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Old 02-05-2005, 12:25 PM   #1
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Laptop Wireless Card

I want to buy a wireless card for a year old laptop.

There are 802.11 b ,g ,& n cards.

Is it worth the money to pay extra for the n card?

It looks like $120 vs $40-60.

Appreciate any comments.
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Old 02-05-2005, 12:52 PM   #2
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I looked into wireless cards before I started my trip. I chose the Verizon 5220.

It is not a Local Area Network card, It works almost anywhere.

The obvious benefit for me was that I didn't have to find a Starbucks or wireless hotspot to use it. Right now I'm typing this in Alamogrdo NM not exactly an urban metropolis! I can check my email from the drivers seat. Don't worry, I pull over first...usually.

Another benefit is you don't need an Internet Provider. Just make the Verizon connection and start surfing.

The drawbacks are: it is a monthly contract, $75 I think. And it won't work everywhere, no matter what the Verizon salesman tells you. When I was down in Big Bend I was offline the whole time.

All in all, I'd have to say I'm pretty satisfied.

I hope this helps.
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Old 02-05-2005, 02:58 PM   #3
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I have a D-Link AirPlus Xtreme G card & it worked fine for me.

See: http://www.airforums.com/forum...=free+internet

I also have traveled with an: AT&T Wireless Communication Manager 4 software & Sony Ericsson Edge Card - GC83 Wireless Data Card. The AT&T store gave me the card and one month trial service (payable) with no contract. I used it while traveling in Florida in the Hurricane aftermath. The better your signal, the better your speed.

In or near a big city, much faster than a dial-up modem.phone line. In the boonies ... well click on an email to open and go outside & smoke one ... it may be opened when you return.

I returned the Edge card 29 days later. This can be returned to an AT&T store anywhere in the country.
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Old 02-05-2005, 04:22 PM   #4
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A different approach

I bought a USB-attached 802 adapter for my laptop rather than the card. It has about a 4' cable and I hang it on the button on the window shade in the window facing the transmitter. That way, I get a lot better signal inside the metal trailer than when the antenna is down by the laptop. I like it better than the card type.

My new laptop has built-in wireless. I'm hanging on to the USB adapter until I see how the built-in one works.
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Old 02-05-2005, 04:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingfoot321
I want to buy a wireless card for a year old laptop.

There are 802.11 b ,g ,& n cards.

Is it worth the money to pay extra for the n card?

It looks like $120 vs $40-60.

Appreciate any comments.
Wingfoot,
If you are looking for a basic wireless card that you can use at places like Starbucks and Panera Bread go ahead and get the "g" card, if you are on a G network it will be faster than the B card and if you are on a B network it will still work. FWIW I use a 3Com g card on my antique laptop and it works great regardless of the system. But I do like Jack's idea of the USB with the cable to get a little extra range on the antenna. Never had a problem before...

Aaron
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Old 02-05-2005, 04:39 PM   #6
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And I just recently read someplace that the 'n' standard isn't really standard yet... that it may change and you'll be left with outdated equipment when they decide what 'n' will really be...

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Old 02-05-2005, 05:17 PM   #7
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I have a PowerBook G4 with the built in wireless and was wondering what I can do to get on line when we are down in Florida. Are there suppliers I can purchase a months worth of network time? I don't want to use my own Cell phone as I am with Bell - the roaming charges we were dinged with last year just about floored me - over $500.00 for a 14 day period - we had no idea we were being charged - learned our lesson on that one.

What cell phones are available in the states - can you rent for a month and hook up through dial up - totally dumb when it comes to this stuff - a wizard with photoshop but not this techno-wiro set up - any MACies out there that can help me out???

Why I would not even know how to log in at a Flying J on my wireless network option....
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Old 02-05-2005, 06:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingfoot321
I want to buy a wireless card for a year old laptop.

There are 802.11 b ,g ,& n cards.

Is it worth the money to pay extra for the n card?

It looks like $120 vs $40-60.

Appreciate any comments.
I have a Netgear 54Mbps wireless PC card for my laptop, I have been told that the faster ones only move data faster within the network, the 54Mbps is about as fast as any internet connection you are likely to find. After buying it on sale, and a $20.00 rebate, it was about $39.99.
It is wireless G, and should be compatible with most everything out there.
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Old 02-05-2005, 06:57 PM   #9
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we have the b wireless card but also use verizon software hooked up to the cell phone. It worked while we were out west but the connection is dial up and takes just a little longer than forever to download. We only downloaded after 9 pm local time, we found out its not where the plan is but where you are currently located. It worked, we got most of our email but it was slow at best. I did go into some local shops and check email for a couple of bucks. This stuff is coming along but we are not there yet.
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Old 02-06-2005, 06:35 AM   #10
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Mac Connection while on the road

Quote:
Originally Posted by GT6921
I have a PowerBook G4 with the built in wireless and was wondering what I can do to get on line when we are down in Florida. Are there suppliers I can purchase a months worth of network time? I don't want to use my own Cell phone as I am with Bell - the roaming charges we were dinged with last year just about floored me - over $500.00 for a 14 day period - we had no idea we were being charged - learned our lesson on that one.

What cell phones are available in the states - can you rent for a month and hook up through dial up - totally dumb when it comes to this stuff - a wizard with photoshop but not this techno-wiro set up - any MACies out there that can help me out???

Why I would not even know how to log in at a Flying J on my wireless network option....
For our Mac we have an Airport card as well. There are many different WiFi vendors out there that you can sign up with for daily or monthly service. The monthly service is the better way to go. But, like all WiFi Hotspots you need to find where their service is closest to you. Companies like Boingo cover many places, but not many campgrounds. And you're right, there are connections at Flying J's at well, but a different company I believe. Each company provides you their software to log in at their spot. You pick the company you like, load their software, and you will find connecting is easy.

There are also many free WiFi Hotspot listings. This is what we use currently since no one company has enough locations along a long trip to make the monthly payment worth it. Check out wififreespot.com to see where free spots are along your travels.

As far as using a cell phone... We have Verizon Wireless. Included with most basic packages is access to their #777 service. This is a VERY slow connect 14.4Kbps. However it only hits our airtime, and with free nights and weekends we just wait until after 7:00 p.m. to check e-mail. There's a USB connector kit that we use with our Motorola phones to connect to the net when we need to. Most new phones have some kind of USB kit available for a few extra $$$.

You'll be happy to know most of the major wireless carriers (I've worked for several of them designing the networks) are moving toward the 1X Data, and EVDO (Evolution Data Only). Basically they're working toward offering broadband data service on their wireless network. This service is rolling out slowly, but it is rolling out. More densly populated areas will get it first. So, don't expect it any time soon at your favorite remote mountain side campground.

Verizon is currently rolling out wireless broadband. It is $79.00 per month. That doesn't include your "talk time bill", just data. Since it isn't everywhere yet it isn't worth buying for us at this time.

Finally for everyone debating 802.11 b, g, and the rest of the alphabet.... Most of the original hotspot providers rolled out 802.11b. If you go with a G card it usually also works on B networks (read the box closely). What does it buy you though? B works at 11 Megs per second. G works at 54 Megs per second. G is faster. However, most hotspot providers don't give you either speed. Providers usually have a T1 (high speed connection) at their site, which provides 1.54 Megs per second. Just because your card is fast, don't expect your internet downloads to come in at rated speed of your card.

Hope this was helpful.

Rich
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Old 02-06-2005, 06:45 AM   #11
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Rick,
I tried that cellphone hookup back several years ago, and found the connection's speed was abt 19kb.. Tooooooooo slow for me, when at home I'm used to 2.8 to 3.4 gig...lol
In the future, we'll be hooked up to the wireless card on the laptop..
BTW, when is the next unit's rally???
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Old 02-06-2005, 08:17 AM   #12
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I find the difference between b and g to be almost unoticeable in my network which has access points for both. My wireless laptop does have the g card.
When 100mbs and later gigabit tranmission is everywhere the old cards will be outdated anyway. Its a matter for me of get what will work for you now, as it will be worthless in a year or two.
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