PCTEL WiFi Seeker review

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PCTEL WiFi Seeker review

PCTel WiFi Seeker
PCTEL’S WiFi Seeker

I love Wi-Fi. I know have serious problems when I can be walking in a mall, down a street, a hotel lobby, an airport terminal, or in a store and wonder to myself “Hmmm, I wonder if I can get a WiFi connection here?” I could of course attempt to boot-up my laptop only to be crushed by lack of any WiFi signals. I reviewed Kensington’s WiFi Finder and SmartID WiFi Detector products in the past. Kensington’s WiFi Finder was terrible, it just plain did not work well if at all. The SmartID WiFi Detector wasn’t too bad, it detected WiFi signals quite accurately, but I wished it were more portable so I could stick it on my keychain.

Well, my wish has come true with PCTel’s WiFi Seeker keyfob-sized device (with keychain mounting loop) that is amazingly small for what it can do. I should point out that WiFi Seeker is actually developed by Chrysalis Development LLC and distributed by PCTEL.

I got my hands on the new $30 "WiFi Seeker" from PCTel. The device fits on a keychain and has a single button on top that you press to view a series of four red lights flashing. The detection was not immediate like the SmartID WiFi Detector, but it didn’t take long either. Within a second or two if it detects an access point one or more of the lights stay lit, based on the strength of the signal.

The WiFi Seeker performed admirably in our tests. I walked around the office and was able to get full signal strength (4 lights) when I stood next to one of the access points. As I moved across the office, the signal degraded to three, two, and then when I reached the front door, it was one red light and then no light. I then walked to the kitchen and turned on the microwave which operates in the same 2.6Ghz range to see if that would mess up the detection.

PCTEL claims it will filter out microwaves, cordless phones, etc., and indeed when I tried it out a few inches from a working microwave it didn’t register a signal which was good. All in all, I would highly recommend PCTEL’s WiFi Seeker.

Technical Specifications
Compatibility: IEEE 802.11b and 802.11g
Dimensions: 2.25" x 1.20" x 0.43"
Range: Detects 802.11 signals up to 300 ft away
Signal strength indicator: 4 steps with 4 LEDs
Antenna type: Dipole, internal
Battery: 2x CR2032 (User replaceable)
Operating Voltage: 2.7V nominal
Power consumption:
•Scanning: 20 mA
•Locked on signal: 9 mA
•Operating: 0° to 50° C
•Storage: -20° to 75° C
•Humidity 10%-80%
Frequency Range: 2.4 GHz — 2.462 GHz
Certification: FCC part 15b

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