Have card, will travel

Have card, will travel<@VM>When traveling or in the field, one of these 54 PC Card modems could be just the ticket for tapping the Web or your office net<@VM>When traveling or in the field, one of these 54 PC Card modems could be just the ticket for tapping the Web or your office net (cont.)

Multifunction PC Cards offer inexpensive,
all-purpose connections


By J.B. Miles

Special to GCN

Thanks to the Internet, many Americans work in virtual environments without the constraints of desks, cubicles and specific office locations. A telecommuter's office can be a living room, patio or spare bedroom. Mobile professionals spend a lot of their time working from airplanes, automobiles, hotel rooms, conference centers and client locations. Doctors, lawyers and government workers use cellular phones and notebook PCs to conduct business from places all over the world.



Xircom's RealPort2 Modem56 is a 16-bit Type II PC Card with 56-Kbps analog, GSM cellular and ISDN capability. It's priced at $197.


It's easier than ever to go mobile. All it takes to function as a productive road warrior is a notebook PC, the right software and a credit card-sized PC Card modem or multifunction 56-Kbps modem and LAN card.

If what you need while traveling is to browse the Internet or check your business e-mail from a hotel room or conference center, you probably can get by with one of the inexpensive 56-Kbps analog modem cards listed in this guide.

Modem makers such as Actiontec Electronics Inc., Archtek America Corp., MagicRAM Inc. and MaxTech Corp. focus on 16-bit Type II PC Card modems for the general marketplace. These cards are usually priced well under $100 and represent bargains for users of notebooks running Microsoft Windows.

PC Card modems provide near-56-Kbps data transfer rates and 14.4-Kbps fax transfer rates and are compliant with the full range of data modulation, compression and error-correction standards. Nearly all of them are bundled with excellent data communications and fax software, and a few offer limited voice services and some are cellular-ready.


Phoebe Micro's PCMCIA 56K Fax/Modem is a 16-bit Type II PC Card that works over analog phone lines. It's priced at $59.


Because most PC Card modems are compatible with Microsoft Windows 9x'and Windows 2000 drivers are increasingly available'all of them are Plug and Play units that present few if any configuration or setup problems.

Right connection

If 56-Kbps analog connections aren't enough, you can get extra speed from a multifunction 56-Kbps Ethernet, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet or 56-Kbps Integrated Services Digital Network card. Or you can get a card with optional wireless digital Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) or analog Advanced Mobile Phone Services (AMPS) cellular services. Some multifunction cards listed in the accompanying chart are 16-bit Type II PC Cards; others are 32-bit CardBus designs.

The 16-bit multifunction PC Cards generally mix 56-Kbps analog service with AMPS cellular or GSM digital services, although Eicon Technology Corp.'s $239 Diva Mobile V.90 PC Card adds 128-Kbps ISDN services in place of cellular. Linksys Group Inc.'s $139 EtherFast 10/100 + 56K Modem PC Card and D-Link Systems Inc.'s $135 DMF-560TX combine 56-Kbps analog and 10/100-Mbps Fast Ethernet services.

Intel's $99 Pro/100 LAN+Modem56 Mobile Adapter Model MBLA3356 is designed to provide both 56-Kbps and 10/100-Mbps Ethernet services. IBM Corp.'s $165 International PC Card is another 16-bit Type II card that adds country-select software and GSM digital cellular capability to basic 56-Kbps analog and fax services.


IBM's 10/100 EtherJet is a 32-bit
CardBus adapter with a modem that works over 56-Kbps lines and Ethernet. It's priced at $225.


If your notebook is equipped with a CardBus slot and you want a full 100-Mbps connection between a Fast Ethernet LAN and your notebook, you should choose a 32-bit CardBus card instead of a 16-bit PC Card version.

The leaders in the field of multifunction CardBus technology include 3Com Corp., Intel, Ositech Communications Inc. and Xircom Corp., although Best Data Products Inc., IBM and Psion Connect Inc. all offer at least one CardBus model. Other companies will add more multifunction CardBus products to their suites as demand for them increases.

3Com's 10/100 LAN+56K Modem CardBus PC Card brings 56-Kbps data and 14.4-Kbps fax, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet LAN and AMPS cellular services for $210. The 32-bit CardBus architecture observes the N-way 10/100 autonegotiation feature, but offers full 100-Mbps LAN connections to the notebook.

