Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How to manually install your Alfa AWUS036H 1000mW or 500mW USB adapter on Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit)

If you have or plan to get an Alfa AWUS036H wireless USB adapter, which uses the Realtek RTL8187 chipset, the adapter is compatible with Windows 7. We have purchased a number of Windows 7 systems for our technicians and found in most cases the device was actually auto-installed by Windows 7 when we had the driver CD in the computer. However with some systems this did not happen, and we were able to successfully get the item working on Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit editions by manually installing the Windows Vista drivers from the Alfa installation CD.

We created this PDF guide that provides a step by step walk-through to do a manual install. If you have any questions, please remember that blog comments are not regularly monitored by Rokland staff, so please contact us through our web site

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas week shipping schedule

Merry Christmas and happy Festivus to all!

We will be operating on a short week beginning Monday, December 21st, and will be closed Thursday December 24th, and Friday December 25th, so that our employees may enjoy the holiday with their families.

We generally ship orders the next business day after they are placed/paid. All eBay orders paid for by Wednesday night (12/23) at 11:59 PM EST will be shipped out on Thursday morning, even though the rest of our offices will be closed. Purchases made through eBay on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or Saturday and Sunday (12/26 and 12/27) will be shipped on Monday December 28th.

A special note for our web site customers, UPS will not be picking up packages on Christmas Eve. Therefore orders placed on or after Wednesday 12/23 will not be shipped until Monday 12/28. This means if you place an order on 12/23 with Next Day Air shipping, it will ship on 12/28 and arrive on 12/29.

If you are a web customer, please note at this time our web site only supports UPS shipping options. If you would like to make a purchase and select a US Postal option, you can do so by calling us (click on Contact Us link on the right hand side of our web site for our sales and support phone number). Thank you for making this a great year at Rokland, and we wish you the best this holiday season and a happy new year as well!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009 the ultimate Wi-Fi experience for Macs

Readers may be familiar with our efforts to develop long range (and affordable) Wi-Fi solutions for Apple Macintosh users. We have had some great successes with the RokAir and RokN wireless USB adapters. We were also the first to launch a Snow Leopard compatible wireless USB adapter for Macs. Today we are excited to announce the launch of, a project that has been in the works for a long time. is the only place you can purchase our newest product, BearExtender n3. BearExtender n3 is the result of a joint venture between our product development team and Roland Saekow, a product design major and graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. Together we built off of our well-reviewed n3 wireless USB adapter for Macs to put together a kit that is geared toward mobile Mac users and college students.


BearExtender n3 features a 700mW 802.11n USB wireless adapter that is compatible with Mac OS 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, and even 10.6 Snow Leopard (32-bit only). Instead of including drivers on a CD-ROM that will end up in a landfill, BearExtender n3 comes with software on a reusable flash drive. Once you are done installing the device, you can drag and drop the contents of the drive to some place on your Mac (for future use if needed) and then use the flash drive for other purposes.


BearExtender n3 also comes with a special metal flex cable allowing the unit to stand freely in the air, with no need for a surface on which to set it down (great for use in coffee shops or crowded desks where surface space is at a premium). The unit also has a clip on the back for easy attachment to the back of your laptop.


BearExtender n3 is the ultimate portable Wi-Fi device for Mac users, and it is also 802.11n compatible. Check out the press release here, and be the first to get one at the low introductory price here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our holiday promises to you...

1. We promise to get your order shipped out on time and as advertised.

2. We promise excellent customer service before and after the sale.

3. We promise not to make any video advertisements set to the tune of well known Christmas songs. That may have been neat the first time it happened, but who gets a laugh these days when
"Deck the Halls..." and "Jingle Bells" are rewritten about everything from hardware to kitchen appliances?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Black Friday Deal: 802.11n Wireless USB adapter only $9.00 with free shipping...

To celebrate 9 years in business, this Friday and Saturday only (November 27th and 28th) we will have a "Black Friday" deal of our own at


A wireless 802.11n mini USB adapter with 300 mbps max speed for just $9 including shipping (limit 4 per customer- the deal price will not appear on the web site until Friday November 27th).

You won't find a better Black Friday deal unless it involves one of those "wait 10 weeks for a rebate" programs.

This Friday or Saturday, just add the item to the cart, checkout, and your card is charged $9 and the item is mailed to you. Best. Deal. Ever?

Well, okay, Wal-Mart and Best Buy have a $197 laptop and that is a pretty sweet deal, but it is limited to something like 5 per store, and you have to get there at 3AM. You can buy your $9 wireless 802.11n adapter from any time Friday or Saturday at this link (the $9.00 sale price will not be shown on the site until Friday November 27th).

We are not going to advertise this deal anywhere but here on our blog, and via a Twitter post. We want to see just how effective Twitter searches and tweets will be in getting the word out about this deal. So please help us by tweeting about this deal, or retweeting our tweet. We are @rokland

We hope you enjoy the deal, and happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving week shipping schedule

Happy Thanksgiving! This week we are on a short week, and will be closed Thursday November 26th for Thanksgiving Day, with limited hours on Friday November 27th so that our employees may enjoy the holiday with their families.

We generally ship orders the next business day after they are placed/paid. All orders paid for by Tuesday night at 11:59 PM EST will be shipped on Wednesday November 25th. Purchases made through eBay on Wednesday and Thursday of this week with a US Postal shipping method such as First Class or Priority Mail will be shipped Friday November 27th.

A special note for our web site customers, and eBay or phone customers who select UPS shipping. UPS will not be in operation from Thursday until Monday of next week. Therefore any UPS shipment paid for after 11:59 EST on Tuesday November 24th will not be shipped out until Monday November 30th. Please keep this in mind especially if purchasing an expedited UPS shipping method such as Next Day Air. Next Day Air orders paid for on Wednesday will not ship until next Monday and thus will be delivered Tuesday.

If you are a web customer, please note at this time our web site only supports UPS shipping options. If you would like to make a purchase and select a US Postal option, you can do so by calling us (click on Contact Us link on the right hand side of our web site for our sales and support phone number).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Using your Alfa AWUS036H or Rok500 wireless USB adapter with Windows 7

(Note: this article applies to the AWUS036H 500mW and 1000mW wireless USB adapters from Alfa, the Rok500 500mW USB adapter from Rokland, and other devices that have a Realtek RTL8187L chipset.)

If you have an Alfa AWUS036H or are considering buying one and want to know if it will work with Windows 7, the technical answer is yes. If you are not that familiar with computers though, please note the installation process may be a bit more involved than a normal WiFi adapter installation.

We have found in some cases you can just put the Alfa drivers CD in the CD drive and connect the adapter to the computer, and then Windows will automatically set it up for you. In many cases though (primarily with Windows 7 64-bit), nothing will happen when you connect the device, or Windows will report that it was not able to find a driver.

The Alfa AWUS036H works great in Windows 7 using the Vista driver. If your computer does not install the driver for you, at the time this article was published you cannot use the Setup program on the CD, as a message will come up saying it is not compatible with Windows 7 (the setup program is only for use with Windows Vista or earlier). What you have to do is manually install the Vista X86 (for 32-bit) or X64 (for 64-bit) driver from the Alfa CD by going to the Device Manager, right clicking on the device, and selecting Update Driver (or Properties > Update Driver). Then proceed through the wizard, browsing to the driver location on the Alfa CD.

If you have not done a manual driver installation in Windows XP or Vista before, or get lost in the process, we will have some video and picture guides available to assist you within the next week.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

RokIt wireless USB adapter not Snow Leopard compatible

Our RokIt wireless USB adapter for Macs is not currently compatible with Mac Snow Leopard (OS 10.6). It currently works with 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5 Leopard.

For our other Mac compatible devices that have a Realtek chip, such as the RokAir, those devices can be used on Snow Leopard 32-bit by installing the 10.5 Leopard drives. But do not attempt this sae procedure with the RokIt, the 10.5 driver package for the RokIt not only does not work with 10.6, but may interfere with other wireless adapters installed on your system.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Alfa AWUS036H 1000mW (1w) USB adapters are here, but are they really 1000mW max output?

If you have used the Alfa AWUS036H 500mW max output wireless USB adapter before, you know it is an awesome WiFi adapter. The range is amazing, and it really does a lot better job than most all other products on the market.

