Current Cover (3068 bytes)
Current Cover

Recent issues

HOME | Windows Mobile | Palm OS | Rugged PDAs | Rugged PCs | Pen Computers | Tablet PCs | Case Studies | Industry leaders

« TenGO Update | Main | Make your PPC Phone Ring & Sing »

September 26, 2006

Fast, New JustMobile 802.11g SD Card

I recently reviewed several 802.11b Wi-Fi cards for the Treo 700w, which lamentably does not come with built-in Wi-Fi capability. I was hoping that the new 700wx would have built-in Wi-Fi, but no such luck. Not all of the cards that I tested worked, and some of them did not work well enough to recommend. I am delighted to share with you a fast, new 802.11g card recently released by JustMobile that works impeccably on the 700w and 700wx. This card will really put some zing in your Internet connectivity, and you may wish to consider it your device has the slower 802.11b built-in.

The evolution of Wi-Fi standards has progressed from their introduction in 1997 with speeds of 1-2 Mbps to 802.11b to the present 802.11g card. Yes, the new 802.11n mode with its sizzling throughput is available but expensive and difficult to find. I would not recommend rushing to buy one because the standard has not been set, and the card you buy may not be compatible with the final standard.

The 802.11b cards are capable of speeds up to 11 Mbps, while the 802.11g mode hikes the rate up to 54 Mbps, and 802.11n doubles that at 108 Mbps.

Happily, 802.11b and 802.11g both operate in the 2.4 GHz band and are mutually compatible, but communications between the two will occur at the lower 802.11b rate. Keep in mind that the distance from an access point can affect the transmission speed of Wi-Fi cards.

Installation is quick and easy. Slip the three-inch CD that comes in the box into your computer and run the installation program with your Treo connected in sync mode. The driver will automatically transfer and install on your handheld.

802.11g cd.jpg

As you can see from the photo below, the JustMobile wireless LAN card is slightly larger than a standard SD memory expansion card. When inserted in the 700W, it sticks up about ¼ inch, which is much less than some other Wi-Fi cards I’ve tested.


When you first plug in the card, a blue light starts flashing on the left side of the card until it automatically and quickly makes a connection with an open network, at which point the light stays on. A warning screen will pop-up saying that Palm suggests disabling the phone when connected to Wi-Fi, but it seems to work fine whether or not the phone is active. Notice in the screen shot below that the Wi-Fi icon in the task bar with the halo and two arrows facing in opposite directions indicates a successful network connection.


Tapping on the Wi-Fi icon invokes a connectivity window that indicates your current connection and green bars show the strength of the connection. Tap on Wireless Manager and a new screen will appear that you have never seen before that now contains Wi-Fi in addition to the accustomed Bluetooth and Phone options. This is where you would turn off your phone, if you wish. Click on Menu, select Wi-Fi Settings. The resulting screen will show all available networks, indicate whether they are open or closed, and show your current connection. A little, gold padlock indicates a closed, password-protected network.



You can expect appreciably faster Wi-Fi connections compared to a phone network, even EVDO, which is only capable of speeds of around 800 kbps. A Wi-Fi card is definitely worth having if you are going to do any serious Web work or play. Remember that Verizon has been terminating “unlimited” accounts for excessive use, a problem you will not have with a Wi-Fi card. Of course, you can also make phone calls free over the Internet using VoIP, which is probably another reason that Verizon vetoed onboard Wi-Fi on the 700W. I wonder if it will be available on the 700Wx when it comes out soon.

While I think Verizon and Sprint nixing a built-in Wi-Fi card on the Treo 700w and 700wx is self-serving, the good thing is that you are not stuck with outmoded technology, as you are with the onboard Bluetooth 1.3 instead of 2.0. At least this way, you can plug in the latest and fastest version of Wi-Fi card.

Accordingly, if you are in the market for a Wi-Fi card for Internet connectivity and higher speed, I recommend that you consider the JustMobile 802.11g card. It will serve you well and save you time and money until the Wi-Fi Alliance sets the 802.lln standard and prices go down.

If you visit JustMobile’s Website (, click on Buy Here, for where you can purchase the card online. Prices average around $79.

Posted by tim at September 26, 2006 04:40 PM