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Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tiny and useful. Working with Debian 7, Windows XP, and Windows 7 64-bit, 8 Jan. 2014
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I bought the TP-LINK TL-WN725N Nano adapter for its wireless N capability as my Asus EeePC 1001P only has wireless b/g built-in and I recently bought a TP-Link TL-WDR3600 N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit CABLE Router (2 UBS Ports for Storage Sharing, Media/Print Server, IPv6). My EeePC runs Windows XP and Debian 7.

It turns out that the TP-LINK TL-WN725N comes in two versions, V1 and V2. They look identical but use different wireless chips. If you get a V1 it will work out of the box in any typical Linux based operating system. If you get V2 you will need to build and install a driver module. Luckily this is very easy. You can find some information on the V2 at wikidevi.com/wiki/TP-LINK_TL-WN725N_v2 and download a driver and see install instructions at github.com/lwfinger/rtl8188eu.

Building and installing the driver just takes a couple of commands and a few minutes. You need kernel headers installed and make and gcc (and optionally checkinstall). Unpack the driver archive, cd into the directory and run `make all`, then as root or using sudo run 'checkinstall --pkgname=rtl8188eu --pkgversion="1:$(date +%Y%m%d)-git"` if you like checkinstall and `make install` if you prefer not to use it. If using checkinstall that should build a versioned, dated package and install the driver, copy the firmware to the right place and do so such that your OS package manager knows about it so you can uninstall it cleanly, upgrade without issues, or use the driver and firmware package on other computers running the same OS and hardware.

Even on my low power EeePC this only took a couple of minutes. Once it was done I reconnected the TP-LINK Nano to a USB port and immediately the device became available in Network Manager and I connected to my N network without any issue.

My next task was to try the Nano in Windows XP. The Nano comes with a mini-CD containing Windows drivers and utilities but the EeePC doesn't have a CD drive so I downloaded the same driver pack from the manufacturer's web site and unzipped it. On connecting the Nano to a USB port Windows detects the device and offers to check Windows Update, search for a driver and install one automatically if found. I was interested to see if this convenient feature would succeed so went ahead. It couldn't find a driver but instead hardware wizard hung and had to be force closed via Task manager. Doh! I restarted the "Found New Hardware Wizard" and this time specified where to look. It failed again and again had to be forced closed. Next I used TP-Link's setup utility and selected to install only the driver (no extra software). This worked fine, at which point Windows' "Found New Hardware Wizard" launched itself and got in the bl***y way. Anyway the driver installed successfully and the wireless interface appeared in the system tray and I connected to my N router. Success!

It's been a very long time since I connected anything to a Debian PC and found there wasn't a driver or firmware automatically loaded or easily available so at first I was a bit worried I might run into problems. Actually the driver build and install is really easy and quick and didn't take any longer than faffing around with XP's hit and miss new hardware wizard. If you run Windows XP just use the TP-Link setup application and save yourself a few minutes of aggravation or tedium. I believe Windows 7 will manage this all much more competently but haven't tried it myself.

The Nano seems fine to me. I like that TP-Link's set up utility allows you to install either the driver only or the driver with TP-Link's utilities. The Nano is very good value and tiny enough that it can stay permanently in place even while my EeePC is in a snug case, and I can now set my wireless router to use N instead of B/G and get better speeds on all clients.

edit: I just tried it with a clean install of Windows 7 64-bit. I downloaded the driver from TP-Link, ran the setup and the Nano works perfectly. Whichever operating system I use the Nano reliably connects to my N network at a nominal 150 mbps. I get very good speeds, almost as good as using a wired 100 mbps LAN, so this is great for file transfers and streaming 720p video and similar tasks which had sometimes been slow and frustrating with wireless g.
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Location: Brighton

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