CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Proxim Orinoco 11a/b/g ComboCard Gold review: Proxim Orinoco 11a/b/g ComboCard Gold

Review Sections

Thereafter, things get a little complicated--mainly because Orinoco spreads the utility's options across more than a dozen small pages. Most of those options are quite useful and pertain to managing multiple profiles, but some of the advanced diagnostics details will seem like overkill--unless you're dying to know, for example, the number of &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fsearchnetworking%2Etechtarget%2Ecom%2FsDefinition%2F0%2C%2Csid7%5Fgci213249%2C00%2Ehtml" target="_blank">unicast frames you're transmitting or receiving. The Gold version of the card (reviewed here) lets you store an unlimited number of profiles--so that you can easily switch among any number of access points and not have to fiddle with connection settings--and allows you to adjust the transmit-power level to extend laptop battery life. If you can live without those features (and don't mind a limit of two profiles), save $15 and get the Silver version.

/sc/21218195-2-300-SS2.gif" width="300" height="225" border="0" />

The security tab offers different ways to lock down your connection.

In keeping with the one-size-fits-all nature of the ComboCard, you also get plenty of security choices, all of them on the Profile Management page. There, you can create preshared keys for WEP or &siteid=7&edid=&lop=txt&destcat=ex&destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Enwfusion%2Ecom%2Fnewsletters%2Fwireless%2F2003%2F0324wireless1%2Ehtml" target="_blank">LEAP security, and even 802.1x authentication (used primarily in business networking). Proxim also claims that the card is "hardware ready" for a firmware upgrade to the emerging Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) standard.

The Proxim Orinoco 11/a/b/g ComboCard seems determined to preserve the Orinoco reputation for distance. In CNET Labs' tests in 802.11g mode, the ComboCard kept operating all the way to 200 feet, further than any other card tested to date. It also reached 175 feet operating in the 802.11a band, tying the previous record set by the Linksys WPC55AG.

CNET Labs throughput tests  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Throughput in Mbps  
Proxim a/b/g Combo a
WAG511 802.11a
WPC55AG 802.11a
Proxim a/b/g Combo g
WPC55AG 802.11g
WAG511 802.11g
WAG511 mixed
WPC55AG mixed
Proxim a/b/g mixed

This card's throughput was also impressive--more than 20Mbps in 802.11g mode and nearly 24Mbps in 802.11a mode. Particularly impressive was the smooth performance falloff as distance was increased in 802.11g mode. In 802.11a mode, there's a quick drop of 11Mbps between 50 and 75 feet, but the slope is very gentle after that. The only fly in the ointment was the 802.11g performance in mixed mode (when an 802.11g card is also connected to the access point). Here, performance fell to an unimpressive 6Mbps.

/i/co/wradapt/chart0627_CNETlabs.gif" width="388" height="310" border="0" />

The Proxim Orinoco 802.11a/b/g ComboCard comes with a three-year warranty that includes toll-free phone support 24/7. When we called, we were speaking with a technician within 10 minutes, but before we started discussing our technical problems we were asked to divulge our e-mail address and phone number, information the company didn't need in our case but could sell to others, which made us wonder if tech support was doing a little business on the side. Fortunately, the comprehensive and searchable manual that is included on the CD in the form of an Adobe Acrobat file will probably help you resolve any issue you might encounter, without picking up the phone.

Best Wireless Routers for 2019

All Best Networking

More Best Products

All Best Products

This week on CNET News

Discuss Proxim Orinoco 11a/b/g ComboCard...