USB or PCMCIA Wi-Fi adaptor?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by NickSo, Mar 11, 2004.

  1. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I just got a laptop, and im in need of a wireless adaptor...

    Ive seen two kinds that would work, USB ones and PCMCIA ones... The USB ones seem to be cheaper...

    I am planning to remove the network device normally, and only plug it in when i want to surf, because the laptop will be in my book bag, or in a laptop bag, and if its sticking out, im afraid if some pressure was applied to it awkwardly, it would damage the device and the laptop itself...

    Is there much difference in ability to recieve a good signal reliably between PCMCIA and USB?
    Would it be a good idea to spend a bit more and go with a more well known brand (I've seen the brand MSI often, are they a reputable brand? I know Dlink, SMC, LinkSys are the more popular ones)?

    Thanks
     
  2. Chun Lam

    Chun Lam Agent

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    Well, the only consideration between PCMCIA and USB is what port you're willing to use. Since you're using a laptop, why not just use the PCMCIA slot? Unless you're saving the slot for something else, that's what I'd go with. You would plug and unplug the card the same way as a USB card.

    I don't know about brands, but just makes sure the WAP supports the card 802.11B, 802.11G, etc. Wireless NICs like regular NICS are pretty much the same nowadays.
     
  3. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    I dunno about signal reliability, but a USB one can be used in a lot more places than a PC Card. (They've gone away from calling 'em PCMCIA, which now stands for People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms.) Note that if you're using 802.11g, you need a USB 2.0 port to get the full speed. With USB 1.1, you get 802.11b speeds.
     
  4. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Yeah my laptop has three USB2.0, and one PCMCIA card slots... Probably the #1 thing would be the price, since USB is cheaper. Second would be that USB is more 'hotpluggable', as i n i wouldnt have to disable it before i took it out like i would with PCMCIA, and the adaptors using USB are smaller sized.

    This is going to be for the university wireless internet service, and since (from what ive read) that if a 'B' user enters a 'G' network, the whole network goes down to 'B' speeds anyhow. My home does not have wireless networking. So would the extra cost of getting a 'G' card be worth it in these circumstances? G cards are about $20-$30 more (canadian) than B cards around here.
     
  5. Dan Mercier

    Dan Mercier Stunt Coordinator

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    With the USB you may still have to disable it. Depends on the driver they provide with it. I had one in the past that still warned me everytime I just popped it out.

    Never had any crashes just the warnings though.

    Dan
     
  6. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I've never had to disable my Netgear PCMCIA wireless card before removing it...its just like USB in that regard. If cost is your primary concern just get a USB one as you're right they're cheaper. I'd guess a PCMCIA card would be stronger and more robust as the USB interface is pretty weak but so long as you're careful when moving the notebook around with the wireless card plugged in either should work fine.

    Another option would be to see if there's an internal miniPCI slot in your notebook...these would be more money but they'd be totally hidden in your notebook and you'd never have to worry about it being broken off or stolen etc. I think the 11b miniPCI card is around $100 new from Dell...eBay might be cheaper.
     
  7. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    I know some of the models of the notebook have internal wireless card, but the one that I bought didnt have the one with the wirelss card available. I mailed tech support, they only told me that doing so would void the warranty (my warranty is 90 days due to it being refurbed, maybe i can add it later), but im not sure if its MiniPCI compatible...

    As for getting 802.11B or G, anybody have any suggestions for my situation (in my second post in this thread)?

    Thanks
     
  8. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Unless you really want to save the $30, I would just get the G, because you might need it in a few months.
     
  9. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    given the mimimal cost difference now I'd go "G" if you can but I also wouldn't loose sleep if you can only afford a "B" unit
     
  10. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Look at the 3com models with the "x-jack" antenna. This allows you to simply push the antenna into the computer instead of removing the card all the time. I've got one and I think it is wonderful convenience. Check on Ebay to find them at a good price.
     
  11. Luke_Y

    Luke_Y Second Unit

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    If it's cheap you are looking for, here you go. I have two of these and it's been smooth sailing, work as good as the high dollar card from work. It barely sticks out if that is a big concern.

    Here
     
  12. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Thanks alot guys...

    i picked up an SMC card from FutureShop after pricematching with a smaller Mom&Pop store round here... Havent been able to test it yet coz i have no wireless at home, or any place around my home... The antenna doesnt stick out THAT much i found, its as wide as the AC adaptor plug that goes into the computer....
     

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