Windows compatibility provides Plug and Play and the unit is guaranteed to be compatible with all portable computers that comply with the PC Card standard.

3Com's Direct-Connect Cellular and DynamicAccess features provide easier access to AMPS cellular services and one-step mobile configuration and connectivity for multiple locations.

Back to basics

Intel's $300 Pro/100 LAN+Modem56 Mobile Adapter Model MBLA3456 offers the same basic features, along with Wake-on-LAN and Desktop Management Interface 2.0 features.


The Dualmode Zoom/PC Card from Zoom Telephonics is a 16-bit PC Card with a 56-Kbps analog modem. It's priced at $118.


The Ositech $359 Jack of Spades with DPI and $309 Jack of Hearts with DPI units also provide connectivity with digital private branch exchanges.

CardBus has become the preferred high-speed bus technology for mobile computers and is now included in virtually every high-end notebook on the market. You can use a 16-bit PC Card in a CardBus slot, but if you're using a new notebook PC with a 32-bit microprocessor and Win9x, Windows NT or Win 2000, a 32-bit multifunction CardBus card will give better overall results.

Here's why:

Speed. A CardBus slot offers 32-bit input/output via a high-speed 33-MHz bus, compared with the 8.33-MHz bus speed of 16-bit PC Card slots. This translates into a 132-Kbps throughput for CardBus vs. PC Card technology's 20-Mbps maximum.

Power consumption. CardBus devices run at 3.3 volts, compared with 16-bit PC Card devices' 5.0 volts. So CardBus uses less power than a PC Card.


Playing PC Cards

' 16-bit, 56-Kbps modem cards are good enough for typical Web browsing and e-mail tasks.

' CardBus technology is best for full 100-Mbps Ethernet performance.

' 16-bit PC Cards will fit into CardBus slots, but the reverse is not true.

' Cards with digital line protection and private branch exchange line connectivity are best if you travel a lot.

' 16-bit PC Cards will be phased out in favor of CardBus.


Power management. When combined with Advanced Configuration and Power Interface hardware support, CardBus takes better advantage of the power management capabilities of Win98 Second Edition and Win 2000 than does PC Card technology.

This includes Microsoft's OnNow power management policies and remote power management such as Wake-on-LAN.

Easy installation of multifunction devices. CardBus technology allows hot insertion and automatic device configuration and enables the sharing of multiple resources on a single card with no need for special drivers.

So multifunction CardBus cards are easier to install than 16-bit PC Cards and present fewer compatibility problems.

Better grounding. CardBus connectors are shrouded with a metal cover near the 68-pin connector.

This reduces electromagnetic interference and supports higher bus speeds than PC Cards can offer.

Support for 16-bit and 32-bit devices. Thirty-two-bit CardBus slots can support 16-bit PC Cards; the reverse isn't true.

Bus mastering. CardBus bus mastering allows data transfers to take place directly to memory without using the notebook's processor. This boosts overall system performance and increases performance if the system is connected to a Fast Ethernet LAN.

J.B. Miles of Pahoa, Hawaii, writes about
communications and computers.






















































































































































































































































