Category Archives: News

When You Need a New WiFi Adapter

You love your laptop, but its WiFi network adapter is on the fritz. You could try to get it repaired or plunk down at least a few hundred bucks for a new computer. There’s also an easy, inexpensive option that will get you back on the network in no time: Use a USB-based WiFi adapter.

The USB-NANO-11N WiFi adapter plugged into a USB slot measures sticks out just a quarter of an inchPlugable’s new USB-WIFINT offers draft 802.11n wireless connectivity in an incredibly small package.

At just 0.25 inches long by 0.5 inches wide when plugged into a USB port, the USB-WIFINT is barely noticeable. With such a low profile, you don’t have to worry about the adapter snapping off from an accidental nudge. In fact, you won’t even need to unplug it before you stuff your laptop PC your backpack or totebag.

 

The USB-WIFINT uses the Realtek RTL8188CUS chipset. We chose this chipset as it has a very wide range of support including Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems.  One exception of note is OS X 10.9 “Mavericks” for which there is no driver yet available, and unfortunately no ETA for when this might be ready.

 

Size Matters
The one drawback of such a small form factor is that the USB-WIFINT has a small antenna, which limits the performance and range of the adapter.  In most real-world application, actual transfer speeds will be 35mb/sec or less. While the device is 802.11n compliant, with a theoretical top speed of 150 Mbps if you are in the same room as the router with a direct line of sight, real-world usage shows that link speeds of around 74 Mbps are more common as most users will be in a different room or on a different floor from the router.

Distance from the WiFi hotspot (router or access point) and ambient 2.4GHz radio interference from other wireless devices will cause the connection quality to vary. For optimal performance, we recommend the USB-WIFINT for customers who plan to use the adapter in the same room as the hotspot.

As noted, the adapter supports the 802.11n draft WiFi specification for data transmission in the 2.4Ghz band, but it is compatible with the older 802.11b and g specifications. It also supports the common WiFi security protocols (64/128 bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK and Wi-Fi Protected Setup).

The USB-WIFINT supporting Linux combined with its small size and low power consumption of less than 250mA make it the perfect companion for the Raspberry Pi, or for other scenarios where low power consumption is more important than reception such as Android development.

Getting Connected

The adapter works in USB 2.0 and 1.1 ports, though you’ll get faster throughput in a USB 2.0 port. USB 3.0 ports are not recommended as it may interfere with nearby 2.4GHz devices. A red LED inside the unit will flash intermittently to indicate active data transfer.

If the USB-WIFINT is right for you, there’s an important step you must take before plugging it in to your computer: Download and install the latest drivers first.

We recommend installing the very latest drivers, available at:
plugable.com/products/usb-wifint/drivers

Have any questions? Just comment below or email support@plugable.com. We’re happy to help!

Plugable USB-WIFINT USB 2.0 802.11n WiFi Transceiver (Realtek RTL8188CUS Chipset) Product Details
$9.95

Using the Plugable USB-BT4LE Bluetooth Adapter with the Raspberry Pi

Using a Bluetooth adapter with your Raspberry Pi opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You can connect a Bluetooth keyboard a mouse, send music to Bluetooth headphones or music receiver, or delve into the exciting world of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) applications. The best part is that it is really easy.

If you are using Raspbian, the most common Linux distribution for the Pi, almost everything you need to use the Plugable Bluetooth adapter is already built in. Besides the Pi itself, you will need an internet connection, the Plugable Bluetooth adapter, and a powered hub that is compatible with the Pi. For the hub we recommend the Plugable USB 2.0 7-port hub, which can both power the Pi and the USB devices connected to it, so you don’t have to worry about your Pi restarting after drawing too much power through its USB ports.

First connect the monitor and internet to your Pi. Plug the Bluetooth adapter into the hub, connect the hub to the Pi, then plug the hub into an AC outlet. You can watch a video about setting up the hub here.

After the Pi starts up, log in and type the following commands to update software on the Pi. Each command can take several minutes to run. Answer “yes” to any prompts.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Next, install the Bluetooth support software with this command:

sudo apt-get install bluetooth bluez-utils blueman

After the installation finishes, type startx to start the graphical interface.

You should now see a Bluetooth symbol in a blue oval at the lower right of your screen.

Bluetooth symbol

Click it to bring up the Bluetooth Devices window, and click Search to look for devices. Any nearby Bluetooth devices in discovery mode should appear in the window. In this example, we will install a keyboard. Other devices are similar, although many will not require a PIN.

Search

Click the device you want to pair to, then select the plus sign to pair. Under device, select the service you want to connect to. If you are adding a keyboard or similar device, you will be asked to enter a pin.

Pairing request

Enter the same PIN on the keyboard to connect, and you are done.