Alfa is a great brand, and they have recently announced that the new AWUS036H models are now 1000mW max output. We received the first shipment of these 1000mW max units from Alfa today, and can confirm the retail box is different. But there are no markings on the box to indicated it is now 1000mW (30 dBm), and the adapter is physically identical to the older version in all aspects. The CD inside the box has a manual which still refers to 27 dBm max output, apparently they forgot to change the manual. They have changed their official web page for this model though.

We asked Alfa, and they have confirmed the units are 1000mW. Alfa is a great company that has long made excellent networking items and we have no doubt that these units are in fact now capable of 1000mW. But Alfa does not have a US-based operation and may not understand that US buyers are constantly faced with ads and products that have inaccurate specs. We have encouraged Alfa to fix their manuals to properly show the new version as 1000mW, and to also add the output specs to the retail box itself. Until they do, we will continue to advertise the model AWUS036H as 500mW max. Note that other retailers have chosen to advertise the same units as 1000mW, but if you buy from Rokland you will be getting the same item.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some more photos of the Skytone Alpha 680 Android netbook

In our previous post we reviewed the world's first Android netbook, the Alpha 680 from Skytone. The unit we received was yellow, and the manufacturer has sent us some these images showing it in black. As in the previous post, you can click on the images for an enlarged view.



Friday, September 11, 2009

Alpha 680 Android Netbook Review

(Update 9/14: We have photos of the unit in black here)

We are taking a look at the Alpha 680 netbook from Skytone (no relation to Alfa Network Inc., makers wireless products). The Alpha 680 is the world's first Android netbook, giving users all the features of Google's mobile phone operating system right on a netbook. The unit is not yet available in the US, but we got our hands on one because we wanted to test some of our WiFi products with Android, and also had considered becoming a distributor. Because the device was so different from any other netbook we have used, we decided to do a full blown public review. Here is the video, then further down we have more to say about the item and some pictures as well.

We will start our review by giving you the bottom line: the Alpha 680 is a fun toy for geeks who want to work with Android on a netbook, and it gives a great glimpse at what netbooks may become, but it has some rough edges that need to be smoothed before it can be considered a mainstream product.

Before getting into the meat and potatoes of the 680, here is some quick background information. Word of the device first came back in April of this year, when sites such as Gizmodo and Engadget described the Alpha 680 as it appeared in a spring trade show. The device is set to be priced at $250.00 and it is ready for market and should be available in the US sometime this month or next.

In addition to running Android, the Alpha 680 is also one of the first netbooks to sport a touchscreen, as well as a rotating LCD that turns the unit into a tablet.

Quick pros: obviously the touchscreen and tablet capabilities of the machine were nice, but beyond that there was not a whole lot to rave about.

Quick cons: the netbook has a cheap feel to it, and from a design standpoint is quite lacking. Ultimately the Alpha 680 gives us a glimpse of what can be done with touchscreens on netbooks, but we need a company like Apple or Google to come along and perfect this.

When we took the unit out of the box, the first thing that we noticed was the item had the look and feel of a toy. In fact, it would probably do well if marketed toward children, but the Android interface as it comes installed on the 680 is too complex for computer newcomers. To be fair, a black or gray unit, which will be the most common colors available, will look more professional. But the issue is not so much the color as the general look of it. It is not something you'd want to break out at a business meeting or on the subway when a couple of pretty girls (or handsome guys) are heading your way. It does not have the aesthetics we are used to seeing from Apple and HP no matter what color you get. Unlike the EEE PC from Asus, one of the first netbooks, the plastic is not a smooth laptop-case style plastic, it is a much cheaper “pencil box” type of plastic. The buttons and arrow pad on the LCD sometimes had to be pushed more than once, and did not feel like they will last a long time. Okay, it's only $250, but considering HP series netbooks can be found refurbished for the same price, if you are looking for something fashionable then the Alpha 680 won't be in your top ten.

We already knew the item was coming with a 7 inch LCD just like the original Asus EEE PC. Before receiving it we felt it should have at least an 8.9 inch screen, but in a surprise note, the way Android displays on the screen the device was not hard to use with the 7 inch LCD. While bigger would be better, the 7 inch LCD was not a disappointment.

It took us a few minutes to figure out how to connect to a WiFi signal, and that may be due to the fact this is the first time we have used WiFi in Android. Once we established a connection, we were able to visit web sites easily. The device also displayed options to connect via 3G and GPRS but we are not sure if that is something the device will be able to do, or if that is just an option in the Android software (which was primarily designed to operate on cell phones).

The unit features two regular sized USB ports, a 100 mbps ethernet port, an SD card slot, a TV output jack, and of course a headphone and microphone jack. It also has a stylus that slides out.

Having used an iPhone before, we found the touchscreen capabilities of the Alpha 680 to be a bit lacking, though you can use your finger to slide up and down web pages. One bug that was annoying was that when you moved the device to tablet mode and then rotated it back to be able to use the keyboard again, the mouse would stop working.

A closer look at Android on the Alpha 680

Okay, we've established that the Alpha 680 itself is not going to win any design awards. But the primary reason this device may be of interest to US buyers is because it is the first netbook to run Android. Why would you want a netbook with Android vs. Windows XP, Vista, or another version of Linux?

Android simplifies the user interface to the point where it is easy to do many things on a smartphone- that is what is was designed to do. The primary complaint from netbook users is that netbooks try to do too much- they try to be full blown PCs, and using them can be difficult. The touchpad navigation as well as the typing can take a lot longer compared to a traditional laptop or desktop computer. Where netbooks were designed to come in between cell phones and laptops, the Alpha 680 with Android was designed to come in between cell phones and netbooks- a morphing of the two into one ultimate portable device. Think of an iPhone, but with a bigger screen...we're not saying “mission accomplished”, but that is definitely the track Skytone was taking here.


The Alpha 680 shows us that possibilities in the future of netbook and tablet computing are endless, and it also shows us that there is a lot of room for improvement. If this market-ready unit had been put forth at a company like Lenovo as a prototype, no doubt it would have been sent back to the drawing board for some more work. Any company that is serious about distributing Android on a netbook to the mainstream US population will need to refine/customize the installation and make some tweaks. Is the device worth $250? That's hard to say. It can do a lot of things that regular netbooks cannot and will be a fun toy for geeks who want to work with Android on a netbook, but most of those geeks would probably prefer to try installing Android themselves on a netbook they already have. Interacting with the unit is not always easy, and if Steve Jobs has taught us anything it is that design matters. The Alpha 680 did not follow this philosophy, at least not with the US market in mind. It may just be that the Alpha 680 was designed for another market- for Chinese or European youth that follow different fashions and are scooping up low cost technology products in their home market. Skytone is one of the first players to create a tablet netbook, and while the unit will probably do okay once it launches, soon after we will see other manufacturers learn from Skytone's Alpha 680 and launch some really cool new devices.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Rokland n3 is compatible with Snow Leopard

(Updated 9/28/09: The Rokland n3 works with 10.5 Leopard drivers in 10.6 Snow Leopard 32-bit, but is not recognized in 64-bit mode)

Need WiFi for Snow Leopard?

The n3 802.11n wireless long range USB WiFi adapter from Rokland works great on Apple Mac OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

We installed Snow Leopard onto multiple Macs to conduct our test (one system was an Intel iMac Core Duo and the other was a Macbook Pro). We used the existing 10.5 drivers that come on the CD in the n3 retail box. The installation was a breeze, and after activating the device in System Preferences > Network, we were online in moments. We were a bit nervous because we have read some rumors that some other brand 10.4/10.5 compatible WiFi equipment did not work in 10.6.

A couple of things to note- on the two machines we used, neither had the n3 installed previously. We have not yet upgraded a 10.4 or 10.5 system that already had the n3 installed to see if the device would work uninterrupted. If you already have the n3 and plan to upgrade to 10.6, just remember if the device does not work right off the bat you should be able to just run the installation software from the n3 disc again.

We want to make a special effort to mention to potential buyers that if you buy this for 10.6, for the time being you will want to run the install package for 10.5. Right now the CDs will not have any reference to 10.6 on them nor will the instructions that are on the CD. The reason is because we were not expecting Snow Leopard to be released until the end of September, which was the initial launch date. Thus we have a large inventory of units with CDs and feel it would be environmentally unfriendly to dispose them all and make new ones. So in the meantime you can safely buy the device for use with Snow Leopard, just remember to install the software for 10.5 Leopard, and also to follow the instructions for 10.5.