VendorProductInterfaceMessaging supportOS driversSpecial featuresPrice
Actiontec Electronics Inc.
Sunnyvale, Calif.
408-752-7700
www.actiontec.com
DataLink V.90 56K16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9xDigital line protection$79
Archtek America Corp.
City of Industry, Calif.
626-912-9800
www.archtek.com
SmartLink PCMCIA 56K Model 5634 PCC16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9x, NTN/A$60
Best Data Products Inc.
Chatsworth, Calif.
818-773-9600
www.bestdata.com
10/100Base-T + 56K Modem Model 56PCBT32-bit CardBus56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps EthernetWin9xPort autosensing$180
Compaq Computer Corp.
Houston, Texas
281-270-0670
www.compaq.com
Compaq Microcom 42016-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellularWin3.1, Win9x, NTDigital line protection, country-specific software$136
Compaq Microcom 550 56-Kbps + 10/100 Ethernet Combo PC Card16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, 10/100- Mbps Ethernet, GSM and AMPS cellularWin9xSame with SNMP management and 10/100-Mbps port autosensing$260
CNet Technology Inc.
Milpitas, Calif.
408-934-0800
www.cnetusa.com
CNFM56016-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9x, NTData, fax and voice support software$65
Digicom Systems Inc.
Milpitas, Calif.
408-262-1277
www.modemblaster.com
ModemBlaster Flash 56 PCMCIA16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9xCellular-ready, flash memory modification$119
Digi International Inc.
Minnetonka, Minn.
800-334-4273
www.dgii.com
DataFire Go PRO16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog,10-Mbps Ethernet, GSM/PCS cellular, ISDNWin3.1, Win9x, NTCompatible with worldwide telecom and ISDN standards$395
D-Link Systems Inc.
Irvine, Calif.
949-788-0805
www.dlink.com
DMF-560TX 10/100 PC Card/Modem16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps EthernetWin3.1, Win9x, NTDigital Line protection$135
Eicon Technology Corp.
Carrollton, Texas
972-239-3270
www.eicon.com
Diva Mobile V.90 PC Card16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, ISDNWin9x, NT, Win 2000128K ISDN connection$239
Eiger Labs Inc.
Newark, Calif.
510-739-0900
www.eigerlabs.com
EigerCom 56K PCMCIA Modem16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin3.x, Win9x, NT, Unix, Mac OS, OS/2V.80 standard compliance (videoconferencing)$76
Elsa Inc.
San Jose, Calif.
408-961-4600
www.elsa.com
MicroLink 56K MC PC Card16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9x, NT, Win 2000Country-specific software$141
Global Village Corp.
Sunnyvale, Calif.
408-548-2000
www.globalvillage.com
56K PC Card Fax/Modem16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellularMac OSDigital line protection$90
Hawking Technology
Irvine, Calif.
949-756-2233
www.hawkingtech.com
PCMCIA Fast Ethernet 10/100+56K Modem PC Card Model PN65616-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps EthernetWin9x, NT, LinuxDigital line protection, 10/100-Mbps port autosensing$160
Hi-Val Inc.
Santa Ana, Calif.
714-953-3000
www.hival.com
56K PCMCIA Data/Fax Modem16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9x, NTWake-up-Ring for computer$80
IBM Corp.
Armonk, N.Y.
914-765-1900
www.ibm.com
PCMCIA 56K Modem with Xjack16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9x, NTXjack connector$129
10/100 EtherJet CardBus Adapter with 56K Modem32-bit CardBus56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps EthernetWin9x, NTPort autosensing$225
International PC Card with GSM16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, GSM cellularWin3.1, Win9x, NTOptimized for international use$165
Intel Corp.
Hillsboro, Ore.
503-629-7402
www.intel.com
Pro/100 LAN+Modem56 Mobile Adapter Model MBLA345632-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet, AMPS cellularWin9x, NTWake-on-LAN, Desktop Management Interface 2.0, RealPort form factor$300
Pro/100 LAN+Modem56 Mobile Adapter Model MBLA335632-bit CardBusSameWin9x, NTSame with standard PC Card design$215
Pro/100 LAN+Modem56 Mobile Adapter Model MBLA165616-bit PC Card Type IISameWin9x, NT16-bit PC Card form for legacy notebooks$99
Linksys Group Inc.
Irvine, Calif.
949-261-1288
www.linksys.com
EtherFast 10/100 + 56K Modem PC Card16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps EthernetWin9x, NT, LinuxIntegrated network and modem connectors$139
MagicRAM Inc.
Los Angeles, Calif.
213-413-9999
www.magicram.com
56K Fax/Modem PC Card16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogMS-DOS, Win9x, NTAvailable with Lucent or Rockwell chip sets$119 to $139
MaxTech Corp.
Cerritos, Calif.
562-921-1698
www.maxtech.com
PCM56/C16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogMS-DOS, Win3.1, Win9xBuilt-in phone line interface$111






























































































































































































































































































