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Connecting to a Wireless LAN with Linux, Part 1 - page 2

The Hardware Hokey-Pokey

  • January 30, 2005
  • By Carla Schroder
Here is a roundup of a few of the best-performing wireless network adapters for Linux. This is not a comprehensive list, but a select few. If you have had good experiences with other cards please write and let me know.

802.11b support is the strongest. Theoretically this is 11 megabits per second, but in reality it's more like 5-9 mbps. This is much faster than most users' Internet connection, and is suitable for everyday computer chores. The most solid performer, in my nearly-humble opinion, is the Senao/EnGenius 2511 CD Plus PCMCIA wireless adapter. It has more transmit power and receive sensitivity than most of its competitors, which typically transmit at 30 mW, so the 2511 provides more reliable connections and greater range. It can be used for both client boxes and in access points. Its official transmit rating is 200 milliwatts, but some folks report successfully pushing it as high as 250 mW.

It has plugins for an external antenna, and it can be installed in a desktop PC with the addition of a PCI adapter. EnGenius is the United States subsidiary of Senao, which is based in Taiwan. It costs under $70.

The traditional bullet-proof wireless adapter is the Orinoco Classic Gold. It also can be used for either a client or an access point. It has connectors for an external antenna, and a PCI adapter, just like the 2511. However, compared to the 2511 it's a weakling, with only 30 mW of transmit power. But it is dependable and works well in Linux. Both are based on the Prism chipset and supported in the kernel. It also typically sells for under $70.

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