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ZyXEL Wi-Fi Finder And Adapter

ZyXEL's device sinks the Hotspotter and torpedoes the hard-to-use Hawking Technology Wi-Fi Locator Professional Edition, which I previously reviewed.

The ZyXEL has a small but highly readable LCD display that shows you every useful piece of information at a glance. Unlike the Canary detector, ZyXEL's Wi-Fi Finder distinguishes between an open network, one using WEP, and one using WPA/WPA2.

The compact unit is slightly larger than most flash drives, and includes an on/off switch. An internal battery is recharged when the unit is in plugged into a USB port whether or not it's in use as an 802.11a/b/g adapter. It quickly powers down when detached to preserve battery life. An icon appears when power runs low.

Powering up the ZyXEL detector causes the unit to start a scan, which can also be triggered by pressing the Seek button. The unit scans for a few seconds and can be interrupted by pressing the Seek button a second time.

The upper-left corner of the LCD shows the current network being displayed as a numeral -- the order of networks is arbitrary -- followed by the total number of networks found. The detector can show up to 15 networks. In my testing, I was able to find 14 network at once by standing on a roof deck; the ZyXEL unit had no problem collecting and displaying their details quickly.

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