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Is there a USB wireless adapter that can operate without being inserted into a mobile laptop?

Is there a USB wireless adapter that can operate with its own battery and its own operating system, without being inserted into a mobile laptop or PC?
USB is the interface used by the wireless adapter to communicate with a laptop or desktop, so I do not think you are actually looking for a USB wireless adapter. I suspect what you want is a mobile 802.11 device that is smaller or less expensive than a laptop. How about a PDA with a built-in 802.11 adapter? For example, see the HP iPAQ hx2415 Pocket PC, the Palm Tungsten C, or other PDAs listed on the Wi-Fi Alliance certified products list. Or use an inexpensive PDA with an SDIO or CF slot and a third-party 802.11b/g adapter, like the Intel PRO/Wireless 2011B, Sony 114100, or Symbol LA-4137 compact flash adapters. If you just want to know whether an 802.11 network is in the area, try a $30 Wi-Fi Finder -- but these devices won't let you run applications that use wireless, they just detect wireless signals.
This was last published in September 2005

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