ASUS WL-330 Pocket Wireless Access Point reviewed

Construction Details

I included the 330's appropriately tiny power adapter in the Figure 1 photo and want to thank ASUS for putting some thought into its choice. It's small enough - though a tight squeeze - to take up only one slot in an outlet strip when flanked by typical grounding plugs. I'm sure it cost ASUS a little more than a larger adapter would, but the result it worth it. Hey, PDA manufacturers! If adapters this small are available, why are you still shipping those big, heavy wall-warts with your "mobile" devices?!

Moving on, Figures 2 and 3 show the construction details of the 330.

ASUS WL330: Inside view showing antennas

Figure 2: The innards (with antenna detail)

It uses Marvell's Libertas 802.11b Access Point Solution made up of the ARM9-based 88W8500 processor and CMOS 88W8000 transceiver. The product spec sheet says the chipset has slightly over 100mW of transmit power and "2X" receiver sensitivity. Also of note is support for hardware AES encryption / decryption, 802.1x authentication and "Marvell proprietary 22 Mbps high data rate mode" - none of which are available to the user in the WL330, however.

The yellow arrows in Figure 2 point out the diversity antennas, which are made from flat metal and are nestled into slots in the top cover's sides.

ASUS WL330: Other side of board

Figure 3: Other side of board

The arrows in Figure 3 show the antenna contact points on the board and the single teeny-tiny antenna jack that's available for the adventurous who may want to hack on a higher-gain antenna (while voiding your warranty, of course!).