Connect SD 256 Megs RAM + WiFi card for Pocket PC Posted
June 16, 2004 by Lisa
SanDisk's SD WiFi card for
Pocket PCs supporting SDIO was released almost a year ago and was
a big hit. Now that most Pocket PCs don't come with CF slots, those
who wished to network their machines using WiFi were left unconnected.
SanDisk and Socket's SD card offerings
fixed that problem. Now, on to the next problem: your Pocket PC
has precious little memory, and you can't use an SD memory card
when the SD WiFi card is in the slot. SanDisk comes to the rescue
with their SD WiFi + 256 megs RAM card.
Compatible with Pocket PC 2002 and Windows Mobile
2003 devices with an SDIO slot, the SanDisk card offers similar
features as their regular SD WiFi card, but adds on 256 megs of
RAM, which will appear as a storage card under File Explorer. You
can place any files and applications you wish on the card's memory,
and it responds as quickly as a standard SanDisk SD storage card.
The card is functionally similar to SanDisk's Connect
Plus CF WiFi + 128 megs memory card, so SanDisk is no stranger
to combining WiFi with RAM.
The SanDisk SD WiFi card in the Samsung
i700 Pocket PC Phone.
The card protrudes 1 inch
from the Pocket PC (their non-RAM card extends 7/8") and
has a green LED connection indicator. Though the antenna cap
isn't small, it does house a radio that has impressive range
and memory too. The card is power frugal, and won't drain your
Pocket PC's battery as fast as some CF WiFi cards. However, since
SD slots aren't as fast as CF slots, pages will take a little
bit longer to download compared to 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!). Of course, if your Pocket PC doesn't
have a CF slot or integrated WiFi, slightly slower performance
is a small penalty to pay for adding wireless.
Installation and Drivers
The SanDisk card comes with Pocket PC 2002 and Windows
Mobile 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. It replaces
the pre-installed SD storage card driver on the Pocket PC in order
to support the RAM on the card, and this caused no problems when
using standard SD memory cards.
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. Both versions have a handy 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. On
Pocket PC 2002 models, an icon for the WiFi utility will be installed
in the Programs group, and on Windows Mobile 2003 PDAs it will
be installed under the Connections tab under settings. These icons
launch the same utility that appears on the taskbar. You can however
tell the utility to not display on the taskbar, and instead you
can use the icon to get to the utility.
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, available access points, turn on 802.1x, 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. If you prefer to not
have the utility appear on the taskbar, you can use the WiFi
utility icon in the Settings->Connections group.
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! In fact, you can use SanDisk's utility
rather than the Pocket PC Connection Manager if you wish when connecting
to new access points. The card worked well with our Samsung
i700 Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition device and the Mitac
Mio 168 running Windows Mobile 2003.
SanDisk's SD WiFi card was a hit, and this card,
which adds an ample 256 megs of storage should also be a big hit.
Though they have a strong reputation as a memory card manufacturer,
that reputation now extends to the PDA networking area with their
WiFi products. As with SanDisk's SD WiFi card, I recommend this
product. The driver is full-featured and reliable and is easily
removed (which can't be said of all Pocket PC networking drivers).
It comes with both Pocket PC 2002 and Windows Mobile 2003 (aka
Pocket PC 2003) drivers.
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 Windows
Mobile 2003 OS.