The Good Low price; excellent range; three-year warranty.
The Bad No documentation or help for Windows XP users; free tech support lasts only 30 days; sucks 5V instead of 3.3V.
The Bottom Line This tried-and-true 802.11b card is a fine value, especially for knowledgeable Windows XP users who need a little extra range.
Proxim Orinoco World PC Card (Gold)
The Proxim Orinoco World PC Card Gold first went on sale in late 2000, but periodic price cuts and updates have sustained this 802.11b model as a good value for savvy business travelers. Several CNET readers have remarked on this card's comparatively long range and resistance to dropped connections--observations borne out in CNET Labs' tests. Yes, the card would benefit from lower power consumption, longer free phone support, and better documentation (particularly for Windows XP users). You won't find a lot of extras with the World PC Card, but its long three-year warranty, friendly client software, and 128-bit WEP security make for a solid choice. One advantage to buying a card such as this one, which has been on the market for a while, is that Windows XP comes with a driver for it, so you can simply plug in the card and go (as long as no network security has already been enabled on the access point). Nonetheless, when you have time--even after plugging in the World PC Card--you should make sure to download and update the card's firmware to take advantage of the latest power management, encryption, and compatibility tweaks.
The card's short, slick Getting Started manual provides a capable sketch of wireless LAN topologies, then steps you through basic installation and functionality for the wireless utility software that comes with the card. Next, the setup manual includes helpful installation instructions for Windows 9x and 2000 (the PDF user guide also covers Windows NT and MS-DOS) but, due to the card's age, not Windows XP.