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Enfora WiFi Sled

Fri Sep 9, 2005 - 12:48 PM EDT - By Marcus Adolfsson


Sometimes I think that calling the Treo a smartphone is a misnomer—it's almost criminal for Palm to not offer WiFi drivers for its 802.11 SD card. Treo users have been begging for high-speed access. The Enfora WiFi Adapter is a sled for the Treo that finally delivers for those wanting to use the Treo on a wireless LAN.


Before you even open the nice-looking box, there is a disclaimer sticker that warns that web browsing with the WiFi Adapter (also known as WiFi Sled) does not work with Sprint Treos. This is because Sprint locked Blazer to its servers. This FAQ page has a possible workaround for the issue, and you could always just use a different web browser besides Blazer. I'm sure the TC Accessories Forum will also offer alternatives.

Inside the box is an AC adapter that has four different international plugs, so I may take the WiFi Sled with me on my trip to Europe next month. Take care when opening the installation CD, as the instructions are on the sticker that you're sure to rip through. A special battery cover for the Treo is also included. The cover has two slotted holes that are used to attach the Treo to the sled. The dark blue cover matches the WiFi sled, but unfortunately not a GSM Treo. It doesn't look too bad though. Of course the sled itself is also in the box. You are supposed to charge the sled for 2 hours before use. A small amber LED blinks while charging. When conneced, the LED will change to solid green.

For Windows users, there is an automated setup program on the CD. Mac users like myself will need to install the WiFiMgr.prc file (66KB) to the Treo. I recommend downloading the latest software from Enfora's website. There was already a newer version of WiFiMgr (3.1.8), so I installed that and the latest firmware (3.0.3). You can get the current firmware under Options | Device Information in the Enfora application on the Treo. It took about five minutes to upgrade the firmware, and you'll temporarily need about 2.5MB on your Treo. Be sure to read all the instructions before doing the upgrade.


Once you're done charging the WiFi Sled, you're ready to get rocking. The Treo is a little tricky to insert into the sled; you pull the button on the sled down and then slide the Treo into place, then push the Treo back until it is firmly connected. I had to use the manual (p7-8) to figure out how to do it properly. After the Treo is in the sled, there is a power button at the bottom-right of the WiFi Sled. Press it briefly to turn the Sled on or hold it for 5 seconds to power the device off.

Once the Treo is in place, run the Enfora application. If your wireless base station (WBS) isn't listed, tap the Scan button. There are three WBSs near me, so I selected mine and tapped Ok. You then have to select Add to create a network profile so you can specify any IP information and WEP password if needed. My network is DHCP and wide open, so I didn't have to adjust anything.

Once you've added the profile (I called mine Home), tap the Connect button. You'll see a normal Connecting box. When the status is Connected, the Treo is now humming along at WiFi speeds.


But how fast is it? Blazer is, well, blazingly fast. TreoCentral's mobile page loaded in just over two seconds. The speed isn't as good as it could be because of the transfer limits on the Treo's HotSync port. Still, it was pretty respectable compared against my PowerBook, which has an 802.11g card in it.

Here's a comparison table generated with BroadBand Reports' Mobile Speed Test. I also had our other reviewer Douglas Morse run the tests on his Sprint Treo since I've been having trouble with my T-Mobile GPRS connection. If you're thinking about getting a WiFi Sled, I suggest you run the speed test on your Treo and see how it compares.

Filesize WiFi Sled Sprint PCS PowerBook
5K 1.2 27.2 (1 Kbps) 0.4
50K 2.5 14.2 (32 Kbps) 0.9
100K 4.8 (186 Kbps) 32.9 (186 Kbps) 1.4
200K 11.4 (147 Kbps) 21.0 (83 Kbps) 4.9 (342 Kbps)
600K 28.1 (173 Kbps) Test timed out 15.7 (311 Kbps)
Times are in seconds and have been rounded.  Number in () is the download speed.

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Product Info
> Name Enfora WiFi Sled
> Company Enfora
> Weight Sled: 2.1 oz. / 60 g.
Sled+Treo: 8.2 oz. / 234 g.
> Size 3.5"x2.5"x0.6"
> Connection 802.11b (11Mbps)
> Security WEP 64/128-bit
> Bluetooth Headset Recommended
> Fact Sheet & User Opinions
> Available
> $129.95

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