Re: USB or PC card with antenna, which is best?
- From: dk_ <nobody@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2008 11:51:34 -0800
In article <t3tvq3h15l29g80948cq3lhs8gs60tk07a@xxxxxxx>,
Jeff Liebermann <jeffl@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
dk_ <nobody@xxxxxxxxxxxx> hath wroth:
Which would be best for pulling in a weak signal to my old Thinkpad?
...A PC card with and external antenna or a USB adapter with an external
antenna (if there is such a beast)?
About the same. The performance is mostly determined by the external
antenna and not by the wireless device. This is reduced by the coax
cable attenuation, which is not used in a USB device. Therefore, if
the coax cable length is more than about 3-5ft, methinks the USB
radio, with an integral antenna, would be the better.
However, PC Card (PCMCIA) wireless devices are available in higher
power levels than USB. This may be an advantage in some situations.
For example, for a 300mw radio, see:
You might also consider a "wireless ethernet client bridg" where the
entire radio and ethernet interface are external and connect to the
computah via an ethernet cable. This is very useful where you have
extremely long cable runs between the laptop and the radio. See list
of possible candidates at:
Make sure that it has a client mode and not just a bridge to bridge
If your Thinkpad has an internal MiniPCI card, it's possible to kludge
an external antenna on the MiniPCI antenna connector(s). See:
for some hints and instructions.
There are USB adapters with external antenna connectors. See:
Also see their antenna and pigtail selection.
I recommend that you disclose something about your Thinkpad (like the
model number), whether it has a USB 2.0 port, and what manner of range
and performance you're expecting (which has a big effect on the
Incidentally, I find it rather amusing that you're expecting us to
supply you with specific recommendations (i.e. maker and model
numbers) when you are apparently unable to do the same for your
Thank you very kindly for the wide range of information. There are a lot of
interesting products out there!
My Thinkpad is an old A20m, 500 MHz Celeron, (I will try to go to a PIII 800
in the future), 512 MB RAM, Windows XP SP2. It has a single USB 1.1 port and
a USB 2.0/Firewire PC Card, 15" LCD.
Regarding range and performance: where I go skiing in Big Bear there are a
couple of open access points at motels around where I stay and I get a
signal strength of 1 or 2 bars at best. I make a connection but don't get an
IP address. I need 3 or maybe 4 bars to be able to get an IP address. That
is my main goal.
Speed or bandwidth is not the main requirement at all. Because 'till now
I've had to use a very slow dial-up connection (33K), so any broadband
working connection would be great in the mountains.
I did see an AirLink 101 USB with a 10 db antenna at Fry's for $44.99,
(Model AWLL3055 802.11g USB Adapter). That price range is good for me. What
do you think? Suggestions? The 300mw PC card looked very cool but pricey for
Still would appreciate recommendations.
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