You need a PC that’s connected to a wireless router or adapter to be able to configure the ME101, but it’s a very simple procedure. You can give the ME101 a hard IP address or you can allow your router to dynamically assign one to it. But the beauty of the ME101 is that once you’ve got a device attached to it, it’s completely transparent.
Once I connected my PS2 to the ME101, all my router could see was the PS2. I’ve assigned my PS2 a specific IP address to so that I can give it access to specific ports through the firewall, and even when connected via the ME101 the router saw the PS2’s MAC address and assigned the correct IP.
The ME101 is one of those devices that just works, it doesn’t need a big song and dance, or masses of configuration, it just works. Games consoles are an ideal example for what the ME101 can be used for but its uses don’t end there.
You might have a Media Center PC in your living room that you need to connect to the Internet. Of course you could easily install a wireless adapter in it, but it’s just as easy to use the ME101. This way you can install a small hub in your living room and have everything connected to it use the ME101 to get to your router.
The ME101 is very small, measuring only 108 x 62 x 27mm (WxDxH). This makes it easy to place reasonably unobtrusively. It can also be wall mounted if necessary and the antenna can be twisted to point vertically in either configuration.
There are three lights on the front of the unit, one for power, one that indicates a wireless signal and a third that indicates an enabled network when the bridge is successfully doing its job.
At the rear is a single Ethernet port, an input for the supplied DC adapter and a button to restore the factory defaults.
Once it’s all setup, the ME101 just works happily, much like a wireless router. I tried playing various online games with my PS2 using both a wired connection and a wireless one via the ME101. As far as I could tell there was no difference in the performance, with the wireless connection spanning about 150ft with two walls in between.
Obviously, the greater the distance, the more chance you have of the signal strength dropping, but that’s the case with all wireless technology.
The Netgear ME101 is great for anyone who’s got a wireless network setup in their home. It may not be the most exciting product you can buy, but it does exactly what it’s supposed to, and does it well.