Connected

If the Bluetooth utility does not see the Bluetooth adapter try the following commands:

sudo nano /etc/group

{change line 8 from “lp:x:7:” to “lp:x:7:pi” save and exit}

sudo reboot

Using Microsoft Windows Easy Transfer Software for Upgrading to a Windows 7 or 8 Computer

Although Microsoft has removed support in Windows 8.1 for upgrading to a new computer using a Windows transfer cable with the Windows Easy Transfer software, that software still offers the easiest and most automated method for upgrading to a Windows 7 or 8 computer. This blog post gives instructions for doing that.

Microsoft’s Windows Easy Transfer software is built into Windows 7 and Windows 8 and is available as a free download when using a Windows XP (SP2 or higher required) or Windows Vista computer as the source. It provides a step-by-step interface for migrating Windows user account settings and files from an old PC to a Windows 7 or 8 computer. With Plugable’s Windows transfer cable and Microsoft’s Windows Easy Transfer software, you can migrate in the following scenarios:

  • From a Windows XP SP2 (or higher) or Windows Vista PC to a Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC
  • From one Windows 7 PC to another
  • From  a Windows 7 PC to a Windows 8 PC
  • From one Windows 8 PC to another

Please note that the Windows Easy Transfer software does not support using the Windows transfer cable in Windows 8.1, or upgrading from a 64-bit version of Windows to a 32-bit version of Windows. It also does not work if the target computer has Windows XP or Vista. For instructions on using the Bravura Easy Computer Sync software to upgrade in these scenarios, see here.

1.Before getting started with the cable, install the latest drivers for the older PC if it is running Windows XP or Vista. Go to  http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/windows-easy-transfer and download the drivers for your edition of XP or Vista. Run Windows Update on the target computer, and also on the source computer if it uses Windows 7 or 8.

2. Plug the Windows transfer cable into a free USB port on each of the PCs (use a USB 2.0 port if possible to ensure the best connection speeds). Windows will attempt to recognize the cable. If you experience any errors at this point, email us at support@plugable.com. If all goes well, continue to the next step.

3. Now you need to open Microsoft’s Windows Easy Transfer software.

If you’re running Windows XP SP2 (or higher) or Windows Vista, an autorun option will give you the opportunity to launch the Windows Easy Transfer software if it’s installed. If it’s not, you’ll install it on the PC in a later step.

If you’re running Windows 7 or 8, Microsoft’s Windows Easy Transfer will open on screen when your Windows transfer cable is plugged in:

Windows Easy Transfer welcome screen

If you’re running Windows 8, you may need type Windows Easy Transfer into your Start screen, then click the Windows Easy Transfer icon to launch it.

Windows 8 search results screen

4. On the new PC, you’ll select whether this is the new or old computer. Select New and continue.

Windows Easy Transfer computer selection

5. On the new computer, you’ll be asked if you’re going to need to install Windows Easy Transfer on the old computer. You should already have addressed this in step No. 1, so select the appropriate answer from “I already installed it” or “My old computer is running Windows 7.”

Windows Easy Transfer installation options

6. On the old computer, make sure Windows Easy Transfer is running and select that you already installed in on the old computer.

7. At this stage, the Windows Easy Transfer software will connect the computers. If you get stuck at this point, see this blog post.

Windows Easy Transfer initial connection between two computers

From this point forward, you will make all your decisions on the new computer.

8. On the new PC, the Windows Easy Transfer software lets you choose what you want to pull from the old computer and how you want the synchronization to occur.

The “Customize” option lets you select which file folders and settings to synchronize onto the new PC.

Windows Easy Transfer data sync options
Choosing “Advanced” from this menu allows you to select specific files to transfer rather than the whole folder.

Back in the main window, the “Advanced Options…” link lets you decide whether to pull the whole user account associated with the files and settings from the old PC to the new PC or to merge it into an account already on the new PC.

Windows Easy Transfer account merge options

From the “Map drives” tab in this window you can determine where on the new PC the files will be transferred, if you don’t want them to be placed in the same file path as they had on the old PC. Occasionally, Windows Easy Transfer mistakes a computer’s recovery partition for its main drive and issues an error that not enough space is available on the target drive. If this happens, use the Map drives tab to set the correct target partition.

9. Once you decide what you want to copy from the old computer to the new computer, choose “Transfer” and watch the progress as the data is migrated. When it’s finished, you’ll get the chance to see what was transferred. This may take several hours, depending on how much data is on the old computer.

Another useful feature in this final window is an option to see what programs were installed on your old PC that you might want to install on your new PC.

Windows Easy Transfer reporting screen

This is helpful since the Windows Easy Transfer software moves documents and account settings but not your installed apps. With this feature, you can see what you will need to re-install on your new PC to match your old PC’s functionality.

Windows Easy Transfer list of programs on the old PC

10. You now can close the Windows Easy Transfer software on both computers and disconnect the Windows transfer cable.

If You Need Help
We’ve tried to cover the basics of how you can make the most of your Plugable USB-EASY-TRAN Windows transfer cable when using Windows Easy Transfer to upgrade to a Windows 7 or 8 computer.

Feel free to comment here or write us at support@plugable.com.

Plugable Windows Transfer Cable for Windows 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP. Includes Bravura Easy Computer Sync Software Product Details
$19.95