PDA, Notebook and Phone Reviews and buyers guide

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Access Points:

D-Link Pocket Router/AP


Palm OS:

Enfora Wireless Portfolio

PalmOne SD WiFi Card for the Tungsten T5, Tungsten T3, Tungsten E2 and Zire 72

SanDisk SD WiFi Card (Zire 71 only)

Sony WL100 WiFi CF Card for Clié

Windows Mobile, Pocket PC:

AmbiCom WL1100C type I CF card

Belkin type II CF card

D-Link 650W type II CF card

Linksys WCF12 type I card

Linksys WCF11 type II CF card

Mobis Just Mobile 802.11b/g SD card

SanDisk SD WiFi Card

SanDisk SD WiFi Card + 256 megs RAM

SanDisk Connect Plus CF WiFi + 128MB memory

SMC 2642W type II CF card

Socket P300 Go WiFi! SD card

Socket Communications LAN type I CF card

Socket SDIO WiFi Card

Spectec miniSD WiFi Card new!


WiFi (802.11b) Networking for your PDA

SMC Networks SMC2642W WiFi type II CF card for Pocket PC

SMC is one of the big players in the networking business. I'm thrilled to see them enter the Pocket PC area since they make excellent products. The 2642W CF card has the best range of any WiFi CF card I've tested, which puts it on my short list. It will also work with the iPAQ 2215 running Pocket PC 2003 OS. Though the current driver isn't for Pocket PC 2003, it works fine, minus the Zero Configuration network feature of Pocket PC 2003.

SMC claims this card has a 700 foot range in an open environment, and while like most manufacturers' claims, this is a bit optimistic, I did get about 30% more range out of this card than any other. Keep in mind the average range of an access point is about 150 feet. I was able to walk outside our offices and maintain a connection to our Apple AirPort (not famous for its long range) through walls about 100 feet. What's even nicer is that it doesn't suck an inordinate amount of power or have a huge antenna cap to get that range.

SMC 2642W WiFi 802.11.b network CF card

Given the strong range of this card, it'd make a great companion for anyone who travels frequently and needs to pick up WiFi access points that may be weak or hard to find with other cards. That said, I do wish the wireless application for Pocket PC listed access points within range (site survey). It's hard to do wardriving without this, and this would otherwise be the perfect device for sniffing networks.

The card is a type II CF card that's compatible with Pocket PCs and Handheld PCs that have a type II slot as well as notebooks running Windows 98/ME/NT/2000 and XP. Drivers are included on the companion CD for all these. You can use any type II to PCMCIA adapter to use the card in a notebook. SMC also offers a version of this card that includes the adapter (SMC2645W).

The CD comes with setup applications for Windows CE (Pocket PCs and Handheld PCs) and Windows notebooks. There's a detailed pdf manual and a printed manual that describes installation and setup for each OS. Installation on Pocket PC and the notebook was straightforward: select your target (PDA or notebook), launch the installer and it'll install the driver and wireless utility on your PDA or notebook.

Once the software is installed on your Pocket PC, do a soft reset to reboot the PDA and you're ready to configure your network connection. Like most cards, you'll specify whether you want to use DHCP or an assigned IP address using the Pocket PC's connection manager. To change other settings, you'll use the "Wireless LAN Settings" app that's installed in your Settings group under the system tab. Here you'll see tabs for status, Configuration, Link and Security. If you're using a base station that doesn't use WEP and your network is DHCP, you probably won't even have to touch the wireless utility.

Status tells you the name of the access point to which your PDA is currently connected, link quality (quality of data being transmitted), signal level, and more. The configuration tab lets you select between auto discovery and connection to an access point or specifying your own (you'll need to specify your base station's name if it's set to not broadcast its availability). You'll also specify if you wish to connect via infrastructure or ad hoc, change the Tx rate if you wish and enable or disable power savings. The Link tab, despite it's name, doesn't show you link status, but rather allows you to enter an IP address to ping if you want to test your card. The Security tab is where you'll turn on WEP encryption. You can use 64 bit or 128 bit encryption, choose between shared key or open system, and enter your key in either character or hex format.


This is a great card for the money! Great range from the 14dBm antenna, which surpasses other cards I've tested. Setup and installation are straightforward. I only wish it offered site survey so that one could see a list of available networks.

Web site: SMC Networks




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