2. Hardware

To make use of this service you will need a wireless network client adaptor. This component may take a number of forms depending on the age and type of your computing device. Typically it will be one of the following:
  • If you have a new laptop computer, there is a good chance it came supplied with a wireless adaptor fitted within the body. Look for an Intel® Centrino™ sticker or consult your hardware documentation.
  • Older or more compact or inexpensive laptops may require a wireless adaptor card that is purchased separately and plugs into an available PCMCIA card slot.
  • Some PDA's have a Compact Flash (CF) slot to which a wireless adaptor card may be connected.
  • Newer PDA's may also come with wireless adaptors fitted within their bodies.
To help guide your purchase there may be some logos or codes on poduct packaging that identify supported standards. The following table indicates those supported by our service together with a brief explanation:
The WiFi Alliance is a consortium of vendors that guarantee hardware compatibilty. We recommend that you purchase a product with this logo
802.11bThe most common standard for wireless, providing data speeds of upto 11Mbits per second
802.11gA newer standard that uses the same radio frequencies as 802.11b but provides faster data rates of upto 54Mbits per second (compared to, say, half a Mbit for domestic broadband or 100Mbits at your desktop)
802.11aA less common standard that also runs at 54Mbits but using less crowded radio frequencies
We have tested the following client adaptors, and found them each to work successfully:
Intel Centrino
Cisco Aironet
Apple Airport
Symbol Wireless Networker
We have also tested the following hardware platforms, and found them each to work successfully:
  • Toshiba Satellite Pro Intel Pentium 4 (laptop)
  • Apple G3 iBook (laptop)
  • Apple G4 iBook (laptop)
  • Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 (PDA)

It must be said that wireless networking is a technology with many competing standards from different vendors, and is not guaranteed that a service will be supported across all devices and operating systems. We have tried to make the Oxford service as widely accessible as possible. Please see the next section for further software advice.

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