Hawking has been around a while, and while most laptops have built in WiFi, they may not have Draft N or 802.11N. You may also have a desktop without WiFi that you want a Internet connection on without using Ethernet; this may fit the bill.
As you can see, with exception of the antenna the adapter is a little bigger than most thumb drives. The external connector allows you to also exchange the included antenna with another antenna, to extend your range further.
I found that the included antenna has decent range. Where my internal card was seeing strengths around 70-80 percent, the Hawking adapter definitely had better reception.
Throughput was good, even on my mixed 802.11 G/N network. With that said, due to local variances in your house, you may see different throughput values.
By far, the most useful feature of the HWUN3 is the ability to have a different antenna for different situations. I would likely us something like this when traveling to boost the sometimes mediocre hotel wireless to usable levels.
The HWUN3 is advertised to only have Windows and Mac support. I tried to get it to work on Linux, but was unable to get it working; I was close, though. It’s a Ralink chipset, and there is a driver for it, but Ubuntu did not recognize it. I tested it by passing the USB port to my Windows XP Pro VM, running in Virtual Box. It won’t be long before this adapter has Linux support.
The Hawking HWUN3 is available from Amazon.com for $58.45 which is a steal for this adapter.
What I liked: With the adapter being USB based, it makes it possible to use on laptops and desktops. Linux support should be just around the corner on this adapter. I also liked the ability to switch antennas.
What needs improvement: Not much. Would like out of the box Linux support with something like this. It could see mass adoption by hackers trying to build links between two buildings, or even for wardriving if it had this support. Not saying Windows or Mac users don’t do those things, just that Linux users seem more apt to want to do them.