The first major wireless network cards on the market were produced by Lucent. Most famous are the Orinoco silver and Gold cards. Now made by Agere. They rock. They're only 30 mW not the more modern 100 mW cards. They have a great client utility, work well with netstumbler. Their performance can be enhanced by an external antenna.
EXAMPLE. My laptop with a cheap and nasty 5 db rubber duck antenna outperformed an Atheros mini PCI card with a 15 db antenna on it. About a mile from an access point with a 15 db antenna my laptop worked the Atheros didn't. I had 20db above noise.