PCMCIA 802.11b (or g) WiFi adapter for a PC laptop that doesn't protrude beyond the PC card slot?
December 12, 2004 8:18 PM   Subscribe

One of the things I like most about my iBook is that the wireless adapter is internal and doesn't protrude from the system. Does anyone know of a PCMCIA 802.11b (or g) WiFi adapter for a PC laptop that doesn't protrude beyond the PC card slot?
posted by mrbill to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
 
I use PCMCIA adapter myself, and it does protrude. However, my understanding is that many laptops that were designed with WiFi compatibility in mind, but don't have it installed, can accept a mini-pci card, which would be entirely internal.

Note: I have never actually heard of anyone buying a mini-pci card to install in an existing laptop - but I do suspect it would work. Proceed with extreme caution.
posted by kickingtheground at 8:30 PM on December 12, 2004 [1 favorite]


If you go the mini-PCI route, you'll probably want to make sure the laptop has an internal antenna you can connect the wireless card to. My last one didn't - reception completely sucked. My current laptop (Inspirion 8600) has the internal antenna for the mini-PCI slot and it works great.
posted by chundo at 8:39 PM on December 12, 2004


What kickingtheground said, with the difference that I actually do know someone who installed one of the mini-PCI WiFi cards in their ThinkPad. And as chundo says, it works fine... as long as there's an internal antenna, which is key. (Apples been making 'Books with internal antennas for a long time now, in the Wintel world it's less common but getting more so).
posted by eschatfische at 9:01 PM on December 12, 2004


This is for an old Dell Latitude CPi (P2/266Mhz). No mini-PCI slot; I've just got two PC card slots.
posted by mrbill at 9:22 PM on December 12, 2004


Presumably any model that was available with internal WiFi as an OEM option will already have an antenna right?

As for the original question, I would think that any PCMCIA WiFi card that doesn't protrude from the laptop (if one exists) would have relatively poor signal strength. I know that some have been produced where the protruding antenna can retract into the card for travel but needs to be extended to get good reception... here's a (discontinued) model from 3Com.
posted by onshi at 9:23 PM on December 12, 2004


Slightly off-topic, but isn't the correct term now "PC Card" instead of "PCMCIA"? I thought this changed a long long time ago, but I still see (for example) the NYTimes referring to PCMCIA slots, so maybe I'm the one who's out of the loop on this. If so, please set me straight.
posted by stopgap at 9:23 PM on December 12, 2004


I believe you are correct, stopgap, but old habits die hard.
posted by onshi at 9:25 PM on December 12, 2004


(Especially for those of us who struggled to be able to say PCMCIA fluidly in the first place. Once you've got it, why quit?)
posted by rustcellar at 9:47 PM on December 12, 2004


I use PCMCIA and PC Card interchangeably. There's also "Cardbus", but we won't even go there...
posted by mrbill at 9:50 PM on December 12, 2004


Note: I have never actually heard of anyone buying a mini-pci card to install in an existing laptop - but I do suspect it would work. Proceed with extreme caution.

I'm typing this on a laptop that I installed one on right now. It's my work laptop, I use it every day. Wireless is my primary net connection at work and home. I bought an Intel 2200b/g card, it installed in about thirty seconds (remove the keyboard, slip it into the slot, connect the built-in antenna wires) and Windows recognized it on boot. Yes, if a laptop is designed to use an internal mini PCI slot, you will have antenna wires to attach to the card. There's usually wires right there in the bay, ready to be clipped on to the antenna points.

Anyway, no, a CPi doesn't have a mini PCI slot. And no, there aren't any PC/PCMCIA cards that don't stick out the side, because you need to have an antenna that is outside of the frame of the computer and free from interference from either the frame or internal components. Sorry!
posted by SpecialK at 10:14 PM on December 12, 2004


What is the difference between "PC Card" and "PCMCIA"?
PC Cards are credit card-size peripherals that add memory, mass storage, and I/O capabilities to computers in a rugged, compact form factor.
PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) is a non-profit trade association and standards body that promotes PC Card technology along with Miniature Card and SmartMedia cards by defining technical standards and educating the market.

(CardBus is a PC Card spec extension that allows much faster 32-bit I/O)
posted by cillit bang at 9:53 AM on December 13, 2004


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