If you frequently work with PDAs, you've probably heard the speech a few times (and maybe you've even given it yourself): "PDAs with built-in WiFi are available in both 802.11b and 802.11g models, but add-on WiFi cards for PDAs are only available in 802.11b versions." However, like so many items in the computer industry, this speech is now obsolete, and the first 802.11g SDIO WiFi cards have arrived. Just Mobile's SD WiFi 802.11g card doesn't add any bells, whistles, or colorful diagrams to your Windows Mobile device—it just gets the job done with impressive performance and stability.
The 802.11b standard supported a maximum data transfer rate of 11 Mbps; by contrast, the newer 802.11g standard supports up to 54 Mbps. Indeed, the Just Mobile card easily outpaced the Socket E300 (an 802.11b SD card) in DSLReports' speed test, scoring 1253 Kbps versus the E300's 540 Kbps when used with my iPaq 1940 with the same wireless network that I used to test the E300. Still, the fact is that even the 11 Mbps maximum theoretical bandwidth of 802.11b can provide web data faster than most PDAs can render it, and faster than many DSL connections can provide it. However, it is still worthwhile to use an 802.11g card, even with a PDA, since using an 802.11b card to connect to an 802.11g network can potentially slow down the entire network. (Since 802.11g is backward compatible in both directions, you can still use the Just Mobile card to connect to 802.11b-only networks.) Moreover, I actually did perceive a performance increase over 802.11b cards when using the Just Mobile to surf the web from my iPaq. You might also someday find yourself dealing with a stubborn IT manager who does not allow the use of older standards.
The user experience with the Just Mobile card is also quite straightforward. The driver is included only on a "pocket CD" and doesn't appear to be available on the company's web site either, but once you load the CAB file onto a Windows Mobile device running PocketPC 2002 or later (including Windows Mobile 5), you can simply install it, reset the device, and start using the card. The CAB does not install any new application programs or modify the user interface on 2003 and newer, nor does it need to; you can configure the card and connect to networks using the Wireless Zero Configuration utility (WZC) built into Windows Mobile. The WZC isn't perfect (it is from Microsoft, after all), but it gets the job done and is not difficult to use.
The Just Mobile 802.11g SD card supports open networks, as well as networks protected with WEP, WPA1, or, WPA2 security. Impressively, I was able to use WPA successfully even on my HP iPaq 1940, a device based on Windows Mobile 2003 First Edition that only supports WPA via HP's proprietary update. HP's WPA add-on is sometimes inconsistent and hasn't always worked correctly with previous WiFi cards I have tested.
Although the card is one of the first SD WiFi cards available to support 802.11g, it maintains an ultra-compact form factor, sticking out of your PDA slot by only a couple of millimeters. The card is actually almost exactly the same size and form factor as Socket's P300 Go Wi-Fi SD card, right down to the LED activity indicator. Just Mobile has answered the prayers of many users by including a plastic case designed for the card—so you can save your Tic-Tac containers and other homemade solutions for something else.
Just Mobile: It Just Works
Using the Just Mobile SDIO WiFi 802.11b/g card is almost difficult to describe, simply because there is almost nothing to do—just install the driver, insert the card, and find a hotspot. In spite of this simplicity, the card's reliability and compatibility still exceed those of WiFi cards from many of the better-known brands. If you would like to add WiFi to your Pocket PC, the Just Mobile card is a good choice.
Fast and stable performance
Compact form factor
Impressive support for WPA and 802.11g
Easy to install and use
Includes case for card
Obtaining driver may be difficult due to the use of a pocket CD and the company's limited web site. Not many US retailers offer the card.