SAN FRANCISCO (06/26/2000) - If you've used PC Cards over the years, you know their cable connectors have evolved. Proprietary "dongles" that were easy to lose and expensive to replace have given way to pop-out jacks into which you can plug modem and network cables.
Now 3Com Corp. has something for those who want their connection a bit more rugged. This week, the company unveiled two Type III cards that feature standard jacks. You can plug in either a standard 4-pin RJ-11 cable (for a modem connection) or an 8-pin RJ-45 cable (for Local Area Network access).
The 3Com 10/100 LAN+56K Global Modem CardBus PC Card is scheduled to be available in August for a list price of $269. A network adapter only version, the 10/100 LAN CardBus, will ship this fall for a list price of $189.
Both cards support all flavors of Microsoft Windows, from 95 to 2000, 3Com says.
The thicker Type III PC Card allows space for standard jacks, but takes up both available PC Card slots in a standard notebook PC. The new design was based on customer feedback from users, especially those in corporate environments, who wanted easier and more sturdy cable connections, according to a 3Com spokesperson.
For users who prefer a thinner profile, or need to use an additional PC Card, 3Com will continue to offer its Type II products, which use the company's patented pop-out XJack connector. The XJack version uses a single connector that automatically senses whether a phone line or network cable is connected.
The new Type III cards allow both cables to be connected at the same time.
3Com's new modem card also features a connector for hooking up a mobile phone for wireless connectivity. The included Global System for Mobile communication wireless connection manager software automatically routes data to a Nokia or Ericsson GSM phone as soon as one is plugged in.
The 10/100 LAN+56K Global Modem, as its name implies, is designed for worldwide use. WorldPort country selection software allows the card to be configured by clicking on a country name or country flag icon.