The Netgear model WNCE2001 universal WiFi internet adapter is a single-port Ethernet to WiFi bridge. It adds WiFi to a wired computer, radio, TV, or any device that has only a wired connection. Handy adapter thus. So here, we review the Netgear WNCE2001, that’s still quite useful today.
Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter Intro
It links Ethernet-bound PCs, internet radios, corded VoIP phones, smart TVs, et al, to a distant WiFi internet router via its bridge link. With this, connect two local area networks (LANs) via a WiFi link. Handy when you cannot run Ethernet cables between them.
For the simplest setup, the LAN hosted by this device, should not have other routers on it. No DHCP. No DNS. The wired device plugged into the single Ethernet port on the WNCE2001 gets all these services from the main LAN, via the WiFi link. This universal internet adapter connects to a WiFi network as a client. It then grants access to the resources offered by that network, via its LAN port.
We bought the Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi adapter to add Wifi to a wired-only internet radio, so we could listen to it anywhere within the range of our WiFi network. With the WNCE2001, no need to run a CAT 5 cable to it.
While this meant giving up some network speed as well as added slowness to all net requests that went over the wireless link, the WNCE2001 worked as stated in its guides. Highly useful device.
Benefits, Features, Pros, and Advantages of the Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter
Straight Forward Setup Instructions
Comes with well-illustrated startup instructions, and Netgear also posts a complete users guide on their support website. See the References section below for links.
Two Internal Antennas
No external antennas to loosen, flop over, or lose. Simplifies setup too, when you don’t have to spend time attaching removable external antennae, enhancing the portability of the WNCE2001.
Only Two Buttons
Both the RESET and the WPS activation button are located on the back panel. No power ON / OFF switch.
The Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter Can be USB Powered
The Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi adapter draws so little current (1 amp max) that you can power it from a USB port on a computer, or via a USB wall adapter. Both power options are provided.
Included Power Adapter
The unit also comes with its own power supply, when USB power is not available. It’s the Netgear I.T.E. power supply, part number 332-10291-01, model number MU05-J050100-A1, Input: 120-240 volts AC, 50-60 Hz., 0.3A; Output: 5 VDC, 1A; Efficiency level V; positive tip.
Wireless G WiFi Speeds
Connected to an 802.11g (wireless G) network, throughput data rates at this bridge’s Ethernet ports can reach 54 Mbps.
WiFi Protected Setup (WPS)
You may connect this Ethernet-to-WiFi bridge to any WPS enabled wireless network.
The Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter Has a Bridging Function
You can connect Ethernet-based devices like wired internet radios, desktop computers, and DVRs to your main WAP, through the Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi adapter. Great for bringing internet into a remote office that is too far away to run Ethernet cable to.
- The power lamp glows blinks green and amber during boot up, and solid green after successful booting completes. A solid red glow indicates insufficient power from either the USB or adapter supply source.
- The LAN light, illuminates when the back-panel Ethernet port is connected to a working wired device.
- Finally, the WLAN (Wi-Fi) Status lamp glows solid green only when the WES610 has successfully connected as a client to an in-range Wi-Fi network, and the signal strength is excellent to good. It blinks green and amber when the signal is weak but still useable. No Wi-Fi connection, and the light remains dark. Note that no light on the WNCE2001 flashes when data flows across the link.
One Back Panel Ethernet Port
This single wired connection supplies a single client device. Feed a network switch switch or hub, to add more than one wired devices.
Works from Any In-Range Location
To extend your LAN in a different direction, you simply move the Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi adapter closer to where you need LAN access, such as into a remote office location that is still in-range of your primary WiFi network. Once set up, it will access your primary WiFi so long as that WAP remains in range and is broadcasting.
The Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter is Portable
This unit fits easily into the palm of your hand, as shown below. That makes for easy moving and storage. You just unplug it from the AC outlet, disconnect the LAN cables, take it where you need LAN service, and connect it up there.
Provides Secured WiFi Link Options
The wireless link back to the primary WiFi network on the LAN being bridged, can (and should) be fully secured. The WNCE2001 can connect to WiFi nets using the WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security options.
No fans inside to draw in dust and make noise. We noted lukewarm temps on the case while the WNCE2001 operates.
