Rejoice, those of you who own older Windows CE PDAs or HP Jornada
models with type I CF slots. The Socket CF card works with Windows
CE devices that have type I or type II CF slots, and it supports
Windows CE 2.11 (HPC/HPC Pro), Handheld PC 2000, Pocket PC, Pocket
PC 2002 and Pocket PC 2003 operating systems. Also iPAQ
2215 users will be happy to know that this card supports the
new Pocket PC 2003 OS. Do not install the drivers on the CD if
you have a 2215. Instead download the drivers from Socket's
If you've got a WinCE or Pocket PC device
with a tired battery, or one that has just plain old poor battery
life, this card will also be your friend. Socket calls this "Low Power" for
a good reason, it consumes about 1/2 as much power than any other
wireless network card we're aware of. In sleep mode it uses less
than 20 mA of power in sleep mode (when no data is being transfered).
When awake, it uses significantly less power than the D-Link DCF-650
also reviewed here: 170 to 280 mA. vs.
280mA to 380 mA for the D-Link.
Setup is easy and user-friendly. Install the driver on your Pocket
PC, do a soft reset and whenever you insert the card, the Socket
networking icon will appear on the lower right corner of your taskbar.
Press the icon to launch the configuration program which allow
you to select infrastructure vs. peer networking, 40 (sometimes
referred to as 64 bit) bit or 128 bit encryption, DHCP vs. static
IPs and DNS and so on. You can also save multiple configurations
and use a pop-up menu to switch between them, which is handy if
your work and home configurations are different.
It's nice that all configuration settings
are available in one place. In comparison, with the the D-Link
card you'll have to go the the Connections tab under your Pocket
PC settings menu, and setup the IP and DNS settings using the
built-in Pocket PC "Network
Adapters" icon. Socket also offers an advanced selection when
you press their icon in the taskbar which allows you to test your
network signal strength. Speaking of signal strength, I was worried
that the small antenna (the plastic prominence at the top of the
card) would affect signal strength, but I was able to get a usable
signal up to 75 feet away from my base station.
All in all, a great, easy to use WiFi 802.11b wireless network
card. It costs considerably more than the D-Link,
but if your Pocket PC or WinCE device only supports type I cards,
this will be the card for you. Note: if you have a Casio
E-200, which is oddly picky about CF communications cards,
you'll probably have some trouble using the Socket Card. For the
Sleep: 20 mA