Monday, December 25, 2006

The Nintendo WiFi USB Connector - a review

The first review of my gaming blog. For those living under the rock for the past two years, the Nintendo WiFi USB connector turns your computer into a wireless access point to allow your DS (and your Wii) to connect to Nintendo WFC. It's a USB connector so you must have a USB port for it work. (well obviously, but this is in case if anybody does not have free USB ports, well you need one so free one space). You will also need a Windows XP PC. [Note that for Windows Vista users, it is not officially supported at the moment. See here. They ARE looking into it, but no indication of when the drivers for Vista will be out]

Installation is simple. Just insert the CD included with the USB connector, and just follow the step by step instructions. Note that you should NEVER plug in the USB connector before the setup prompts you to do so, this is because Windows may install drivers for it (which will NOT work). Once installation is done correctly, you can use the USB connector. But first, you will need to register your DS with the registration tool. Simply go into WiFi settings for any game with the Nintendo WiFi connection logo in it, and select "Connect to Nintendo WiFi USB connector". Once you do, your DS name should show up on the DS registration tool, simply allow or deny the DS. The DS will also go through a testing phase to see if connection is successful. If it is, it will work for you.

So far, I have not faced any online issues with it. Disconnections are rare (though yes they do happen), but otherwise it is smooth. (This is dependant on your broadband connection as well, if your broadband is having a bad day, so will your connection to WFC). However, the main problem I've heard so far is that it does not support Zone Alarm firewalls. You need to UNINSTALL it completely (disabling it doesn't work). Windows Firewall (included with XP SP2) works well with it, but because Zone Alarm is a commonly used firewall, I feel a need to include this.

Furthermore, the heat issues, while stated in the manual is completely normal, however it can become too hot to handle. After about an hour online, the WiFi connector's heat is very hot, and while it does not seem to be a problem so far, I feel that this problem could be easily remedied.

Please note that this WiFi USB connector OBVIOUSLY only works on the Nintendo DS or the Wii. It does not support the PSP or whatever WiFi gadget you are using.

Overall, despite the heat issues (and the odd firewall problem), this is a great piece of hardware for use with your DS. And trust me, WFC is getting bigger now and steadily increasing. Don't miss out.