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,
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.
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.
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.
|Vendor||Product||Interface||Messaging support||OS drivers||Special features||Price|
|Actiontec Electronics Inc.|
|DataLink V.90 56K||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x||Digital line protection||$79|
|Archtek America Corp.|
City of Industry, Calif.
|SmartLink PCMCIA 56K Model 5634 PCC||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x, NT||N/A||$60|
|Best Data Products Inc.|
|10/100Base-T + 56K Modem Model 56PCBT||32-bit CardBus||56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet||Win9x||Port autosensing||$180|
|Compaq Computer Corp.|
|Compaq Microcom 420||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellular||Win3.1, Win9x, NT||Digital line protection, country-specific software||$136|
|Compaq Microcom 550 56-Kbps + 10/100 Ethernet Combo PC Card||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, 10/100- Mbps Ethernet, GSM and AMPS cellular||Win9x||Same with SNMP management and 10/100-Mbps port autosensing||$260|
|CNet Technology Inc.|
|CNFM560||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x, NT||Data, fax and voice support software||$65|
|Digicom Systems Inc.|
|ModemBlaster Flash 56 PCMCIA||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x||Cellular-ready, flash memory modification||$119|
|Digi International Inc.|
|DataFire Go PRO||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog,10-Mbps Ethernet, GSM/PCS cellular, ISDN||Win3.1, Win9x, NT||Compatible with worldwide telecom and ISDN standards||$395|
|D-Link Systems Inc.|
|DMF-560TX 10/100 PC Card/Modem||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet||Win3.1, Win9x, NT||Digital Line protection||$135|
|Eicon Technology Corp.|
|Diva Mobile V.90 PC Card||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, ISDN||Win9x, NT, Win 2000||128K ISDN connection||$239|
|Eiger Labs Inc.|
|EigerCom 56K PCMCIA Modem||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win3.x, Win9x, NT, Unix, Mac OS, OS/2||V.80 standard compliance (videoconferencing)||$76|
San Jose, Calif.
|MicroLink 56K MC PC Card||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x, NT, Win 2000||Country-specific software||$141|
|Global Village Corp.|
|56K PC Card Fax/Modem||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellular||Mac OS||Digital line protection||$90|
|PCMCIA Fast Ethernet 10/100+56K Modem PC Card Model PN656||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet||Win9x, NT, Linux||Digital line protection, 10/100-Mbps port autosensing||$160|
Santa Ana, Calif.
|56K PCMCIA Data/Fax Modem||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x, NT||Wake-up-Ring for computer||$80|
|PCMCIA 56K Modem with Xjack||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x, NT||Xjack connector||$129|
|10/100 EtherJet CardBus Adapter with 56K Modem||32-bit CardBus||56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet||Win9x, NT||Port autosensing||$225|
|International PC Card with GSM||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, GSM cellular||Win3.1, Win9x, NT||Optimized for international use||$165|
|Pro/100 LAN+Modem56 Mobile Adapter Model MBLA3456||32-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet, AMPS cellular||Win9x, NT||Wake-on-LAN, Desktop Management Interface 2.0, RealPort form factor||$300|
|Pro/100 LAN+Modem56 Mobile Adapter Model MBLA3356||32-bit CardBus||Same||Win9x, NT||Same with standard PC Card design||$215|
|Pro/100 LAN+Modem56 Mobile Adapter Model MBLA1656||16-bit PC Card Type II||Same||Win9x, NT||16-bit PC Card form for legacy notebooks||$99|
|Linksys Group Inc.|
|EtherFast 10/100 + 56K Modem PC Card||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet||Win9x, NT, Linux||Integrated network and modem connectors||$139|
Los Angeles, Calif.
|56K Fax/Modem PC Card||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||MS-DOS, Win9x, NT||Available with Lucent or Rockwell chip sets||$119 to $139|
|PCM56/C||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||MS-DOS, Win3.1, Win9x||Built-in phone line interface||$111|
|Vendor||Product||Interface||Messaging support||OS drivers||Special features||Price|
|Hayes Accura 56K/V.90 PC Card||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win3.1, Win9x||Internet Accelerator software||$105|
|Hayes Optima 56K/V.90 PC Card||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win3.1, Win9x||Internet Accelerator, optional Cellular Kit||$235|
|Hayes Optima 56K/V.90 PC Card with EZjack||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win3.1, Win9x||Same with EZjack connector||$175|
|Multi-Tech Systems Inc.|
Mounds View, Minn.