VendorProductInterfaceMessaging supportOS driversSpecial featuresPrice
Modem Express
Plymouth, Minn.
612-553-2075
www.hayes.com
Hayes Accura 56K/V.90 PC Card16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin3.1, Win9xInternet Accelerator software$105
Hayes Optima 56K/V.90 PC Card16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin3.1, Win9xInternet Accelerator, optional Cellular Kit$235
Hayes Optima 56K/V.90 PC Card with EZjack16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin3.1, Win9xSame with EZjack connector$175
Multi-Tech Systems Inc.
Mounds View, Minn.
612-785-3500
www.multitech.com
MultiMobile PC Card16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9x, NTAvailable in World Modem version$179
Ositech Communications Inc.
Guelph, Ontario
519-836-8063
www.ositech.com
Jack of Spades with DPI 56K Analog/PBX Mode+ 10/100Base-TX CardBus PC Card32- bit CardBus56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet, AMPS cellularWin9x, NTDigital PBX line connectivity$359
Jack of Hearts 56K with DPI 56K Analog/PBX Modem+ Ethernet Card32-bit CardBus 56-Kbps analog, 10-Mbps Ethernet, AMPS cellularWin9x, NTSame$309
Five of Hearts with DPI 56K Analog/PBX PC Card Modem16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellularWin9x, NTSame$259
Five of Clubs 56K PC Card Modem16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellularWin9x, NTBundled with a cellular connection kit$229
Phoebe Micro Inc.
Sunnyvale, Calif.
408-733-9618
www.phoebemicro.com
PCMCIA 56K Fax/Modem16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9xComes with optional Lucent or Cirrus Logic chip sets$59
Psion Connect Inc.
Concord, Mass.
978-369-0655
www.psionconnect.com
Gold Card 56K Fax/Data PC Card Modem16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogMS-DOS, Win3.1, Win9x, NTN/A$199
Gold Card NetGlobal 56K + 10Mbps16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, Ethernet, optional GSM and ISDNMS-DOS, Win3.1, Win9x, NTSame$269
Simple Technology Inc.
Santa Ana, Calif.
949-476-1180
www.simpletech.com
56K Communicator16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellularWin9x, NTFlash upgradable$113
TDK Systems Inc.
Nevada City, Calif.
530-478-8421
www.tdksystems.com
Global Pro ISDN 360016-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, ISDNWin9x, NT128Kbps ISDN connection$400
Global Freedom 566016-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellularWin9x, NT Country-specific software$236
3Com Corp.
Santa Clara, Calif.
408-326-5000
www.3com.com
10/100 LAN + 56K Modem CardBus PC Card32-bit CardBus56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet, AMPS cellularWin9xNway 10/100-Mbps autonegotiation$210
10/100 LAN + 56K Modem PC Card16-bit PC Card Type IISameWin9xSame$99
10Mbps LAN + 56K Modem PC Card16-bit PC Card Type IISameWin9xSame with Xjack connector$200
Trendware International Inc.
Torrance, Calif.
310-891-1100
www.trendware.com
TEM100-5616-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps EthernetWin3.x, Win9x, NT, OS/2Port autosensing$192
TEM-560T16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, 10-Mbps EthernetWin9xN/A$158
TFM-560E/P16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9xSelf-diagnostics in RJ-45 connectors$73
TIM128/56 with S/T Interface16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, ISDNWin9xSwitchable from analog to 128-Kbps ISDN connection$302
Viking Components Inc.
Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
949-643-7255
www.vikingcomponents.com
56K PC Card Modem16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9x, NT, Mac OSFlash upgradable$96
Western Datacom Co.
Westlake, Ohio
440-335-1510
www.western-data.com
Fortezza V.90 PC Card 16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellularWin3.x, Win9x, NT, Mac OS, OS/2V.90 clear text, Skipjack encrypted at 33.6 Kbps, DES/3DES encryped at 33.6 Kbps$695
Xircom Corp.
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
800-438-4526
www.xircom.com
RealPort2 Modem56 GlobalAccess Model R2M56GA16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analog, GSM cellular, ISDN with optional cableMS-DOS, Win3.1, Win9x, NT,Win 2000, OS/2Digital shield, Wake-on-Ring Country-specific software, line protection, ACPI$197
RealPort2 CardBus Modem 56 GlobalAccess Model R2BM56WGA32-bit CardBusSameSameSame$164
RealPort2 CardBus Modem 56 WinGlobal Model R2BM56WG32-bit CardBusSameWin9x, NT, Win 2000, OS/2Same$152
RealPort2 CardBus Modem 56 WinSwift32-bit CardBusSameSameSame$133
Zoltix Multimedia Inc.
Newark, Calif.
510-790-8989
FMPCM56f16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9x, NTN/A$65
Zoom Telephonics Inc.
Boston, Mass.
617-423-1072
www.zoomtel.com
Dualmode Zoom/ PC Card 56K Fax Modem16-bit PC Card Type II56-Kbps analogWin9x, NT, Mac OSDigital line protection, lightning and surge protection$118

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