SanDisk SD WiFi Card reviewed

Wireless Performance

• Testing was done in using an HP H2210 ipaq running Pocket PC 2003 connecting to a NETGEAR ME102 802.11b Access Point
• Details of how we test can be found here.

The first bad news is that I had trouble getting the SD WiFi to associate with two Broadcom-based 802.11g access points (ASUS WL-300g and Belkin F5D7130). It would see them just fine, but never be able to successfully connect.

I think the problem lies in the card's driver, since I made sure that 802.11b protection was enabled in the APs and even forced one to advertise only 802.11b-compatible transmit rates. I had no problem getting the card to hook up with a NETGEAR ME102 802.11b AP, though, and that's what I used for my testing.

The real bad news, however, is that I've confirmed the observation by other reviewers and users that the card is extremely slow.

SanDisk WiFi - SD WiFi vs D-Link DCF-650W throughput

Figure 6: SD WiFi vs D-Link DCF-650W throughput
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

Figure 6 shows a composite Chariot plot of Location 1(best case) throughput tests for the SD WiFi and D-Link DCF-650W Compact flash 11b card. Since everything in the two tests is the same except the wireless cards (and their drivers) it looks like SanDisk - actually, probably SyChip - has some work to do. I tried runs with Power Save both on and off and there wasn't any appreciable throughput difference.

SanDisk SD WiFi - Four location throughput comparison

Figure 7: Four location throughput comparison
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

The good news, as shown in Figure 7, is that the card's performance doesn't change much with range and its range is comparable to other 802.11b cards that I've tested. The diminutive antenna doesn't appear to limit range, or throughput as some folks have theorized.

Finally, note that there's no throughput hit when enabling WEP. But like most other 802.11b products, the SD WiFi doesn't support Wi-Fi Protected access, either.

802.11b Wireless Performance Test Results

Test Conditions

- WEP encryption: DISABLED
- Tx Rate: Automatic
- Power Save: Disabled
- Test Partner: NETGEAR ME102 Access Point

Firmware/Driver Versions

AP f/w:
Wireless client driver:
Wireless client f/w:
No Info

Test DescriptionSignal Strength (%)Transfer Rate (Mbps)Response Time (msec)UDP stream
Throughput (kbps)Lost data (%)
Client to AP - Condition 11000.315
[No WEP]
[w/ WEP]
20 (avg)
31 (max)
Client to AP - Condition 2660.32119 (avg)
30 (max)
Client to AP - Condition 3600.32619 (avg)
31 (max)
Client to AP - Condition 4330.32227 (avg)
75 (max)
See details of how we test.