3Com OfficeConnect Wireless Cable/DSL Gateway reviewed

Wireless Client

Since standalone reviews of wireless cards don't seem to get much interest, I'll include a mini-review of 3Com's OfficeConnect Wireless 11g PC Card while I'm at it. I've covered the card's performance in the previous section, so my comments here are mainly directed at the 3Com Wireless Card Manager.

3Com 11g Wireless card: Card Manager

Figure 12: Card Manager

Although 3Com gets an "atta-company" for providing WPA-enabled drivers, the Card Manager program falls far short of past 3Com wireless client programs. The Manager barely covers the basics with the only settings available being SSID selection and WEP key setting (and channel number if you're operating in AdHoc).

Missing are settings provided by other client mangers such as transmit rate, base rate, power save, transmit power, mode (11b, 11g), etc. Though the card's Advanced Network Properties settings included some useful items such as Nitro and Power Save modes, since the Not Present radio button was selected on them all, I consider them unavailable.

I especially miss the ability to get signal-to-noise readings (both current and plots over time). Effective throughput rate (and time plots) would also be useful. I also didn't care for the way the Manager buttons were presented, which made me think they were "greyed out" at first.

The client did interact well with Win XP Zero-Config, however, automatically disabling it whenever the manager was selected.