|MultiMobile PC Card||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x, NT||Available in World Modem version||$179|
|Ositech Communications Inc.|
|Jack of Spades with DPI 56K Analog/PBX Mode+ 10/100Base-TX CardBus PC Card||32- bit CardBus||56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet, AMPS cellular||Win9x, NT||Digital PBX line connectivity||$359|
|Jack of Hearts 56K with DPI 56K Analog/PBX Modem+ Ethernet Card||32-bit CardBus ||56-Kbps analog, 10-Mbps Ethernet, AMPS cellular||Win9x, NT||Same||$309|
|Five of Hearts with DPI 56K Analog/PBX PC Card Modem||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellular||Win9x, NT||Same||$259|
|Five of Clubs 56K PC Card Modem||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellular||Win9x, NT||Bundled with a cellular connection kit||$229|
|Phoebe Micro Inc.|
|PCMCIA 56K Fax/Modem||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x||Comes with optional Lucent or Cirrus Logic chip sets||$59|
|Psion Connect Inc.|
|Gold Card 56K Fax/Data PC Card Modem||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||MS-DOS, Win3.1, Win9x, NT||N/A||$199|
|Gold Card NetGlobal 56K + 10Mbps||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, Ethernet, optional GSM and ISDN||MS-DOS, Win3.1, Win9x, NT||Same||$269|
|Simple Technology Inc.|
Santa Ana, Calif.
|56K Communicator||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellular||Win9x, NT||Flash upgradable||$113|
|TDK Systems Inc.|
Nevada City, Calif.
|Global Pro ISDN 3600||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, ISDN||Win9x, NT||128Kbps ISDN connection||$400|
|Global Freedom 5660||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellular||Win9x, NT ||Country-specific software||$236|
Santa Clara, Calif.
|10/100 LAN + 56K Modem CardBus PC Card||32-bit CardBus||56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet, AMPS cellular||Win9x||Nway 10/100-Mbps autonegotiation||$210|
|10/100 LAN + 56K Modem PC Card||16-bit PC Card Type II||Same||Win9x||Same||$99|
|10Mbps LAN + 56K Modem PC Card||16-bit PC Card Type II||Same||Win9x||Same with Xjack connector||$200|
|Trendware International Inc.|
|TEM100-56||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet||Win3.x, Win9x, NT, OS/2||Port autosensing||$192|
|TEM-560T||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, 10-Mbps Ethernet||Win9x||N/A||$158|
|TFM-560E/P||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x||Self-diagnostics in RJ-45 connectors||$73|
|TIM128/56 with S/T Interface||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, ISDN||Win9x||Switchable from analog to 128-Kbps ISDN connection||$302|
|Viking Components Inc.|
Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
|56K PC Card Modem||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x, NT, Mac OS||Flash upgradable||$96|
|Western Datacom Co.|
|Fortezza V.90 PC Card ||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, AMPS cellular||Win3.x, Win9x, NT, Mac OS, OS/2||V.90 clear text, Skipjack encrypted at 33.6 Kbps, DES/3DES encryped at 33.6 Kbps||$695|
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
|RealPort2 Modem56 GlobalAccess Model R2M56GA||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog, GSM cellular, ISDN with optional cable||MS-DOS, Win3.1, Win9x, NT,Win 2000, OS/2||Digital shield, Wake-on-Ring Country-specific software, line protection, ACPI||$197|
|RealPort2 CardBus Modem 56 GlobalAccess Model R2BM56WGA||32-bit CardBus||Same||Same||Same||$164|
|RealPort2 CardBus Modem 56 WinGlobal Model R2BM56WG||32-bit CardBus||Same||Win9x, NT, Win 2000, OS/2||Same||$152|
|RealPort2 CardBus Modem 56 WinSwift||32-bit CardBus||Same||Same||Same||$133|
|Zoltix Multimedia Inc.|
|FMPCM56f||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x, NT||N/A||$65 |
|Zoom Telephonics Inc.|
|Dualmode Zoom/ PC Card 56K Fax Modem||16-bit PC Card Type II||56-Kbps analog||Win9x, NT, Mac OS||Digital line protection, lightning and surge protection||$118|