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  Belkin Wireless Desktop Card 8/10. Date Posted 22/02/2003. by Saeed Amen.

Wireless networking has really taken off over the past few years. Until recently the only cards for desktop, were essentially PCMICA cards, inserted into a PCI cradle card. This is not really the best solution, since the antenna on PCMICA wireless cards are usually fixed, and very small. This is fine for a laptop, that can be moved around. However, for a desktop that is stuck on the floor, it really is not the best solution to get a decent wireless signal.

This wireless PCI desktop card is not Belkin's first entry into the wireless market. It runs on the 802.11b standard offering a maximum of 11Mbit/s. It was very simple to install, and it worked seamlessly with my Netgear wireless access point. I have heard of other wireless network cards which have trouble working with products of different brands, so it is nice to see that Belkin have no problem there! Compared to my Netgear PCMICA wireless network card, the Belkin card seemed far better at getting a decent quality wireless signal, presumably because of the excellent antenna on the Belkin. I was able to get signals that delivered 11Mbit/s, even through a concrete wall, and a non-open enviroment. However, I did need to experiement with the Belkin's antenna position to get the best signal.

If you need a better antenna, you can buy a special detachable aerial for about 20 pounds, which promises an even better signal.

This card is good value for desktop users who find it difficult to add their desktop to wired networks. However, if you find 802.11b too slow, it might be worth hanging on for the newer 802.11g and 802.11a cards (but there, you might have problems with compatiblility).