well, mixed. Still I splashed out £9.99 (down from £16.41) as I was buying some stuff from Amazon anyway (this limited my choice a little) and it seemed like a good deal. The horror stories of dropping connections and the like didn't put me off because I'm knowledgeable in these sort of things and I wouldn't fall into their nooby traps. Hah!

I should mention that this is a mission critical system in our house as it's the one that Gemma uses. Any slight degradation in performance is logged and reported to the "service provider" for resolution. Outages are rare but severe penalties result from the inability to access the internet for more than about 3s. SLAs on this system are very tight and any tinkering is done at my own risk...

Anyway, I wanted the perfectly good and functional wireless card in "Gemma's" system (it's actually my system - she was happy to put up with an ancient Gateway relic until recently when I introduced here to broadband and a proper computer) for the media centre PC which has been sans internet for about a year. It gets its weekly dose of updates and TV guide listings by trailing a cable from one side of the room to the other. Not really an ideal state of affairs. My idea was to take the PCI card from "Gemma's" system and move it the media centre (which is short of USB ports) and replace it with a USB adapter.

The adapter turned up on Wednesday. When I unpacked it there was the usual "Stop. Do not plug this in until you've run the setup CD." type warning. I duly followed these instructions and, along with a driver, it installed a Belkin configuration utility and switched off the Windows wireless zero config service. That would have been okay had I been able to get it to work. But no amount of messing about with that config utility (or even disabling it and using Windows to configure the adapter) would allow me to connect.

I uninstalled the Belkin config utility, re-installed the driver and hey presto, Windows was suddenly able to configure the adapter. Great. This had "only" taken me an hour and I was done. Except that, when you switch off the machine and restart, the adapter wont connect to the network. At all. Unless you do a manual repair. But I'm a good Windows admin (I should mention this machine is running XP) and we all run as limited users. We don't have the rights to do a repair (and it's a pretty shoddy approach anyway - I'd get some stick for that from my "customer").

Much hunting around today came up with the following "solution" (I am not the only person who's seeing this behaviour). Download devcon.exe (command line version of device manager) and create a batch file that invokes devcon.exe to manually repair the wireless adapter. Then create a scheduled task to run on startup (should really be logon but that seems to mean creating a task for each user?) that will invoke the batch file. However, because I'm doing this on startup I need to delay the execution for a period. That involves a custom "sleep" utility that I call to delay the execution of the repair. Invoke that from the scheduled task and it sometimes works. It's progress of a sort I suppose...

Euch I feel dirty...

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Comments (6)
  1. stuart says:

    I have this adapter working fine under vista, and it was working on xp before I upgraded. You can find an updated driver on belkin’s web site, can’t remember the version just now, there’s also a updated driver from windows update that may fix your issue.

  2. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    Thanks Stuart. I have the latest driver though (there is only one listed on the Belkin website for my model and it’s version Given that I didn’t even bother checking Windows Update but I’ll double check. Mike

  3. stuart says:

    I think I actually installed a driver for a different model than the one I have and that fixed alot of issues I had at first,(found that suggestion on a message board) I will check what I have installed and get back to you.

  4. stuart says:

    I’ve had best result with the belkin driver dated 11/10/2005 version, it’s not digitally signed.

    the firmware on my adapter is v4.0, alot of people have had problems with earlier v2 and v3 firmware.

    good luck.

  5. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    Unfortunately I have the v3.0 firmware and I can’t see any way to upgrade. Not sure whether the driver is compatible but I’ll have a look thanks. Mike

  6. mark says:

    i dont no why i bought it (maybe the word ‘cheep’ would come into the subject) but it is rubbish the worst thing i have ever bought      but there you go you get what you pay for

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