3Com OfficeConnect Wireless 11g PC Card review

Following the launch of Vodafone's 3G PC card, and introduction of broadband on airlines, the current wireless buzz is turning up some great buys for PC notebook users, tapping in on the home/SOHO networking market. 3Com weighs in at under £40 with their latest wireless card. This is a price point at which on the street, it even competes with PCI desktop wireless NICs.

We tested it with the 3Com OfficeConnect 11g access point, and achieved excellent wireless connection. If you already have a router from a different manufacturer, or just need a wireless PC card, 3Com have made a real effort to help get the best operation with other Wi-Fi certified products. The 802.11g is retrospectively compatible with 802.11b devices, supporting flexible, protected networks, across branded hardware.

Advanced 256-bit WPA encryption helps provide maximum wireless security, while 40/64-bit and 128-bit WEP shared-key encryption ensures privacy of legacy wireless clients. Note though that the WPA encryption is only possible via Windows XP driven machines.

Thanks to dynamic rate shifting, the most suitable connection speed is found automatically, ensuring the optimum connection over changing environments.
establish peer-to-peer connections with other notebooks, when equipped with Wi-Fi-certified PC Cards, without using an access point. The Wireless Card Manager software allows notebook users to create and save various profiles that reflect specific wireless LAN settings for differing locations- accessible at the touch of a button.

Verdict

Excellent. Simple, reliable wireless access from your notebook, for home and office use- and for once notebook users aren't paying too far over the odds. It's ideal for XP users, especially if you need to take advantage of the WPA encryption.