Wi-Fi-Enable Your Devices

Converters make it easy to switch your devices to Wi-Fi.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the November 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Just because your printer, media player or other peripheral didn't come with Wi-Fi doesn't mean it must be forever relegated to the wired world. Wireless Ethernet converters or bridges are the quickest ways to get your peripherals working with Wi-Fi, usually 802.11g. These small, antenna-equipped devices connect to your peripheral's Ethernet port. Instead of being attached to a driver on a PC, they're configured via web browser, giving you the freedom to associate the transmitter with whatever peripheral is convenient for you.

A wireless Ethernet adapter won't break the bank. For example, the Belkin Wireless G Ethernet Bridge F5D7330 runs about $100 (all prices street). The Buffalo AirStation High Power Wireless Ethernet Converter (www.buffalotech.com) incorporates 802.11g and MIMO technology in an under-$70 package.

If you're looking to hook up a multifunction printer, you may not get full functionality when you use a wireless Ethernet adapter. Instead, look into a device like the $95 D-Link RangeBooster G Multifunction Print Server and check to see if it supports your particular printer model. If you don't need the wireless flexibility to place your device wherever you want, some peripherals may be better left hard-wired to your network.

Speak Up

Be heard loud and clear with a portable speakerphone.

When it comes to cell phones, built-in speakerphones can be fickle features. Voice quality isn't always as clear as you would like. This is where upgrading to a portable USB or Bluetooth speakerphone could help. Whether you need better quality for hands-free talking in the car or around a table in the office meeting room, these devices make sense for users whose built-in speakerphones aren't quite up to snuff.

The Mvox MV900 wireless portable speakerphone is a good example of your upgrade options. It offers Bluetooth and USB connectivity and is certified to work with Palm's popular Treo 650 and Treo 700w smartphones. The $130 (all prices street) device features 120 db speaker volume, small-array microphone technology, a visor clip and speaker independent voice dialing. It weighs 2.5 ounces and works with most Bluetooth-equipped phones. The USB port lets it double as a speakerphone for your computer.

Well-known mobilephone headset maker Jabra also has a Bluetooth speakerphone. The $100 Jabra SP500 includes suction cups and visor clips for car use, a pivoting microphone, a digital volume wheel and a mute button. At 6 ounces, it's a bit heftier than the Mvox MV900, but either will add a new level of convenience to your phone conversations.

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