We will have more compatibility information regarding Snow Leopard and other WiFi devices we sell on our blog in the coming weeks.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

An 802.11n workaround for TiVo Series 2 boxes

A not-so-well-known fact about the 802.11n wireless standard is that if you want to maximize the range and speed of your 802.11n router, the router needs to be set internally to only accept wireless connections from 802.11n wireless adapters (this is usually a setting in the router called N-only mode). If the router is set to allow 802.11g adapters to connect (usually called Mixed N/G/B modes) the performance of the whole network drops. By factory default, most 802.11n routers are going to be set to mixed mode.

With the price of 802.11n equipment dropping, it is not expensive to get 802.11n adapters for all computers in your home. But what happens if you have a device such as the TiVo Series 2 DVR, for which there are no compatible 802.11n USB adapters (at the time of this writing)? Sure you can hardwire the TiVo directly to your router, but if your TiVo is on the other side of the house, that is not a good option.

There are two workarounds you can deploy so that your TiVo can continue to get wireless connectivity without bringing down the performance of your 802.11n network.

Option 1: Use your old G router (or buy a new one) as an access point connected to your N router. You will likely need to search Google or another search engine for your router model number to figure out how to change the router to AP mode (most routers have an AP mode, but some do not). You can then connect the Internet port on your G router to an ethernet port on your N router using a standard ethernet cable, and then broadcast a wireless signal from the G router. This signal is completely separate from your 802.11n signal and will have its own SSID (signal name). You can use this signal to connect your G devices, such as the TiVo, to the Internet. And your 802.11n router can be set to only accept connections from 802.11n devices.

Option 2: The other workaround is to buy a wireless adapter that has an AP mode function, such as the RokAir which is compatible with Macs and Windows, and install it to a computer that will be hardwired to your 802.11n router. Using the AP mode feature of the RokAir, you can share your wired Internet connection wirelessly with other devices. Doing so will create a new wireless signal that is separate from your 802.11n signal, and then you can connect to this new signal with your G devices, like the TiVo. Meanwhile, just as with option 1, your 802.11n router can be set to only accept connections from 802.11n devices. The main difference between this option and option 1 is that you will have to leave the computer that has the AP mode device powered on when you want the TiVo to be able to connect to the Internet. If you turn that computer off, the TiVo will not be able to connect.

You could also wait to see if TiVo introduces an 802.11n wireless device (which would be awesome), but it appears a lot of the new software based features they are adding only work with Series 3/TiVo HD boxes. So there is some speculation that a new 802.11n adapter for TiVos may not be supported on Series 2 boxes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Rokland n3 is plug and play with Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty

We have confirmed the Rokland n3 wireless USB adapter is plug and play with Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop Edition (Jaunty Jackalope). We have run tests on multiple computers to be sure. On one system we ran the Live CD version of Jaunty, and on another we installed it to the hard drive. On both systems the adapter did not require driver installation and was immediately able to connect to access points using the wireless connection utility located on the top menu bar of the desktop. The process was very simple- just boot up the system, connect the n3 to the USB port, click on the wireless connection utility and select your network.

If you are not able to get your Rokland n3 working on Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty, open a terminal window and run iwconfig to see if the device is listed there. If it is not, confirm that your USB ports are recognized by Jaunty. If no other USB device (such as a mouse or keyboard) works with your computer, that means the problem is your USB bus is not working right in Ubuntu. If your USB ports work fine, please report the issue to our support department.

How to disable/enable your internal WiFi card in Windows Vista

If you want to use a long range WiFi USB adapter such as the Alfa AWUS036H or the Rokland n3 with your laptop, and you have a WiFi card built in, you will need to disable that card in order to use the USB adapter for Internet access. Likewise, when you want to go back to using your internal card, you need to enable it.

Doing this is a simple process in Windows Vista. If your laptop has an external on/off switch for the internal WiFi card, it is pretty self explanatory. But if not, what you want to do is click on Start and go to Control Panel. Change to icon view and double click the Network and Sharing Center icon. On the window that comes up, click on Manage Network Connections. There you should see your internal ethernet adapter displayed in icon format as Local Area Connection. Then you should see your internal WiFi adapter as Wireless Network Connection. Your external USB WiFi adapter should appear as Wireless Network Connection 2. To be sure which icon corresponds to which device, just mouse over the respective icon and a little box will appear telling you to what hardware device the Wireless Network Connection icon corresponds.

Once you have located the icon that corresponds to your internal WiFi card, right click on it and select Disable. To re-enable the card, repeat the same steps and select Enable. You can also mouse over the Wireless Network Connection icon that corresponds to your external USB WiFi adapter and select the Connect/Disconnect option to connect to available access points.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Alfa AWUS050NH version 2 is here...

The Alfa AWUS050NH version 2 is here...and it works better than the version 1, but in terms of 802.11g performance it is still not as good as the AWUS036H 802.11g 500mW adapter from Alfa.

We did multiple tests in Windows and Linux with multiple units to be sure. We will have a video test up on our blog shortly which compares the AWUS050NH to both the AWUS036H and the n3 USB adapter.

The AWUS050NH picked up a similar number of APs vs. the AWUS036H, but the signal strengths were quite a bit weaker. In Windows they had fewer bars, whereas in Linux the percentage numbers were lower.

The bottom line is while the AWUS050NH version 2 seems to work a little better than the version 1, if you are primarily trying to pick up and connect to 802.11g standard wireless networks, the AWUS036H from Alfa and the n3 both did a better job.

We are going to carry the Alfa AWUS050NH due to high demand and relatively good reviews from places like Lifehacker. It works fine and when used with an 802.11n router, you will get good range and speed. But for those of you hoping the AWUS050NH version 2 was going to work as good as the AWUS036H but with added N capabilities, at least where we are located that does not seem to be the case.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The n3 from Rokland and Windows 7

A quick post to say the n3 works great in Windows 7 release candidate.

Windows 7 drivers are now available for the n3 from Rokland

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The RAID WiFi adapter and BackTrack 4

We've got a brand new product called the RAID, which stands for Rokland Auditing/Injecting Device.


The RAID is designed for use in BackTrack 3 and BackTrack 4 Linux and takes its shape and chipset from the popular (but discontinued) Alfa AWUS036S wireless USB adapter. The AWUS036S was highly recommended for use in BackTrack 3 Linux, primarily because it was a low-cost, good-range adapter with an RP-SMA port, and was compatible with programs like Aircrack. The AWUS036S is no longer being made, but the RAID was designed with the same chipset in order to offer the same functionality.

We have done some testing of Rokland RAID in the Backtrack 4 pre-release final edition. Here are some notes:

1. BT4 has been designed so that by default the networking services do not load at startup. If you have BT4 installed to a disk drive, you can make some changes to that they will load at startup. If you are using a bootable CD version of BT4 and running the OS entirely from CD, you will need to set aside some disk space on your hard drive so that any settings changes you make will be saved. Otherwise remember that any settings changes or package installs you do will be gone the next time you boot. This blog post is not a tutorial on how to do this, but you can find this info easily by searching the forums.

2. If you are planning to use BackTrack 4 for injection/cracking, you probably do not need to enable networking services. For the most part you will only need to enable networking services when you want to connect to an AP.

3. The RAID will automatically be recognized in BackTrack 4 pre-release final, but because the networking services are not loaded, the adapter is not plug and play in the sense that you will not be able to open a web browser right away and go online.

4. To use the device to scan for networks, you will need to start networking services.

  • /etc/init.d/networking start
  • /etc/init.d/networkmanager start

On our version run from CD, we did not have networkmanager, the client utility was called Wicd Network Manager, however the program (located in the Internet folder) did not load when selected. The fix is to run this command:

  • /usr/bin/start-network

Then you can go to Internet and select Wicd Network Manager and the GUI will load.

With Wicd Network Manager running, you will see available networks. Connecting is straightforward, but if you attempt to connect to an encrypted network, you may get an error that "this network requires encryption to be enabled". To enabled encryption, follow these instructions:

  • click on the name of the network to which you want to connect. Then click the Advanced Settings button that appears. Make sure the 'use encryption' box is checked, then enter in the network key. Now you can go back and connect to that network.

Note that the steps above are not specific to the RAID, they are just helpful hints when using any compatible wireless adapter with BackTrack 4.

