The ORiNOCO Classic Gold PC Card is the radio of choice for Wardrivers and Netstumblers worldwide, and its massive internal antenna and external antenna jack make it an extremely versatile radio for both portable and mobile applications. Distributed under many different monikers, the PC Card may sport a decal for WaveLAN, ORiNOCO, Lucent, Agere, Avaya, or Proxim. To make things even more confusing, a 64-bit WEP Silver version of the card exists in addition to its 128-bit WEP Gold big brother.
Physically, it turns out that there’s little difference between the Silver and Gold versions except for a different label, a hefty price increase, and a few flipped bits in flash. After doing a search I found that it was indeed possible to easily hack the ORiNOCO Silver into an ORiNOCO Gold. Alchemy v1.01 by Lincomatic automates the process by detecting the card, dumping the PDA from flash, patching the PDA, then re-flashing the modified PDA. 128-bit WEP Gold capability can then be enabled by upgrading the firmware to the latest version.
This afternoon I ran Alchemy on a first generation WaveLAN Silver PC Card and successfully upgraded the firmware to 128-bit WEP Gold 8.72, and will try to upgrade a pile of old ORiNOCO Silver PC Cards this evening.