WL-100g LAN card
The ASUS WL-100g PC card is one of the few cards on the market with an extendable antenna. We will see soon what effect this has on performance. The card is cardbus compatible and is fully compatible with Windows XP.
Installation of the PC card was simple, although there were minor incompatibilities with the previous Dell/Orinoco wireless card drivers. A simple restart of the system remedied this. This does mean that you canít use both wireless NICs simultaneously, something that we were able to do with the Orinoco chipset and an old 802.11b prism chipset.
A nice feature on the card is two indicator LEDs that show link status and activity. This way you know if you are connected to a WAP and if you are, if data is being transferred, we wish all card manufacturers would give us more status leds, remember the good old days with those USR Courier modems?
The best 802.11b PC Card in terms of receiver sensitivity was the Lucent or Orinoco cards. This is what we put the Asus up against. We used Net Stumbler for these tests.
In terms of picking up random signals, the Asus was able to detect 3 total access points from my desk, as compared to 2 for the Orinico. With the antenna extended, we could detect 4 routers. We also had a Prism 802.11b card that could not detect any other access points. Clearly, this antenna implementation improves reception and should be a feature on all network cards. Granted, the Orinico does have an external antenna port, but finding a ready-made antenna will be very difficult. This difference was only notable at the distant remote access points, so for local use you can keep the antenna down so it wonít break.
Comparison between 802.11b and 802.11g
In our preliminary throughput testing, 802.11g was only 20% faster than 802.11b. We think that this may be due to our Dell laptopís cardbus controller though. Others have found significant speed gains with 802.11g protocols. The software does indicate that the connection with a good signal yields a bandwidth of 54.0 Mbs. We will update this section once we have a new mobile platform to test. The goal would be the capability of streaming HD video content wirelessly.