We connected to some APs and went online just to ensure the driver was working properly, then rebooted and ran some tests in Aircrack. We created several test networks for injection purposes. The tests were designed to show the vulnerabilities of WEP encryption. Each AP set up for this purpose was encrypted with WEP encryption. One model had 64-bit and the other model 128-bit. On one computer we used BackTrack3 and SPoonWep (a program that comes with BT3) and were able to recover the 64-bit and 128-bit keys relatively quickly using the RAID. On another computer we loaded BT4 pre-release final edition and hooked up the RAID. SPoonWep does not come with BT4 pre-release final edition, and as far as we could find out, will not work on BT4 if you try to install it manually. This may change on future versions of BT4 or SPoonWep, but for now if you want to do injection with BT4 you can use a program like Aircrack. We used Aircrack on BT4 with the RAID and successfully recovered the WEP keys from both test APs.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

n3, RokN, and BT4 pre-release final

A quick note to let you know that we have completed more testing in the BackTrack 4 pre-release final edition and are not going to advertise the n3 and RokN as BT4 compatible at this time. The devices are recognized on BT4 pre-release final, and can even detect networks in Wicd Network Manager, but cannot connect to them. We did no further testing on any of the apps, because we figured even if they worked with programs like Aircrack, we could not really say they work in BT4 if you can't use them for basic Internet access. However for people that just want to use the n3 for Aircrack or other apps, we may do some more testing in the coming weeks. Both adapters use a pretty highly recommended chip for Linux from Ralink, so we hope that these issues which appear to be driver related might be cleared up in the final release of BT4. For now, as 802.11n devices from other Linux-friendly chipset makers like Realtek are just coming to market in early August, we would say that using 802.11n in BT4 pre-release final might be a bit of a chore.

If you are looking for a device that will work great in BT4 pre-release final, we are launching later today in fact a new 802.11g adapter with RP-SMA connector called the RAID (stands for Rokland Auditing/Injection Device) that is very similar to the Alfa AWUS036S model. We will of course have a post on it when it is online and ready for purchase.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The n3 from Rokland: "most powerful wifi adapter I've ever seen"

That's what one of our customers had to say about the n3, our 802.11n wireless USB adapter for Macs, PCs, and Netbooks.

The reason we mention this is because several people have asked us where they can find independent reviews of the n3. While you may find some forum reviews by doing an Internet search, as the product was just released in July, they might still be few and far between. We did put the product up on eBay when it launched for maximum exposure, and have had many positive comments come in.

Below we have listed some of these comments. Please note that we have removed the user ID of each commenter, however you can verify the comments are genuine by viewing our eBay feedback profile at (our user ID is rokland). If you go to the time and date of each comment shown, you will be able to verify it is genuine.

most powerful wifi adapter I've ever seen! a+++customer service. thanks so much!
Jul-14-09 05:29

Amazing! All my friends want one!
Jul-13-09 09:15

works well, connects to networks I couldn't get before
Jul-11-09 16:48

fantastic product, thanks! A+++!!!
Jul-12-09 20:33

WORKS GREAT !!!! GOT IT FAST !!!! A # 1 DEAL !!!! :) THANKS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jul-30-09 17:18

Great increase in range. Item as described and arrived as indicated. Top seller.
Jul-26-09 02:59

Great product and great seller!! Thanks!
Jul-25-09 12:32

shipped quickly, no hassles, item as described, what more do you want. A+
Jul-22-09 07:33

Super Fast Shipping & Great Product! A+++
Jul-16-09 22:04

These are just a few of many, and we are excited that they have found the item to be just as great as we did in our testing. If you have any questions about the n3, please contact us.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Alfa AWUS050NH version 2 delayed...

In this June blog post we discussed the forthcoming Alfa AWUS050NH version 2 500mW 802.11n adapter that was supposed to be available in July. Alfa had discontinued manufacturing version 1 in order to make a version 2 which was to have improved range and sensitivity for 802.11g connections.

We just found out from Alfa directly that version 2, which was to ship out on July 22nd, has been delayed. There is no new ETA, however we would speculate early August availability.

A prototype of version 2 we recently received had some issues, and we are glad Alfa is taking the time to make sure the final shelf version will be an excellent product.

We will have the new version 2 model as soon as it is available. In the meantime customers have asked us if we know of any other place they can get the version 2. There is no other place, because Alfa does not have the version ready yet, and as an authorized Alfa reseller and distributor we will be the first to have it when it is ready. Some other retailers have the AWUS050NH model in stock, but those are version 1 units. Those retailers may not be aware a new improved version is coming, or they may be selling off the remainder of their version 1 stock.

If you are in the market for an 802.11n adapter with good range and need to get something right now, take a look at this and this.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Price cuts: Rok500 now $29.97, Rok500 now $31.97

We've been able to negotiate new lower prices from our manufacturers, and also reduce their global freight costs, for both the popular Rok500 500mW wireless USB adapter, and the RokN 802.11n wireless USB adapter for Macs and PCs. The Rok500 is now just $29.97 and the Rok500 is just $31.97.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Rokland talks about Twitter...

We've been using Twitter (@Rokland) for a while now, and find it a great way to keep customers and potential customers posted about new product releases, product updates, sales, etc. It is also a great way for people to send us quick feedback and responses.

The other day I was listening to a radio talk show, and a caller discussed Twitter, his voice dripping with contempt. "Twitter," he said, "is very fitting of it's name, it's filled with people who have nothing better to do than twitter away their time by finding out that their friend just made a sandwich, or their other friend just got home from the gym." Now that quote is not exact since it comes from memory, but it is pretty close.

This sentiment is one I hear often from people who really have not used the service that much (or at all). While some do use the service similar to a status update on Facebook, Twitter allows you to communicate with a broad range of people easier and faster than any other medium. To those that dismiss it in the manner the fellow on the radio, it is akin to dismissing the importance of email by saying "email is just for people who want to read jokes forwarded by their grandmother."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The netbook is dead, long live laptops?

If you haven't heard of netbooks, the latest craze in portable computing, head to your local Best Buy or other electronics retailer and you'll notice that the laptop selection has been reduced in favor of shelf space for much smaller laptop-like computers. These devices, the largest of them with a 10.1 inch screen, are cheaper, smaller, and lighter than laptops. They can be a bit tougher to use of course, with common complaints being the smaller keyboards and eyestrain from focusing on the little screens. But sales have ballooned over the past year, and now with service providers like Sprint and Verizon offering even lower-cost netbooks with a 2-year data contract, retail analysts expect sales to continue to grow for years to come.

But Joe Wilcox of eWeek says the netbook will soon be a thing of the past. You can read his list of reasons here. What do you think?

A) Netbooks are awesome, I already have one
B) I plan to get one soon because they are so cheap
C) They look cool, but I probably won't ever buy one
D) Joe Wilcox is right, the netbook won't be around for long

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The n3 is here!

The n3 802.11n wireless USB adapter from Rokland just launched about 1AM EST, today, July 1st, 2009. We promised a July 1st launch date, and we made sure to deliver. A lot of people have been inquiring about the n3 based on our YouTube previews of the product, so we thought it was appropriate to begin the launch with a 45 second video spot which shows some great images of the item.

The n3 is an 802.11n standard long range WiFi adapter for use with Macs (running OS 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5), as well as PCs with Windows 2000 and later. It features an RP-SMA external antenna port, and it can clip on easily to the back of your laptop LCD. The best thing about this adapter aside from its appearance (it has a nice shiny reflective surface that matches many of today's netbooks and laptops) is the range it gets. We've got some videos on our blog from this past week showing off just what the n3 can do, so be sure to check them out!

I hope you guys have as much fun using the n3 as we did putting it together and getting it launched. We will have some more details regarding use in Linux in the coming weeks, right now for support purposes we are gearing this adapter toward Mac and PC users. While we have launched a number of Rokland branded products in the past, such as the RokAir, the RokN, and most recently the Rok500, this was by far the biggest launch we have done, and we feel this is the best product we have ever offered, both in terms of design and functionality. Please be sure to let us know what you think when you receive your item if you order one, and, if you like it, be sure to let everyone know via sites like Twitter, Digg, Facebook, and StumbleUpon. Thanks!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Alfa AWUS036H 500mw USB vs. Rokland N3 (Alfa killer?) PART II

We have conducted another head to head test of our N3 Wireless 802.11n USB adapter (street date July 1st) and the Alfa AWUS036H 500mW USB adapter.

