Hands down, the ORiNOCO wireless PCMCIA cards by Agere Systems are the best on the market. The cards are standard PCMCIA and will fit into one Type II slot on a laptop or portable computer. There are two models of the card, Silver and Gold. The Silver card offers 64-bit WEP protection, while the Gold offers 128-bit. Both cards offer connection speeds of up to 11Mbps and are Wi-Fi-compliant, making them compatible with other systems. One of the better features of both the Gold and Silver cards is the capability to connect an external antenna. This capability, while not unique, is fairly uncommon among other manufacturers, and is a crucial feature for wireless auditing and network management. In addition, the cards are widely supported across multiple operating systems, such as Mac, Novell, Windows and Linux.
The ORiNOCO cards can be configured to work in peer-to-peer (ad-hoc) or infrastructure modes. Peer-to-peer mode allows you to form a small network in which the cards communicate without the use of an access point. When in infrastructure mode, the card will associate with larger corporate networks that use access points to help relay information onto the wired network.
The Gold and Silver ORiNOCO cards by Agere Systems should be your first choice when outfitting your office. Their solid construction, capability to connect an external antenna, and support for multiple systems make them our favorite.