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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 SD WiFi card for Pocket PC and Palm Zire 71
Posted July 25, 2003 by Lisa Gade, Editor-in-Chief
Palm Zire 71 Owner: Important Note, July 2004. Revision 2.1 of this card or newer, whose package is marked as compatible with the Zire 71, is required if you wish to use this card with the Zire 71. The older revsion card for Pocket PC only will not work due to a hardware design change. The new card is manufacturer's part #SDWSDB-000-A10M.

Now here's something many of us have been waiting for a LONG time: an SD WiFi card! SanDisk's new card will be available August 1st 2003 for $129 US. The card works with most Pocket PC 2002 and Pocket PC 2003 models that have SD slots supporting SDIO (see the list at the bottom for models). Palm OS 5 drivers will come out in November according to SanDisk.

The card protrudes 7/8" inch from the Pocket PC and has a green LED connection indicator. If you think that's a large antenna cap, consider that this card has great range, equaling CF WiFi cards. It's power friendly, consuming 280ma peak when transmitting, 230ma peak when receiving and 20ma average at sleep. Since SD slots aren't as fast as CF slots, pages did take a little bit longer to download compared to my CF WiFi cards. I tested the SanDisk against the Socket CF WiFi card on identical pages using Pocket IE with an empty cache, and the SD card took about 1 to 2 seconds longer to download a page (that's not bad!).

SanDisk SD WiFi 802.11.b network card

SanDisk SD WiFi card in iPAQ 1940

Above, the SanDisk SD WiFi card in the iPAQ 1940

 

Installation and Drivers

The SanDisk card comes with Pocket PC 2002 and Pocket PC 2003 drivers. 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 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. The utility works the same on Pocket PC 2002 as it does on Pocket PC 2003, which is further described below. One additional feature for Pocket PC 2002 models is the access point browser (commonly referred to as site survey or wardriving) 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. When the card is inserted in the Pocket PC's SD slot, SanDisk's utility will appear in the system tray on the bottom of your Today screen. This utility allows you to turn the radio on and off, get network status (link quality and strength, channel, view your IP address, renew IP address, Ping, view current TCP/IP values and BSSID name). The Advanced Configuration menu item allows you to set power save mode and preamble mode. It's nice to have both native Pocket PC 2003 configuration and a utility that allows you to view all the details and change several connection and power settings! The card worked well with both our iPAQ 2215, iPAQ 1940 and ViewSonic V36 all running Pocket PC 2003 (aka Windows Mobile 2003) OS.

Conclusion

SanDisk isn't just about memory cards anymore. Their strong reputation as a memory card manufacturer may well extend into the PDA networking area with their new WiFi products. I recommend this product, and I would even if they did have competition . The driver is reliable and robust, and is easily removed (which can't be said of all Pocket PC networking drivers). It comes with both Pocket PC 2002 and Pocket PC 2003 drivers. The new revision of the card (2.1 or newer) includes drivers for the Palm Zire 71 as well (but no other Palm OS PDAs).

Compatibility

This card does not work with Toshiba Pocket PCs other than the e405 and e805, even though they have SDIO slots, due to lack of a software stack for SDIO cards other than Toshiba's Bluetooth SD card. The Dell Axim X5 is not supported because it does not have an SDIO slot. Your Pocket PC must have an SDIO slot and run either Pocket PC 2002 or Pocket PC 2003 OS. I tested the card on the iPAQ 2215, iPAQ 1945, Samsung i700, and XDA II and it worked great. It did not work on the Toshiba e310.

SanDisk, list price $129

 

 

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Want to learn more about WiFi? Read our Primer.

 

 

 

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