The video shows the N3 picks up a few more signals than the AWUS036H. This was done on a different computer than the computer used in the previous test. Toward the end of the video is a back-to-back comparison from the screencast. While the N3 is a product made by Rokland, we are providing these tests to demonstrate how well it performs. When we launched the Rok500 500mW USB adapter earlier this year, while it got great range and is a great value, we were up front that it did not beat the Alfa 500mW USB adapter in head to head testing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A look at the N3 802.11n Wireless USB adapter from Rokland (street date 7/1)

The N3 is set to launch July 1st. In this video you can get a look at the item next to the MSI Wind netbook. The surface of the N3 is polished and reflective, very similar to the Wind. It makes for a great looking accessory, but the N3 also packs a punch in the range department. Have a look at this video, and check back within a day for another range comparison test video between the N3 and the Alfa AWUS036H 500mW WiFi USB adapter.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Microsoft seems to take note of Apple's Snow Leopard upgrade offer

Earlier this month Apple announced that the new version of its Mac OS, called Snow Leopard, would be available as an upgrade for just $30. Microsoft is also launching a new operating system this fall- Windows 7. Previous Windows upgrades have been priced around $90-$100. This time Microsoft is offering an upgrade deal at a much lower price.

Over at the Microsoft online store (and a number of retailers according to Microsoft), you can upgrade to Windows 7 for as little as $50 if you pre-order it now. Microsoft says the promotion will run until a preset number of licenses have been sold. No word on what the official number is, but some analysts have predicted the upgrade offer should be available until sometime in July.

One nice thing about the offer is that Microsoft won't actually charge your credit card until the product ships in October, so you don't have to spend the $50 right now. No word on what their cancellation policy is in the event you change your mind about the pre-order come October.

What happened to the Alfa AWUS050NH 802.11n high powered wireless USB adapter?

As you may know, Alfa Networks manufactures the most popular and longest range WiFi product on the market- the AWUS036H 500mW 802.11g wireless USB adapter. Back in March they launched the 802.11n version, the AWUS050NH, to very good reviews. There was some discussion thereafter that while the AWUS050NH worked extremely well with 802.11n routers, the performance with 802.11g routers could be a little better. In June, Alfa discontinued the model in favor of a version 2 of the same model number, to be shipped to distributors instead. The new version has hit some setbacks and is not set to be ready for release until sometime in July.

If you are in the market for this model adapter, it is our understanding direct from Alfa that no retailers have the version 2 unit for sale right now. Alfa did ship a handful of test units to retailers (we did get some and all are gone). Some retailers still have a stock of the version 1 available. The version 1 works very well and is worth buying, but Alfa is touting improved 802.11g functionality on the version 2 model. We received about ten units of the version 2 (they worked great), and know they will be a hit with buyers when they are available in July.

As an authorized Alfa reseller, you can count on us to have the version 2 in stock and ready to ship as soon as Alfa launches them.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

500mW amplifier pen boosters for 2.4 GHz wireless are here!

We now have in stock and ready to ship 500mW pen booster amplifiers for 802.11g wireless equipment. Our boosters have both an RP-SMA male and RP-SMA female connector, so you can immediately install them in between your existing WiFi adapter and antenna (use requires a WiFi adapter that has an RP-SMA external antenna connector).

The kit also includes a converter to RP-TNC if you want to use the device with your wireless router instead. These pen boosters are compatible with all types of USB and PCI WiFi adapters, including the very popular Alfa AWUS036H 500mW USB adapter. When using with the Alfa adapter, you can boost your total max output power up to 1000mW, that's one full watt!

Check out the item description we have for this product, we have a nice comparison graphic showing WiFi range with the AWUS036H adapter and a 2 dBi gain antenna compared to the same setup using this 500mW booster. It gave quite a range boost.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Video of Alfa AWUS036H 500mW USB vs. the N3 from Rokland

Per my blog post last night, yesterday I tested the forthcoming N3 adapter from Rokland for the first time against the Alfa AWUS036H 500mW adapter, and was surprised at the results. I threw together a quick video today to show the difference. I apologize for the quality of the video, we will have some better quality footage of the N3 and the comparison as the launch date nears (July 1st is the projected launch date of the N3). But about 1:03 into the video up until about 1:08 you can see the additional signals appear after the N3 is hooked up to the computer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is the N3 an Alfa 500mW killer?

The Alfa AWUS36H 500mW adapter is the king of WiFi adapters, ask anyone who owns one. When you need long range wireless capabilities, you get the Alfa, end of discussion.

We have been developing a high powered 802.11n standard WiFi adapter called the N3, and physically it is beautiful. The adapter is being designed as a "functionality meets form" type of product that will bring long range wireless to Macs (it also works with Windows and Linux though) and do it in style. I got my hands on one today for the first time and was stunned, completely stunned by the results. At best I expected the adapter to work as good as our Rok500 wireless adapter, which gets great range but not quite as great as the Alfa AWUS036H. I was completely stunned when I hooked up the adapter and picked up several access points I had never seen before. I quickly verified the results using Wireless Monitor, and then hooked up an Alfa AWUS036H to compare. The N3 picked up 13 networks to 10 for the Alfa. I redid the tests and saved the results as images. The N3 also had better signal strength to access points in the same and next room, although the adapters seemed to receive about equally on APs further away. The N3 was not a great deal better than the Alfa, but it was still better, and that says a lot (these tests were done using the factory 2 dBi antennas in each box, as the Alfa 500mw has a higher max output power I am guessing with much higher gain antennas the Alfa would do better, but I will confirm that in later testing). Here are the images. In the next few days I will work to get a video test up here. Click on the image to see it in full size.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Confirmed: Snow Leopard to require Intel Mac

We have confirmed from multiple sources that the new Mac operating system version 10.6, dubbed Snow Leopard, will require a Mac with an Intel processor. This had been rumored for some time, but is now (barring any changes at Apple) a reality.

Snow Leopard launches on September 19th and will be available as an upgrade for just $29.95. For consumers who buy a new Mac between now and then, the upgrade will cost just $9.95.

If you have one of our Mac compatible wireless USB adapters installed on a Mac with an Intel processor, please keep in mind that 10.6 drivers may not be available for your product on the Snow Leopard launch date. Apple does not distribute release candidates of its software to the general public like Microsoft does, and only works with select hardware developers before the official launch date. Therefore most manufacturers must wait until the official launch date of a new Mac OS version before they can begin to develop compatible drivers and work out bugs.

When 10.5 (Leopard) came out in 2007, drivers for most 10.4 compatible WiFi USB adapters were not available for approximately four months. Hopefully the turnaround will be quicker this time, but if you have one of our Mac compatible adapters installed on your 10.5 system and plan on upgrading to Snow Leopard in September or shortly thereafter, your adapter may stop working until 10.6 drivers are available.

It is remotely possible the 10.5 drivers available now may work in 10.6, but we will not know for sure until after the launch date when we have gotten our hands on a Snow Leopard system and get the opportunity to run some tests. As always, any information we have or find will be available here as soon as we get it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Alfa AWUS036H 500mW Wireless USB adapter is Windows 7 RC compatible

Today we are beginning our Windows 7 Release Candidate testing project. In the coming weeks we plan to test many of our products on Windows 7 Release Candidate. It is important to note that because Microsoft may make changes to the final release of Windows 7, compatibility claims in this post are only for Windows 7 Release Candidate. While unlikely, it is possible a product will work in the release candidate, but not in the final version. We don't really anticipate that though given that Microsoft has said that for the most part any hardware that works with Vista will work with Windows 7.

For the first of our tests we hooked up an Alfa AWUS036H 500mW adapter. A popup window appeared on the screen saying Windows could not install the product because there was no driver. The only option given was to find out more information. We clicked on that option and it told us we could try installing software from the maker of the device, which we had planned to do anyhow.

We then ran the Setup.exe program for Windows Vista which is found on the Alfa factory CD inside the Vista folder. The program opened fine, and along the way Windows offered another popup explaining that Windows could not verify the maker of the driver package, and asked if we wanted to continue installing the driver or stop. We continued, of course, and the program completed. At one point it looked like it might have been in a loop, because we did get the same popup from Windows a second time saying the maker of the driver could not be verified. However we continued through the process, and the installation completed. We were then able to go online with the device.

