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consumer report warning

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  • consumer report warning

    so i'm going to bitch and gripe about the particularly bad design of a product now. take what i say with a grain of salt since last night was a Toool meeting and i'm probably still a bit intoxicated, etc. but it's my $0.02, take it or leave it.

    i'm thoroughly disgusted at the moment with the Linksys WPC54G pcmcia wireless adapter. a good friend who lives right near me bought one the other day in order to connect to her home network from downstairs (dog just went through rough surgery, wants to sit on the couch with her and do work from down there, etc).

    i recommended going with the same vendor as her access point. (it's less of an issue nowadays but i can recall times years back when different manufacturers' harware wouldn't play nice if you tried to enable any sort of security.) she has a linksys AP (and i do love their router hardware... it's cheap, they update firmware often as new security algorithms come out, and you can mod the fuck out of the WRT series) so i figured the linksys card would be fine. damn was i wrong.

    two big complaints...

    to even attempt to install the driver and control software, we had to spend a while getting past the barrage of pop-up error messages which state that the software is eteranlly wed to Internet Explorer and would refuse to run without it present. (all computers here have had the IE program and backend rendering engine ripped out of the O/S... they're a 100% mozilla household) after tricking the installer into thinking MSIE was there we got the card running.

    still, even then the control software absolutely failed to function at all. eventually i broke down and installed IE on the system (with a mind to just remove it once the association with the access point was established) and i still couldn't get the control utility to do anything... detect a network, manually connect, etc. netstumbler and other tools have absolutely no trouble detecting the wireless card and, in turn, detecting the home's network... but the WPC monitor utility just sits there, useless as a doorknob on the ceiling.

    we're returning this and trying something else, perhaps a D-Link or even a generic card. as long as it supports WPA2 we'd be happy.


    two additional complaints...

    nowhere on the packaging does it say a damn thing about its assinine internet explorer requirement & the uninstaller doesn't clean up after itself very well... it left remnants of the old software in a variety of places, including startup sections of the O/S which result in windows pissing and moaning on the next reboot.
    Last edited by Deviant Ollam; August 25, 2006, 12:15.
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  • #2
    Re: consumer report warning

    A great many wireless devices are manufactured by the same company. The only thing that changes is the packaging of the board. The Linksys card is most likely a POS broadcom chipset and it's basically thier drivers.

    Broadcom is the most horrid chipset on the planet because they have little to now support and offload as much as they can to other parts of the system, including driver installers.

    Still can't beat an old orinoco B card for reliable day to day use. It even is more reliable than the atheros 'dork' card I picked up at Defcon. A sad testiment to saving a buck per unit. And people wonder why people think wireless is a pain in the ass.
    Never drink anything larger than your head!


    • #3
      Re: consumer report warning

      The ORiNOCO B cards won't do WPA2, nor will the ORiNOCO B/G (Model 8470-FC) cards. I'd recommend the NetGear WG511T B/G card. The NetGear uses the same chipset (Atheros) as the ORiNOCO B/G but the NetGear driver will support WPA2. If you can only find the ORiNOCO B/G, then download the NetGear driver. It will work with the ORiNOCO card, and give WPA2.
      "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird