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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

SanDisk Connect Plus CF WiFi + 128MB Memory card for Pocket PC
Posted Sept. 25, 2003 by Lisa Gade, Editor-in-Chief

Need WiFi 802.11b wireless Internet access and more memory? Check out SanDisk's Connect Plus card, which gives you both 128 megs of CF memory and WiFi in one small card.

The card looks identical to SanDisk's Connect CF card, which offers WiFi but no additional memory. It's amazingly compact considering that it has both a wireless radio and memory, and the antenna cap that protrudes 3/4" from the Pocket PC. It's a type I card and works in type I and type II slots. It comes with a CF to PCMCIA adapter and Windows ME/2000/XP drivers, so you can also use the card in a Windows notebook PC. SanDisk describes the card as low power, and though the power consumption specs aren't included in the manual, the card was reasonably power-friendly (Socket being the best, and D-Link the worst, SanDisk's card fell in the middle). The card has a single green LED that blinks when your Pocket PC is in range of a signal but not connected to an access point, and is solid when connected.

SanDisk CF WiFi 802.11.b network card

The Connect Plus supports Pocket PC 2002 and Pocket PC 2003 devices. If you're looking for a card that supports older operating systems such as Windows CE 3.0, the original Pocket PC OS, Handheld PC 2000 as well as Pocket PC 2002, consider the SanDisk Connect CF WiFi card, which comes with drivers for these older operating systems and doesn't include memory. The Connect card lists for $99, and we tested that card on older Pocket PCs and it worked well, offering the same WiFi features as the PPC 2002 Connect Plus described below. This card also comes with a CF to PCMCIA adapter and drivers for Windows 98/ME/NT/2000 and XP.

Installation and Drivers

The SanDisk card comes with Pocket PC 2002 and Windows drivers, and Pocket PC 2003 drivers are available on their web site (eventually the CD should also include 2003 drivers and instructions). Insert the included CD into your PC and you'll see an html based installer that allows you to pick your OS and install the driver. The CD also contains documentation that covers using the card in both Pocket PC and Windows operating systems and troubleshooting. Once the driver is installed, soft reset your Pocket PC and you're ready to insert your card and do any necessary configuration.

Configuration on Pocket PC 2002 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 SanDisk WiFi utility to set WEP encryption, SSID, check link strength and etcetera. The SanDisk installer puts a connection status icon in the taskbar that tells you if you're in range of a WiFi network access point, and shows you a graphical representation of signal strength. You can save multiple network profiles, and use the access point browser (commonly referred to as site survey) which lists all access points within range. The AP browser tells you the name, channel, encryption status and signal strength of each access point. Since this functionality is built into the Pocket PC 2003 OS in a basic form, it is not included on the Pocket PC 2003 version.

On Pocket PC 2003 models you'll use the new Connection Manager to configure your connection to WiFi networks after installing the driver. When the card is inserted in the Pocket PC's CF slot, you'll see the two arrows at the top of the screen with an X under them, change to just the two arrows. If you're in range of an open WiFi network, the X will disappear and you should see a dialog box pop up from the arrows asking you if you wish to join the network(s) the device has found. If the network uses WEP encryption, the PDA will ask you to enter the WEP key to join the network. For more detailed info on how to use WiFi networking on the Pocket PC 2003 OS, check out the manual that came with your PDA.

You've Got Memory

Under both operating systems, your Pocket PC will show that you have a 128 meg CF storage card in the slot. You can use this as you would any memory card, installing programs, storing files and all that good stuff. Of course, it's particularly handy if you wish to download files from the Net directly to the storage cards. However, if you plan to use this as your only storage card, remember that the card will stick out from your PDA a bit, while regular memory cards don't protrude, and the wireless radio in the SanDisk card will drain your Pocket PC's battery more quickly than a memory card.

Compatibility

This card does not work correctly with Dell Axim X5 Pocket PCs running Pocket PC 2002 OS. It does work fine with Dells running Pocket PC 2003 (aka Windows Mobile 2003) OS. We also tried it with several iPAQs, including the 2215 and it worked well.

Conclusion

If you're looking to add both WiFi and some memory to your Pocket PC, then this card is a good choice, and the price at retailers such as Amazon is cheaper than you'd pay for other low power CF WiFi cards plus a 128 meg memory card. Power consumption is reasonable, wireless is reliable and the 128 megs of memory is handy, especially if you like to download MP3s, images or other sizeable files when online. However, if you own a Dell Axim X5 running Pocket PC 2002 OS, and don't plan to upgrade it to Pocket PC 2003, then this card is not for you.

SanDisk, list price $129

 

 

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Want to learn more about WiFi? Read our Primer.

 

 

 

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