Note: while this likely means that other adapters we have which use the same chipset and driver as the Alfa AWUS036H (such as the AWUS036E and AWUS036EH models from Alfa, and the RokOn, RokAir, and Rok500 adapters from Rokland) should be compatible with Windows 7 RC, due to possible differences in firmware we will test each model and let you know the results here on our blog.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What to do if a driver link is outdated

From time to time we get emails regarding a driver download link from an old blog post or old email that may now be outdated. If you are attempting to locate a driver for a product purchased from Rokland, and the link you have does not work, please check our driver page. If the link on our driver page is outdated, or the product is not listed there, please contact our support department and we will respond with an updated driver link, and also fix the link on our driver page.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Apple Snow Leopard and Windows 7 WiFi Compatibility Information

Will your Apple Macintosh compatible wireless adapter work with the upcoming Snow Leopard release from Apple? Will your Windows compatible adapter work with Windows 7?

As with any new operating system, we can't say for sure until it has been released and we have had a chance to test it. While products can be tested on betas or release candidates, that is not a good indicator of whether they will be compatible with the final version. In most cases, adapters will not be compatible until the chipset maker of the particular wireless adapter releases a new driver package.

Snow Leopard is set for a mid-June launch, and Windows 7 is supposed to be out in time for the holidays this year. Shortly after each one is released, we will get our hands on the new versions and do some testing. The results will of course be posted here on our blog.

We can say from past experience that chipset makers usually focus on making new Windows drivers first before updating their Macintosh drivers. So I guess it is a good thing the two are not launching at the same time. As a guidepost, Leopard 10.5 was released to the public on October 26th, 2007, and 10.5 drivers did not start to become available until late February of 2008. We will be working with the chipset makers to hopefully cut this time frame down a bit, but at the earliest (unless they are really on the ball), we would not expect Snow Leopard drivers to be available before August.

For Windows the turnaround time from the chipset makers is usually faster.

Friday, May 22, 2009

WolframAlpha vs. Google: a fair comparison?

There's been a lot of buzz about a new search engine called WolframAlpha. BusinessWeek wrote about it, covered the launch preparation, and it was even linked to at the top of the Drudge Report, a high-traffic political and news web site.

So we thought we'd check it out.

Just for some background, WolframAlpha is the brain child of British physicist and mathematician Stephen Wolfram, founder of Wolfram Research. Advocates of the site are quick to point out it is not a search engine in the traditional sense. It does not crawl a database of web sites and try to display ones that probably have the information for which you are searching. Instead, it attempts to answer specific fact-based questions primarily with numeric data and information. Some articles have asked if WolframAlpha is a Google killer, but a quick comparison between the two shows that both sites serve a very different purpose.

We did these same four searches at each web site:

distance to moon
mountain view gainesville
mw dbm

Here is what we found:

distance to moon

WolframAlpha: when we searched for the phrase distance to moon at WolframAlpha, the site displayed the extact distance from Earth to the moon in miles, kilometers, and also listed some other numerical information.

Google: When we searched for distance to moon at Google, a web site called UniverseToday was the first result. It contained information similar to the data displayed on the WolframAlpha site, but it was not as direct or straigtforward.

mountain view gainesville

WolframAlpha: In case we ever want to visit Google headquarters, we figured we'd better find out how far away it was (we are located in Gainesville, FL). We purposely omitted extra keywords such as distance or time just to see how WolframAlpha interpreted our search. We were pleasantly surprised that WolframAlpha displayed the populations of Mountain View, CA and Gainesville, FL, as well as the distance between them. There were also options to select different Mountain View towns, such as Mountain View, NC, and different Gainesvilles as well, such as Gainesville, GA. It had some other data too, including the local time and elevations.

Google: When we put in the same terms at Google, the first result was a web page for Mountain View Home Builders of Gainesville, GA, the second was for MountainView racing. It took a little while looking through Google results to find the information we were seeking. Of course, on the flip side, someone living in Gainesville, GA could conceivably have entered in this same query looking for the contact information of Mountain View homebuilders, and would have immediately found what they were looking for on Google. There would be no point for that person to do the same search on WolframAlpha since it is not an index of web sites.


WolframAlpha: Realtek is a company that makes chipsets found in some of the WiFi products we sell. A search for Realtek on WolframAlpha came back with "Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input."

Google: The first result was Realtek's official web site.

mw dbm

WolframAlpha: If you've ever wanted to convert dBm to mW or mW to dBm, you may have gone to a search engine and entered the above terms in order to find a conversion program/calculator. Knowing that WolframAlpha is centered around numeric data and calculations, we thought this would make for a good search. But we got the same result we did for Realtek, which was "Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure what to do with your input".

Google: At Google, the first result was a mW to dBm calculator.

Conclusion: The question has been asked is WolframAlpha really a search engine, and the answer is yes. So is Google, of course. But our comparison today reminds us that the word "search" covers a lot of ground, and that one cannot take a single approach to such a complex area. For a long time the idea of a search engine has been taken to mean a way to find web sites that have the information we need. WolframAlpha is not about taking you to web sites. Instead it attempts to answer questions of fact, questions that can be answered mostly by numbers. You would not use WolframAlpha for all of your searches. It won't be helpful in finding the hours of your local pizzeria or the career rushing yards of Barry Sanders. But it can be useful for other types of queries, much more useful than a traditional search engine like Google.

The biggest question for us is will we remember to use it? Using Google, Yahoo, and other search engines has become so engrained in our minds, that when faced with the need to find an answer about something, we have to wonder if we will stop and say "hey, we are more likely to find the answer we need faster at WolframAlpha than Google". My guess is probably not. And because of that, I doubt that WolframAlpha will ever become a large household search product like Google. But it does have a good chance to become a common name in academics and research, and a useful one at that. It is a step forward, and that is the definition of a technological advancement in its most simplest form.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

New products coming soon...follow us on Twitter for launch information

We have some exciting things happening in May and June. We have some brand new products hitting the market and an open beta release of a new web site project currently in development. Here is what's upcoming:

-A "RokMan 2" (final name undetermined) which is a version of our popular original RokMan adapter for Linux with the added feature of an SMA antenna port.

-A low-cost 802.11n wireless USB adapter with SMA antenna port.

-Am 802.11n USB adapter for Macs that is so small, it is even smaller than the actual USB connector- you'll hardly be able to tell you've got a USB adapter connected to the computer.

You can get up to the minute information on all of our product and service launches by following us on Twitter.

Friday, May 01, 2009

A special note about Alfa AWUS036H 500mW antennas

We've been getting a few emails from potential customers asking how the Alfa 500mw adapter would work with 9 and 12 dBi gain antennas being advertised on some web sites, primarily eBay, for about $5.00 shipped direct from China.

We sell on our web site, and on eBay, an 8 dBi antenna manufactured by Alfa. Alfa does not make a 9 dBi model. The 8 dbi antenna from Alfa has performed very well and received great reviews from customers.

A while back we picked up a few of each type of the aftermarket antennas from various sellers, to take a look at how they compared to the Alfa 8 dBi antenna that we sell. All of the 12 dBi units we purchased were the same size and looked the same as the 9 dBi units we purchased. Additionally, while some of them performed okay, some performed worse than the factory 2 dBi antenna. Similar reports have appeared on some product review web sites. All in all, the 8 dBi antenna made by Alfa performed the best. If you have $5 to spend you can always buy an aftermarket unit from China yourself to do a comparison test, but we did read in some review forums that some customers who had purchased from other places with an aftermarket antenna did not seem to get any better range vs. their internal wifi adapter. They suggested despite other positive reviews of the Alfa adapter that maybe the Alfa adapter was not all it was cracked up to be. More than likely it is the antenna that is the problem.

If you're curious to find out, go ahead and buy an 8 dbi antenna from us that comes from Alfa and give it a whirl. If you do not find it boosts the performance compared to your aftermarket antenna, you can return it to us and we'll mail you a free Alfa carrying case for your trouble (limit 1 case per customer, offer expires 5/31/2009).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Madison Avenue: Enough already!

Real people are facing real problems in this economic climate. Your "funny bailout" ad ideas of 99 cent cheeseburgers, $5.00 pizzas, and "low financing on gas guzzling pickups" aren't helping anyone, and they aren't clever or funny.

That is all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thanks for the articles!

This week we officially launched our RokN generation2 802.11n wireless adapter for Macs. We would like to take a moment to thank the following publications for writing articles about our product to let Mac users everywhere know that low-cost 802.11n functionality for Macs is real and is at!

Thanks for helping us spread the word!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rokland to use for some links

If you have not heard of before, it is a pretty cool service. This is from their web site:

Are you sick of posting URLs in emails only to have it break when sent causing the recipient to have to cut and paste it back together? Then you've come to the right place. By entering in a URL in the text field below, we will create a tiny URL that will not break in email postings and never expires.

