The Proxim Orinoco Gold 802.11b PC Card that I ordered on eBay arrived this morning. How excited was I, as I tore open the packaging? I fired up my browser, added the MAC address of the card to my WiFi security access panel, popped the card into the Psion 7Book’s PCMCIA slot and started it up.
I won’t lead you, expectantly, down the long, sorrowful path that I then took. I’ll just let you know right now that it didn’t work.
I wouldn’t work! I couldn’t believe it. It was seated in the PCMCIA slot nicely, I’d entered the connection details correctly in Control Panel > Ethernet. Why wasn’t it working?! I fired up NetStatRF, an application that works with the “Lucent WaveLan and Orinoco radios”, to check what it reported.
It reported “Radio not active”. But it is active! At least it’s in there, and it’s an Orinoco card … surely it’s got to work! I’d done my research: the Orinoco range had been passed from company to company over the years, and released as Lucent, Avaya, Agere Systems and now had been bought by Proxim.
The Silvester EPOC Faq website says that the Lucent/Orinoco/Avaya Gold cards are compatible with the 7Book (Series 7 with netBook ROM installed), as they have a Lucent Hermes chipset and an FCC ID of IMRWLPCE24H.
I checked the FCC ID on the bottom of my Proxim Orinoco card: IMRPC2411B. I suddenly felt cold.
After a bit of (further) online research I stumbled upon the Lucent Wireless Card page on the Seattle Wireless website, which told me what I needed to know:
The Name & Brand associated with this card has changed several times. Known originally as the Lucent card, the “Orinoco” card was also later sold under the brand “Agere Systems”. There were several different logos/labels because of these changes. Recently (Dec 2002) Proxim has bought the Orinoco product line and released a different card under the “Orinoco Gold” label to add more confusion to this Chaos 🙂
Note that the Proxim Orinoco b/g and a/b/g adapters use the Atheros chipset. The b/g card has an MC connector for external antennas.
As OEM card may be sold as: IBM as “IBM High Rate Wireless LAN Card”, Compaq WL110, Compaq WL210 (PCI conv & WL110), Avaya, Buffalo …/… It’s a long list. All rebrands, however, irrespective of gold, silver or stickers on the front, have the same FCC ID: IMRWLPCE24H
A vital piece of information: the Proxim Orinoco cards use the Atheros chipset, not the Lucent Hermes chipset. No wonder it doesn’t work!
Returning to eBay I found this card, the Lucent Orinoco Gold.
I emailed the seller and asked if the FCC ID was IMRWLPCE24H. When he confirmed that it was, I shelled out £24 for it, inc. P&P. Third time lucky, perhaps?
What I’ve learned is that when chosing a WiFi card for the Psion 7Book/netBook knowing the FCC ID is essential. But not all card manufacturers display this information on their websites or in supporting documentation. I only discovered the FCC ID of the Proxim Orinoco Gold once I had it in my hands (and sadly, only after I’d had it in my Psion).
Futher adventures in WiFi…
While searching for further information about Psion and WiFi I came across a section on the excellent Pscience5 website about WiFi on a netBook.
Not only does it give a clear, illustrated walk through installing the Buffalo card (WLI-PCM-L11GP) it also refers to a number of useful network tools, including a Virtual Network Computing (VNC) client for the Psion (another version is available as VNC for Symbian) which will allow you to connect to your Windows machine!
Another top application is the freeware NetUtils which offers ifconfig, finger, nslookup, NTPSync, ping, portscan, route, trace and whois.