After installing this program, most users will realize just how powerful their wirelessly equipped iPAQs are; well above the standard established by Microsoft’s “Zero Configuration Networking”, the iPAQ will become a portable WiFi Scanner and hotspot detector (Hotspotter). Additionally, the program makes a great troubleshooting utility for WiFi related problems. By my calculations, Microsoft’s ZC Networking only sees about 4 out of 10 WLANs (or 40% of the actual networks available) in a test area here in my hometown. After having loaded PocketWinC, I was able to see all 10 WLANs. This was confirmed by double-checking with another Laptops with scanner software loaded.
As suggested earlier, I find the program to be a great help in sectionalizing and isolating connectivity problems on WiFi networks. Accordingly, you will see me tout this product repeatedly in the “Wireless WiFi Problems” Forum here at Dave’s iPAQ.
PocketWinc (currently on Version 2.0, build 986), like many other PocketPC software packages, is designed to be downloaded for a limited “Trial” basis. The FREE trial period is limited to 30 days. During this trial period, the program is not limited or crippled in any way. I highly recommend that everyone who is even remotely interested in spotting their local hotspots or need a utility to assist them in diagnosing WiFi problems should download PocketWinc and try it for themselves. You pretty much have to see for yourself in order to see just how incredible this program truly is. And, if you like the PocketPC version, you can rejoice that they also offer a regular PC version- great for laptop users who want to find hotspots. PocketWinc integrates with their Flagship application “AirPatrol Enterprise” for designing and managing your corporate Wireless LAN, although the AirPatrol series is meant for larger corporations and is priced accordingly.
The program’s installer package size is only 3124K and the download speed across broadband was substantially less than a minute. Once installed on the PC, the program will install on the iPAQ via the next ActiveSync session. The initial load time is about three seconds, and installs an icon (the standardized “Wireless” icon) on the top taskbar (the snapshot above shows a balloon dialog pointing to it). On all subsequent uses (between resets), the load time is instantaneous, although it is done in two-steps. As shown on the screenshot to the right, when the user clicks on the Radio icon on the top taskbar, the first step produces a small window with some basic information about the current connection, and offers two choices: proceed to the Full Screen via the PocketWinc link, or Hide this balloon dialog box.