Review: Agere ORiNOCO AS-2000, part 1 - Page 4

 By Lisa Phifer | Posted Aug 23, 2001
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EUC with HCI: Why It Matters

Not Quite Plug 'N Play
The promise of wireless public access cannot be fully realized without plug and play. An enterprise or university can widely install ORiNOCO NICs and AS Client software, creating a ubiquitous platform. But hotel, conference, or airport visitors may resist installing a "rental NIC". Perhaps if the associated software installed and uninstalled cleanly, with the click of a button. But ORiNOCO isn't there quite yet.

PC card, PCMCIA, Client Manager, and AS Client software are now installed separately. Agere plans to integrate these ordered steps under an umbrella setup program in a future release, simplifying installation. Agere also hopes to have the AS Client recognize and work with other-vendor NICs when standard object identifiers enable this.

On Windows 95 and ME, AS Client 2.00 installation was almost trouble-free. The AS Client played nicely with our ZoneAlarm desktop firewall and Ashley-Laurent VPN client. It co-existed with our IRE SafeNet VPN client, but we could not initiate a VPN tunnel over the ORiNOCO interface.

On NT, RRAS and SP4 are pre-requisites. We had trouble getting ORiNOCO's "RasShim" software installed properly, with symptoms ranging from bluescreen to inability to associate with the AS-2000. A RasMsg file offers brief error messages, but debugging consisted largely of removing and reinstalling software in the prescribed order until the AS Client worked (Workstation laptop) or we gave up (Server desktop). The new Windows 2000 Professional AS Client 2.03 installed cleanly.

But at login, the AS Client insisted "WaveLAN Card not present." Tech support quickly recognized the problem and suggested the fix: disable all other network interfaces. We found this workable, but look forward to a permanent fix in the next release.

Part 2 of this review will deal with the installation nitty-gritty.

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