One issue our customer service department faces is when providing driver download or spec sheet links to customers, those links are often very long and become broken into many lines in the emails the customers receive, causing them to be unclickable. It can be quite annoying to try and copy and paste a four-line URL into your web browser bar.

TinyURL provides an easy way around this by creating a short redirect link to whatever page we input at It is completely safe, but if you have never heard of before you might wonder why such a link might appear in an email from us.

Of course while it is a wonderful service, no doubt some unkind folks out there will attempt to use TinyURL links to redirect unsuspecting people to spoof web sites. Therefore we are only going to use this redirect service when needed, and only within the following guidelines:

1) We will only use redirect links in replies to emails from you, we will never send you a direct email with a redirect link. We will only include such links in responses to emails you may send us, such as a request for a driver download link.

2) We will never use a redirect link to take you to any page where you are asked to log in or input any personal information.

If you ever receive an unsolicited email that appears to be from us that asks you to follow a TinyURL link to log in to a web page or provide any personal information, please do not follow the link, and please report the email to us.

Also remember to always use safe web browsing practices online. As more and more businesses begin to use services like, remember whenever you click a link in an email (or anywhere for that matter), always check the URL in your browser bar to make sure it is a legitimate web page where you intended to go.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Somewhere Steve Jobs and Linus Torvalds are smiling...

Just when it looked like Microsoft might be strongly combating the Apple and Linux onslaught, they go and do something like this, as described in BusinessWeek magazine:

Because of the smaller size of Windows 7, three versions of the program will come loaded even on lower-end machines. If a consumer on a cheaper PC running the "Standard" version tries to use a high-definition monitor or run more than three software programs at once, he'll discover that neither is possible. Then he'll be prompted to upgrade to the pricier "Home Premium" or "Ultimate" version.

Um, did we not learn anything from the "trialware" experiments?

One reason why Microsoft's competitors have been gaining market share is because Microsoft seems to think they can do anything since customers have no other options and will just have to accept it. That's not the case anymore. I am not a Microsoft-basher and agree they have accomplished amazing things in history. But over time with practices like this, they are going to relegate themselves to history.

Friday, April 10, 2009

RokMan, Rok500, & Alfa AWUS036H 500mW all plug and play in BackTrack 4 (BT4) Linux

We have several wireless adapters available that are all plug and play in BackTrack 3 Linux from The most popular are the RokMan, the Rok500, the RokN generation2, and the Alfa AWUS036H 500mW USB adapter.

Now that Backtrack 4 is in beta, we thought we'd try out these adapters on a machine running BT4, to see how they worked. Here are the results:


-Plug and play in BT4
-We put the device into monitor mode using airmon-ng start wlan0
-Found the device to work in Kismet

Alfa AWUS036H Adapter

-Plug and play in BT4
-We put the device into monitor mode using airmon-ng start wlan0
-Found the device to work in Kismet


-Plug and play in BT4
-We put the device into monitor mode using airmon-ng start wlan0
-Found the device to work in Kismet

RokN generation2

-NOT plug and play in BT4 (is plug and play in BT3 though)
-we did not attempt to build drivers in order to do any additional functionality testing, but the device should work fine with the Linux drivers that ship with this unit on CD. Hopefully the next release of BT4 will support this adapter natively.

*A quick note for those who ran BT3 from a CD and are now running BT4 Beta from a CD- in BT3 WirelessAssistant loaded at startup and came up automatically. In BT4, you must launch KNetworkManager and also open a command and type service NetworkManager start. Note that's NetworkManager with no K in front, and the N & M must be capital. This will allow you to use the RokMan, Alfa, or Rok500 as a wireless adapter for Internet use on BT4.

What Billy Bob's interview teaches us about marketing

If you have not seen this interview with Billy Bob Thornton yet, take a look below (this is the full interview and some of the better stuff does not occur until several minutes in):

I have read a bunch of comments at various blog and news sites either slamming Thornton or the guy interviewing him. Thorton is very unprofessional in the interview, but in Hollywood you can get away with that.

What I took from watching it was twofold. One, I had no idea Billy Bob Thornton was in a band, and now I do. Two, had Thornton behaved normally in the interview there would have been no buzz about it, no YouTube links everywhere, and I still would have no idea Thornton was in a band and getting ready to release a new album. Take it for what it's worth.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Is Microsoft finally striking the right chord?

We've all seen the "I'm a Mac" ads starring Justin Long and John Hodgman. The Mac is young and cool, while the PC is older, boring, and well, uncool. The series has been very effective for Apple, helping increase their market share of both desktops and laptops.

Microsoft's first response was a weird ad featuring Jerry Seinfeld that did not make a lot of sense, and was quickly taken off the air. Then they launched their "I'm a PC" campaign, featuring a diverse group of people announcing that they are "PCs." Better, but not exactly a home run.

Now take a look at this new spot put together by Crispin Porter + Bogusky:

In an economy where almost everyone is tightening the purse strings, do you think Windows has finally countered the great "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" ads, or are Macs just too cool to have to worry about suffering any marketing hits from Bill Gates and company? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Follow Rokland on Twitter

Email mailing lists are a thing of the past. We know it, you know it. As a online shopper myself I know I rarely (if ever) sign up for any company's email newsletter because even if I trust them enough not to give my email address to third parties, I don't really want to be bombarded with daily "sale" emails. Even for companies I love, I also know most of those newsletters get tossed by my junk mail filter before I even see them.

And yet I know I am probably missing out- on great deals and cool new products. For a long time I have wished there was a better way companies I like can keep me informed of what they have going on. Then I figured our own customers at Rokland probably think the same thing. So we are working on doing a couple of things, but the first is Twitter. Twitter allows us to create short and quick posts with links whenever we feel like we have something important to say. A hot product is going on sale for one day only? We've got the latest new 802.11n product from Alfa? Whatever it is, we can say it quickly and provide a link to more information. If you have a Twitter account, you can "follow" us, which means that what we post becomes a part of your master feed at Twitter and you'll be the first to find out about great deals and new items from us. For those who already "tweet", you know how the process works. For those new to the whole concept, be sure to go over to their web site, sign up and "follow" us. If it isn't for you you can always delete your account- the service is free too.

Don't have or don't want a Twitter account? You can still follow all of our "tweets" by going to this web page. Don't forget to bookmark it!

The Rok500 is upon us...aka "We win the clone wars!"

For all those who have been asking for a cheap (but good) alternative to the very popular Alfa AWUS036H 500mW wireless USB adapter, we present to you the Rok500, the newest addition to our product line.

We've been working on this for a while as some of you may know. There were a number of things we wanted to make sure went into this adapter, primarily the right chipset. The first prototype came to us in November of last year and we have been retooling it to get what we want, and we've finally got it! The Rok500 is a high powered 500mW USB adapter that has a similar palm-style form factor to the Alfa 500mw adapter, and unlike most all Alfa "clones" on the market, the Rok500 has the coveted Realtek RT-8187L chipset, not the weaker 8187B version found in a number of other 500mW adapters such as the Gsky (there are also other palm-style adapters out there on the market with a nearly identical black casing to this one that also have the 8187B chip, so always check the specs before your buy).

We won't mince words though- if you are looking for the longest range and cost is not an issue, buy the Alfa 500mw adapter. The Rok500 works better than those 8187B-chip look-alikes out there, but it is not better than the Alfa 500mw. We'll have some comparison tests forthcoming. It is however a great low cost alternative for those who need a good long range solution but are on a budget. Because it has the 8187L chipset, like the Alfa 500mW adapter it is plug and play in Backtrack 3 Linux and also works with Kismac (for Kismac you cannot install the Apple device drivers for this to use it as a regular Internet adapter on your Mac- if you do it will no longer work with Kismac- this is a limitation to USB support from Kismac, not a limitation of this adapter).

It's also got a cool carrying case that can hold the adapter, the antenna, and the USB cable, and easily slips into your laptop carrying case. All this for the same price as those clones- well, I think I can say we win the clone wars for now, but it's back to work for us as we work on the newest and next big thing!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's here: Alfa 500mW 802.11n Wireless USB Adapter, model AWUS050NH

It's finally here- the much anticipated 802.11n wireless USB adapter from Alfa with 500mW of output power! The model number is AWUS050NH.

For the last two years, whenever someone has asked what is the best wireless adapter available for long range use, we have always said without hesitation the 802.11g 500mw adapter from Alfa- model AWUS036H. Of course now that the latest wireless standard 802.11n is available, we have heard many people say "wow, I sure wish Alfa would develop an 802.11n-compatible high powered adapter!"

