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Access Points:

D-Link Pocket Router/AP

WiFlyer

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

Belkin PDA Network Card: WiFi CF type II Card for Pocket PC
Posted August 22, 2003 by Lisa Gade, Editor-in-Chief

Belkin makes all sorts of affordable, high quality networking products for PDAs. Their WiFi 802.11b CF type II wireless network card works with Pocket PCs running Windows CE 3.0 through Pocket PC 2002 that have a type II CF slot. The card has a mid-sized antenna cap and offers good range and a standard 802.11b feature set.

Belkin CFWiFi 802.11.b network card

Installation and Drivers

We tested the card with the Dell Axim X5 running Pocket PC 2002 OS (Pocket PC 2003 drivers are expected by the end of September 2003) and the NEC MobilePro 900 running Handheld PC 2000 (WinCE 3.0) OS. To install the driver, simply connect your PDA and insert the Belkin CD. The installer has options to install the driver (it will automatically detect your device type and Pocket PC OS version), remove the driver, and read the online manual. A good printed manual is also included with the card, as is a protective jewel case. Once you've installed the driver, you'll see a wireless icon on the taskbar whenever you insert the card. You can run the Belkin configuration program by tapping on this icon, or by selecting the Wireless Config Utility icon located under Settings.

Configuration on Pocket PC 2002 and Handheld PC 2000 (Windows CE 3.0) PDAs is similar to most other WiFi cards. You'll set DHCP and DNS info (if necessary) in the Pocket PC's Connection Manager under the Settings group, then use the Belkin Wireless Utility to set WEP encryption, SSID, check link strength and etcetera. The installer puts a connection status icon in the taskbar that turns green if you're in range of a WiFi network access point and red if you've moved out of range. The card has a single LED that blinks when its looking for a network and is solid when in range of a network.

The Belkin Wireless Configuration utility uses a tabbed interface, and it has tabs for Configuration, Encryption, Link and About. If you're using a WiFi network that broadcasts its availability and doesn't use encryption, then you likely won't have to change any settings. The Configuration tab allows you to create profiles for different wireless networks (handy if you travel or use several WiFi networks) and specify the SSID (access point name), mode (infrastructure or ad hoc) transmit rate (auto, 11 mpbs, 5.5 mpbs and etc) and power saving settings for each profile. The Encryption screen is where you'll enter your encryption key, if necessary. The Belkin card supports 40 bit, 64 bit and 128 bit encryption and allows you to use a passphrase or HEX values for the key. The Link screen tells you which access point your PDA is connected to, the current channel, transmit rate, link quality and signal strength. You can use this screen or the taskbar's status icon popup menu to turn the radio off and on.

Conclusion

Link other Belkin PDA networking cards, the Wireless PDA Network Card is a strong offering that's reliable, offers good range and consumes a maximum of 300 mA maximum power. It works with older devices running Pocket PC and Handheld PC 2000 OS, as well as Pocket PC 2002. I only wish that the configuration utility provided a list of discovered access points, but that feature is not yet ubiquitous.

Belkin, list price $89.99

 

 

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Want to learn more about WiFi? Read our Primer.

 

 

 

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