Fast Boot Up
The WNCE2001 links to the primary WiFi in less than 45 seconds after power on. The green WLAN lamp shown in the picture above, lights when the wireless link comes online.
Front Panel Lights Bright Enough but Not Too Bright
All lamps glow without flashing during normal operation. Flashing occurs only during boot-up or when the wireless signal is too weak.
Looks like a PC Card (remember them?). The case appears to be made of strong plastic. Pretty rugged. Network devices made of a solid, heavy metal build impresses us most though. We like the high shielding against outside signals it provides. A metal case might have been better here, but the plastic case does not seem to degrade bridge operation.
The Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter Has an Easy to Use Admin Web Site
We paid about $50 for ours. It’s fairly cheap.
Cons, Problems, Concerns, Drawbacks, and Limitations of the Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter
Not a Full Router
This is a Ethernet-to-Ethernet WiFi bridge only. It does not…
- Assign IP addresses to local devices.
- Perform network address translation (NAT).
- Provide DNS or firewall functions.
Instead, it passes any requests for these services, via the primary WiFi network, to the primary LAN.
No WiFi Range Extending
Range extension is beyond the purview of this Linksys device. Most extenders provide the Ethernet bridging function, such as the Belkin N600 F9K1106v1 Dual Band Range Extender does. But his one, do not. So it does not offer secondary WiFi networks. So you cannot connect to its local side wirelessly.
This is the big difference between a wireless LAN bridge (like this one), and a WiFi range extender. But if you had an extra wireless access point (WAP), you could convert this device into a range extender. How? Add that WAP to local side of the Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi adapter. You could also add an Ethernet hub or switch to gain more LAN ports, as it only offers one RJ45 port. We found this bridge to be a handy networking solution for those hard-to-wire places, where a bit of speed loss is okay.
The Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter Has Too Few Top Panel Status Lamps
The three lamps given are a great start. Indeed they would be enough, if they’d just blink when the WNCE2001 passes data to and from the WiFi link.
No Gigabit Ethernet Support
At best, the RJ45 port on the back provide 100 Mbps (Fast Ethernet) speeds. No 1000Base-T. Thus, this limits data throughput in this device. It could impact HD video streaming especially.
Neither Wireless N Nor AC Support
The best WiFi speed you get with this adapter is 54 Mbps (Wireless G). Plus, that speed may slow further by more distance from your primary router. Radio frequency interference (RFI) in your area can reduce data speeds as well.
No Dual Band Support
Thus, you cannot link to a 5 Ghz. based WiFi network. The WNCE2001 only talks and listens on 2.4 Ghz.
Our Rating for this Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter
This Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi adapter is quite portable. It’s small, and lightweight, yet encompasses the best of “set it and forget it” operation. Once set up, just position it away somewhere if you never care to check the three status lamps, but still close enough to where you need Ethernet connectivity provided by it (office desktop, laptop, or that Internet radio in the man cave). For most casual Internet adapter users, actually seeing the WNCE2001 frequently is not required.
If the client device is successfully connecting to your Internet service and other devices on your local area network, then this WNCE2001 is working fine. We’ve never seen it lock up or crash, and it seems to recover well from Wi-Fi network outages. It automatically reconnects when the hosting link comes back online. Definitely slower performance than when connected directly via LAN cable to the primary net, but still highly useable; especially in areas where a CAT-5 cable from the primary LAN cannot reach your client device.
This unit therefore, does what it claims to do, and we tuck a couple of them in our network troubleshooting toolbox. So we rate it at 96 out of 100. While for all you speed demons, we always recommend direct connections, network transceivers like the WNCE2001 can provide decently fast network connectivity to wired devices in places where it’s not practical to run Ethernet cables from your main router.
Firmware Versions Tested on the Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter
The comments in this review were derived from the WNCE2001 running the following firmware version(s):
- Firmware version: V126.96.36.199NA; GUI language version: V188.8.131.52
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References for this Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter Review
- 2019-05-10: Added targeting for ‘Netgear WNCE2001 WiFi Adapter’, removed ad code, and added tags.
- 2015-10-18: Added appropriate tags.
- 2015-09-16: Originally published.