They have, and they have done one heckuva job too. With the new Wireless-N AWUS050NH model, you sacrifice no power- you get the same stunning 500mW that came with the 802.11g model, but you get a built-in print antenna which altogether allows the device dual-band functionality (also works with the 802.11a standard), MIMO capabilities, and 802.11n compatibility. 802.11n offers speeds up to 300 mbps and ranges up to 6X greater than standard 802.11g devices (faster speeds and longer ranges require use with an 802.11n standard router or access point- this is backward compatible with 802.11g but will perform like the AWUS036H model when used with an 802.11g standard router).

Alfa also demonstrated why they are the #1 manufacturer of long range wireless networking technology- they have added a bonus mounting holder that you can use to easily mount the device on any window and even the back of most laptops. A simple suction cup on the back means easy transfer of the mounting holder from one place to another, no messy residues from adhesives, and no tricky screw or bracket devices that require installation.

The AWUS050NH 500mW 802.11n long range WiFi adapter from Alfa is simply the "everything" adapter. It works with virtually all modern operating systems, any computer (laptop or desktop) with a USB port, and ALL FOUR major wireless standards- 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. It is portable yet powerful, 500mW of max output power means you can actually take advantage of high gain outdoor antennas.

And best of all, we've got the adapter at a low introductory price, so grab one now, these will no doubt be sold out and on backorder soon due to extremely high demand.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Price cut alert: 802.11n for less than $20

Get a brand new 802.11n wireless USB adapter for your laptop or desktop computer for just $19.97. Click here.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Use your Alfa 500mW AWUS036H and RokAir USB adapters with Kismac

Back in October we posted about using your RokAir wireless USB adapter with Kismac. We want to provide some more details on how to do that. Because the RokAir uses the same chipset as the Alfa 500mW AWUS036H adapter, the process is the same for both adapters.

If you just want to use one of these adapters with Kismac, and not as a wireless adapter for Internet access, the process is extremely easy. Simply download Kismac trunk R319, connect the adapter to a USB port, then launch Kismac. When Kismac opens, click on the KisMAC menu in the top left and select Preferences. On the screen that appears, if you see any devices already listed under Capture Devices, you can leave them or remove them. But you do need to add your USB device. To do so, click on the drop down menu next to the Remove button and select USB RTL8187 device. Then click the Add button to the right of the drop down menu. You can click the box next to "use as primary device" under the injection heading if you have more than one Kismac compatible device and want this to be the primary. Otherwise leave the box unchecked. Now you should see USB RTL8187 device in the Capture Devices list. Close this window so that you are back in Kismac. Now click where it says Start Scan in the bottom right.

It is noted in the Kismac support documentation that the software will not work with USB devices if you have the device drivers for the device installed on your Mac, and this is correct. If you want to also use your RokAir or Alfa USB WiFi adapter for Internet access, one you have installed the drivers for them, you will have to uninstall them in order to use the device in Kismac, and then reinstall them when you want to use the device for Internet access again. Inconvenient? Indeed. But those are the limitations of the the compatibility between Kismac and all Kismac-compatible WiFi USB adapters out there at present. If you have already installed the driver software for your adapter and need to uninstall it, locate the Mac software CD that came with your device or that you downloaded. If you cannot locate it, download the latest version here for 10.3 and here for 10.4 or 10.5 Leopard. Run the installer program and open the folder for your operating system. Then run the file called realtek USB WLAN Uninstall.command. This will open a terminal window and prompt you for your system password. Enter it and then the terminal will uninstall the device from the computer. Once that is done, reboot the computer without the device connected. When it reloads you can connect the adapter and you should be able to use Kismac. Before scanning be sure to add the device as your scanning device in Kismac (see paragraph two above). Based on our own use we found sometimes it was necessary to run the uninstall command a second time before the device would work in Kismac. If there is a problem, what will happen is that Kismac will hang for more than 20 seconds when you click on the Start Scan button. Then you know something is wrong and will need to force quit Kismac and proceed to troubleshoot.

More convenient is to buy a separate USB WiFi device that is not Kismac compatible and use that for Internet access. This eliminates the need for having to uninstall and reinstall drivers when you want to use Kismac. This would be ideal if your primary purpose of wanting to use your Alfa 500mw or RokAir adapter is for use in Kismac. We recommend getting the RokIt Wireless USB adapter for Internet use as this device is not Kismac compatible.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Oh Microsoft, you crack me up...

While I understand the significant contributions Microsoft has made to technology over the years, there is no question they are the Wayne Szalinski (Google it) of the computer industry. Rather than simply putting toast into the toaster, Microsoft designs lengthy and time consuming devices to do the same thing. They write memory-hogging programs that require SQL Server running in the background (taking up nearly a gigabyte right there) to do something other programs can do with half the processing power and a quarter of the RAM.

Case in point was an email response I received from a Microsoft technician today regarding a software issue. Here is the text from the top of the response:

The following is an email for a support case from Microsoft Corp. DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE--your email will not be added to the case if you do.  Instead, FORWARD your response to the email address COMPMAIL@MICROSOFT.COM and place your text after the keyword 'MESSAGE:'.  Also, delete all other text above and below the keywords 'CASE_ID_NUM: SRnnn' and 'MESSAGE:' to ensure proper delivery of your email.  Thank you.

I think I need to contact a Microsoft technician to figure out how to properly respond to their email. At least it was good for a laugh.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Alfa AWUS036EH vs. Gsky 500mw USB adapter

And now begins our second round of Alfa vs. Gsky wireless testing. After we posted this comparison of the Alfa 500mw adapter vs. a Gsky 500mw adapter a few weeks ago, we have been getting a number of requests for more tests. Several readers asked how the Alfa 300mw adapter (model AWUS036EH) stacked up against the Gsky 500mw adapter (since the Gsky did not come out as well as the Alfa 500mw adapter). For full results in PDF format, including images, click here.

To summarize what's in the PDF file, the Alfa 300mw adapter performed slightly better in terms of range and signal strength. The difference was nowhere near as great as it was with the Alfa 500mw adapter in our previous test. This time the Gsky came fairly close. How is this possible considering the Gsky adapter has 500mw of output compared to 300mw for the Alfa AWUS036EH? The answer is two-fold. First, 300 and 500 are the respective numbers of the maximum output for each adapter. In most environments with most antennas, adapters will not be operating at their maximum output power. While the output power does make a difference, one thing often overlooked is chipset. The Alfa 300mw adapter has the same Realtek chipset as the Alfa 500mw adapter. The Gsky uses a less-sensitive version of a Realtek chipset.

Let's take a look at the sensitivity numbers. In this case, the Alfa 300mw adapter has the following receive sensitivity (the numbers recorded are negative, so in this case the lower the better, as such, -90 means greater sensitivity than -80):

11 mbps -86 dBm at 8% packet size
54 mbps -68 dBm at 10%

The numbers for the Gsky are:

11 mbps -82 dBm at 8%
54 mbps -65 dBm at 10%

The Alfa 300mw has the edge at both transmission rates, though the margin is not as great as it was between the Alfa 500mw and the Gsky. At the time of this writing, when factoring in shipping options the Alfa 300mw adapter is about $5.00 less than the Gsky.

Alfa AWUS036E vs. Alfa AWUS036EH vs. Alfa AWUS036S (Ralink) USB adapter

We completed a comparison test that offers a look at three adapters from Alfa, the 50mw AWUS036E (that number is fifty, not to be mistaken with the 500mw AWUS036H model), the 300mw AWUS036EH, and the 80mw AWUS036S which has a Ralink chipset. The full results of our test can be viewed in PDF format here.

There were no big surprises. The winner was the AWUS036EH 300mw model which has the same chipset as the AWUS036E 50mw model, but more output power. The AWUS036S has a different chipset, a chip from Ralink. The chip proved to be less sensitive, but the range was pretty good. At the time of this writing the 50mw AWUS036E model from Alfa is about $5.00 cheaper than the 300mw AWUS036EH model, which in turn is about the same price as the 80mw AWUS036S model. So if you are looking for the best range of the three and the best sensitivity, the AWUS036EH model is no doubt the way to go. If you are on a budget and need a good quality adapter with external antenna port and don't need piles of output power, the AWUS036E model is a great option. We would recommend the AWUS036SS model to those folks who specifically need a Ralink chipset.