AWUS036NH Alfa Network B/G/N WIRELESS USB 2000mw Ralink RT3070

Alfa Networks has become one of the leading wireless networking manufacturers in the world, producing products that get longer ranges than well-known brands such as Netgear, Linksys, and D-Link. In January of 2010 Alfa launched this product, model AWUS036NH. This is an 802.11n wireless USB adapter with a maximum output power of 2 full watts (that's 2000 mW). You may be familiar with Alfa's AWUS036H model, which is a 1 watt 802.11g adapter. This new model AWUS036NH adds more power and also adds 802.11n compatibility.

This is a single band (2.4 GHz) 802.11n adapter with maximum transfer speeds of 150 megabits per second (Mbps). It uses a different chipset from the AWUS036H, because the chipset in that model is an 802.11g chipset.

Also included in the retail box is the installation software on CD. This should not be confused with Alfa's AWUS050NH which is a dual band 802.11n adapter they launched in 2009. That model did feature dual band compatibility, but was a shorter range adapter. This model, the AWUS036NH is a great option for range whether you are connecting to 802.11g or 802.11n signals. Scroll further down for a comparison vs. the AWUS036H from Alfa.

The AWUS036NH hooks up to any computer that has a USB port and one of the compatible operating systems listed below. It allows you to get a longer range than your existing wireless card. It is perfect for netbooks, laptops, and desktops. It features an external RP-SMA connector which is a must have for RVers or boaters that need a high powered USB Wi-Fi receiver to connect to a high gain outdoor antenna they already own or plan to buy.

  • Compatible with IEEE 802.11n, 802.11b/g/n wireless standards
  • 2.4GHz frequency band, MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output)
  • Complies with Universal Serial Bus Rev. 2.0 specifications
  • High speed transfer TX data rate up to 150 Mbps
  • Supports WPS by S/W
  • Supports wireless data encryption with 64/128-bit WEP, WPA, WPA2, TKIP, AES
  • Wide Range coverage
  • Compliant with FCC Part 15.247 for US, ETS 300 328 for Europe
  • Works with Windows 2000, XP 32/64, Vista 32/64, Windows 7 32/64.

- IEEE 802.11b/g/n standard
- USB 2.0 standard
- Up to 150Mbps for 802.11n connections
- Frequency Range: 2.412~2.483 GHz
- Receive sensitivity 11b: -92dBm, 11g: -76dBm, 11n: -73dBm@HT20, -70dBm@HT40

This AWUS036NH vs. Alfa's popular AWUS036H 802.11g adapter: We have compared this model to the 1-watt AWUS036H adapter from Alfa. This model pulled in more signals than the AWUS036H. However the AWUS036H was getting stronger signals to many of the access points both could detect. Not a great deal stronger, but enough to indicate the AWUS036H 1-watt adapter has a better receive sensitivity for 802.11g networks.

The AWUS036H is only 802.11g standard though, whereas this AWUS036NH is 802.11n standard and can get longer ranges and faster speeds when used with 802.11n standard access points. Because 802.11n is a newer standard, many of the access points around you (in neighborhoods or places you travel) will still be 802.11g. However over the next year, many technology publications indicate that a high number of people and businesses will be upgrading their wireless networks to 802.11n to meet the growing need for faster speeds.

The AWUS036NH will work with these new 802.11n signals as they begin to spring up everywhere, and will work with them better and faster than the AWUS036H and other long range Wi-Fi products on the market today. If you are trying to decide between the AWUS036H and the AWUS036NH, what it boils down to is how you want to use the product. If you plan on using mostly with 802.11g signals and are trying to get the strongest signal strengths, the AWUS036H may be the best option. If you are trying to get the best range, or will be using with 802.11n access points, the AWUS036NH is the best option.

FAQ - some common questions about Alfa AWUS036NH 2000mW USB adapter w/ 5 dBi antenna kit:

Can I manually adjust the output power?

- Output power is controlled internally by the adapter. It is not user adjustable. Though you may find a utility that lets you tinker with that, it is not recommended.

Since this has 2000mW output, it will have the longest range and stronger signals than any other product with lesser power, right?

- Sometimes retailers have a tendency to promote a specific attribute of a product as if it is the only thing that matters. In fact, while higher output is a good thing, it is not the only thing that determines your range and signal strength. Also, the 2000mW number is a maximum number, not a typical operating number. For normal users, output power will not exceed 1000mW let alone get near 2000mW. Some users may expect that because this has 2000mW of max output, this product will have twice the range of Alfa's 1-watt AWUS036H. This is not the case. Please see the paragraph above this FAQ box for a comparison of this item and Alfa's AWUS036H 802.11g product.

How far away can I pick up signals with this?

- For this question there is no exact answer. Wireless range is an imperfect science. The range you get with any adapter will vary markedly depending on the strength and quality of the wireless access point being used, as well as obstacles and interference in the area. Keep in mind that interference can often be invisible. The Alfa is the longest range and most powerful standalone wireless adapter on the market at the time of this writing. Basically, if this kit does not work for you, you will likely need to look into some sort of high gain outdoor setup. If you are trying to pick up signals from far away, and are not sure this will give you enough range, please contact us with details about your situation and we may be able to offer an opinion.

I am planning to upgrade to 802.11n. Is this all I need?

- To take full advantage of longer ranges and faster speeds offered by 802.11n networking, both the router and adapter must be 802.11n standard. You can connect to 802.11g networks with this, but you will not experience the longer ranges and faster speeds of 802.11n networking unless the router is also 802.11n standard. Additionally, for optimal performance your 802.11n router should be set to 802.11n-only mode, and not Mixed G/N mode.


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