Wireless PCMCIA Card

If you are like many American consumers, you get lost in the acronyms and abbreviations that seem to pepper the computing world. For example, a PC Card is a credit card sized peripheral that adds memory, mass storage, and interoperability capabilities to computers in a rugged, compact form factor. The PCMCIA is the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, a non-profit trade association and standards body that promotes PC Card and ExpressCard technology by defining technical standards and educating the market. But, before you commit that to memory, know too that a PCMCIA card (or wireless PCMCIA card) is the older name for PC Cards, Express Cards, etc. If you are thoroughly confused, do not worry. Just keep those handy definitions in mind and know that, as a layman, your local computer repairman or IT friend is not going to penalize you too harshly for failing to keep up with the difference between the PCMCIA trade group and the older name for PC Card technology.

Originally, PCMCIA cards (wireless and non-wireless alike) referred to the form factor of a peripheral interface designed for laptop computers. Not to make matters confusing, but it was developed by the PCMCIA trade association (hence why the card was originally called the PCMCIA card.) In 1991, the PCMCIA trade association’s standard merged with the standard of the Japanese JEIDA memory card, and that is why laptop interfaces can be integrated across the board these days.

The PCMCIA card was originally designed to expand a computer’s storage capacity, but as soon as PCMCIA became a standard format, companies began manufacturing many devices usable in the format. These devices include network cards, modems and hard disks. In fact, these types of usages of PCMCIA cards became so common and other computer storage capacity expanded so much, that PCMCIA cards are no longer even used to expand a computer’s storage capacity.

Wireless PCMCIA cards essentially let laptop users connect to the internet. These wireless PCMCIA cards connect to the laptop through a data port. Most older laptops have two slots for wired or wireless PCMCIA cards (either PC Cards or Express Cards), but many newer ones only have one. In fact, some of the less expensive newer model laptops have no data port for a wired or wireless PCMCIA card at all. One of the handiest things about the presence of these data ports is that they allow older model laptop computers, built without any kind of wireless internet access, to hold wireless PCMCIA cards and in that way connect to the internet fairly cheaply and easily.

One thing to consider when investing in a wireless PCMCIA card is the range offered by the card. Depending on where you plan to access the internet, this could matter greatly. For example, if you plan to access the internet in your home, but your wireless router is located in a far room, you could have a problem if large metal structures – such as appliances or filing cabinets – stand between your computer and your router. It is also important to keep in mind that the range included in the branding of most wireless PCMCIA cards is an optimal range. The presence of metal or electronics that emit radio waves can have a detrimental effect on the quality and range of the wireless signal you can squeeze out of your wireless PCMCIA card.

People who are still confused by this technology (and especially all these technology related acronyms!) should remember one fun fact out of all of this: when the PCMCIA trade group first came into being, people in the industry joked that the association’s acronym actually stood for “People Can’t Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms.” See? You are in good company.

This Wireless PCMCIA Card Review is Written/Updated on Jun 3rd, 2009 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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