The wireless equipment market is ever developing and growing. Not so long ago only corporations and businesses were using wireless networks. Now there there are thousands of free WI-FI spots across the country in restaurants, hotels, college campuses, bars, parking lots and places allowing you to access the Internet from anywhere within these areas. Laptops recently produced include wireless capabilities from default so using them within a wireless setup is very easy and accessible. However, older models do not have Wi-Fi capabilities and if you want to use an older laptop inside a wireless LAN, you will need to purchase a PCMCIA wireless card. They are add-on cards that you insert in your laptop's expansion slots to add it Wi-Fi support.
There are many PCMCIA cards on the market. Some offer only the basic wireless capabilities, while others are more complex, offering other features as well, such as Bluetooth support for example. If you have an older laptop model, you should not worry about finding a PCMCIA wireless card for it, as there are both 16 bit and 32 bit models available (if you need a 16 bit PCMCIA wireless card, be sure to look for a Type I card or a 16 bit Type II or III card Type IV cards are 32 bit only). There are PCI to PCMCIA adapters, allowing you to install and use a PCMCIA card on your standalone computer.
If you have an Asus motherboard and you are looking for a simple, easy to install and use PCMCIA wireless card, the Asus WL-127 model is a good solution. It supports the 802.11b standard and it has an external and removable wireless antenna. You can manually select the speed rate from its three supported speeds: 0.5, 5.5 and 11Mbs. It comes together with drivers for all Microsoft Windows operating systems and it supports WEP 64/128 security features. The Asus WL-127 PCMCIA wireless card has two activity LEDs allowing you to see the card's status (an Air LED that is lit when a data transfer occurs and a Link LED that shows that there is an active link). Asus ships its Asus WL-127 card with the necessary documentation, drivers and the external antenna.
The Asus WL-127 card performed well both in a point to point setup and in a wireless network through an access point. The Asus WL-127 wireless card can be used together with the Asus motherboards supporting the Asus WiFi-b technology. The Asus motherboard has a special connector (called WiFi-b slot), that is a modified PCI slot supporting the Asus WL-127 PCMCIA card. Its speed was up to the 802.11b specifications, in situations when the two wireless cards were close to one another and when they were in separate rooms. Its external antenna covers a larger range, allowing you to cover your entire house perimeter. However, it comes with some drawbacks: the Asus WL-127 card comes with drivers only for Microsoft's operating systems and it is only supported by Asus motherboards.