"loved the retractable antenna"4.0 starson
Summary: Despite of the two negative reviews, I actually liked it very much and thus decided to write some positive comments about this product. First of all, I did not get the exact model reviewed by CNET. I got a similar model (3CRSHPW196) which all is a 802.11b card with Xjack. Here is what I liked about the product: 1) the retractable antenna is great for traveling. It is so convenient. 2) I don't notice any problem with the reception compared to the Linksys and Microsoft cards. When the antenna is extended, it worked at least just as well as the others, or even better. In my house the access point is on the second floor, and I still get 'Excellent' strength (the strongest grade) in the first floor. With the Microsoft card, I only get 'Very good' (the second strongest grade). 3) With the model that I got (3CRSHPW196, see 3Com website), the card is NOT shut down when the antenna is retracted. The reception is reduced through, as expected. But the really nice thing is, I am able to work with the antenna retracted in my office when the access point is only 1 meter away. Why do I want to do that? I own a Sony Vaio notebook, which has its PCMCIA slot located right underneath my left palm (when typing). Therefore the regular (unretractable) antenna will get in the way of my left hand. Now, the antenna is nicely hidden, and it's like working with a laptop with integrated wireless LAN. Nice! 4) When the access point is far away, I do have to extend the antenna, and my left palm would be resting right on top the antenna. However the antenna is built strong to withstand the pressure, therefore no problem. 5) I did not have ANY problem setting up the card, and I am not even an IT person. Popped the card in, computer asked for drivers, put the CD in, that's it. I did not install any of the software the come with the card through. I never do it, for any of the LAN card I've used. It is unnecessary, and a waste of hard-drive space. Overall, I do like my 3COM Xjack wireless LAN card very much. I do not have any complains about it like others. No, I don't work for 3COM. I just though it is not nearly as bad as what it seems. The Xjack is really convenient, it makes me feel like I have an integrated wireless LAN.