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SoundBlaster Wireless Music Features & Setup

With SoundBlaster Wireless Music (SBWM), you can wirelessly stream digital music from your computer to standalone amplified speakers or a home stereo system. The concept is essentially the same as with the Squeezebox - music is on your PC and can be played on your stereo in high fidelity. The SBWM is made up of a Receiver, an RF Remote, and software applications.

To get things rolling, you will need a machine that comes from the land of Bill - Microsoft Windows XP / Me / 2000 or 98 SE. You'll also need a computer with a USB port for installation and configuration, since the SBWM does not include an Ethernet interface, an unfortunate choice in my opinion. Wireless networking is wonderful, but let's face it, doesn't always deliver on its promise of wonderfulness. Including an Ethernet jack (and browser-based user interface) would have expanded users' networking options for not a lot, if any, incremental cost.

The box states that the unit is 802.11b/g compatible, which might lead the unwary to think that an 802.11g chipset is actually included. But rest assured, like the Squeezebox, the unit is only 802.11b. You can run it on an 802.11g network because 802.11g is compliant with 802.11b and falls back operating as an 802.11b wireless network automatically (unless you have specifically told your wireless router to only use the "g-only"settings). Also like the Squeezebox, the SBWM uses only 64-bit or 128-bit WEP encryption for wireless security with WPA not supported.

Both the SBWM and the Squeezebox are capable of supporting multiple receivers, each reading the same music store. This feature is great if you live in a large house (or work in an office) and want to have a receiver in each room. Be sure you set up multiple SBWM's one at a time, or you could run into avoidable problems.

As I mentioned above you'll need to connect the SBWM to a Windows computer to set it up and Creative includes a USB cable to mate your PC's normal-sized USB jack to the SBWM's mini version (Figure 12). Once the unit is set up, you can choose to use either the RCA analog stereo outputs or the SPDIF digital optical output to move music from the SBWM to your stereo.

Ins and Outs

Figure 11: Ins and Outs

Sound Blaster provides a Windows-based application (Figure 13) for network setup. From the application you can check if your network is listed, scan for SSIDs that are available or type in the SSID of the network you want to connect to. The app is also used to assign an IP address to the SBWM

Network Setup

Figure 12: Network Setup

If your network is WEP encrypted, you'll need to also enter the encryption information in Network Setup app, which fortunately doesn't force you to enter keys in hexadecimal. However, if you decide to use WEP, you'll need to set your AP or wireless router to use "open" mode, since "shared key" mode is not supported.

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