The Wi-Fire, from hField Technologies, is a compact, range-extending USB device that enables you to access a wireless Internet connection from up to 1,000 feet away–three times the range of your internal wireless adapter.
The Wi-Fire uses a powerful directional antenna, highly sensitive receiver and proprietary software to find and enhance normal WiFi signals. With it you can connect wirelessly to the Internet faster and with a stronger signal than an internal wireless adapter can achieve. In our house we have always had a ‘dead spot’ where the convergence of poor WiFi reception combined with a number of other electronic devices to make WiFi reception pitifully bad and prone to vanishing altogether. We had been using a Linksys wireless card with an upgraded 9db external antenna with no luck. We also replaced the original router upstairs with a Buffalo 802.11g router that we also reflashed with the more powerful DD-WRT opensource Linux firmware. No luck. No reliable signal. This spot was going to be the Wi-Fire’s Waterloo. It was going down.
Or so we thought.
In reality, the Wi-Fire was more than up to the task. Following the simple instructions we installed the driver software then plugged the Wi-Fire into the USB connector. The driver was found, the hardware was ready to try and find a signal.
It found it. It even gave us four bars out of five. It also found about two dozen other WiFi connections in our neighborhood that we had no idea existed. (thank goodness our neighbors are also intelligent enough to password protect their routers as well)
Okay, we thought, let’s just see it hold that signal without dropping connection. Two weeks later we realized it wasn’t going to lose connection. This gadget is a real winner!
The Wi-Fire draws very little power from itself. It comes complete with everything you need to connect wirelessly to the Internet. Just install the driver software, plug in the Wi-Fire to a USB port and you’re ready to start. It can rest flat on any surface or clip securely to a laptop display or flat screen monitor. We hung ours off the shelf above the computer.
The Wi-Fire Connection Manager reveals all available networks in the area–more than you’ve ever seen without the Wi-Fire. Simply select your network, rotate the Wi-Fire’s 360-degree directional antenna to focus the signal and connect.
The Wi-Fire is what WiFi should be about. Easy to use and reliable when connecting. I was absolutely amazed that it passed our ‘dead spot’ test so easily. It really made all of our previous attempts look like the pitful, underpowered, failures that they were.
If you forced me to find a negative, I’d say the completely adjustable, zip-style cable that connected the Wi-Fire to the computer is off lesser quality than the unit itself. Just a bit.
The Wi-Fire is only $80 and can be found in retail locations or from the manufacturer at www.hfield.com
Rating: Four Bars out of Five
Written by Kermit