Networking Products

Networking Products
Phone Line Networks
Ethernet Networks
A wireless network, which uses radio frequencies much like a cordless phone does, connects your computers and lets you share a broadband connection, online games and peripherals and files without the headache of installing new wiring throughout your home or office. Setting up a wireless network is relatively easy: The basic components are a bridge, which also is called an “access point,” and an external adapter such as a PC, PCI or ISA card in each computer you want to connect.

The access point lets you share your Internet connection; the adapters let each computer communicate with devices like printers and scanners. Most of today’s wireless networks have a range of 150 to 300 feet and can transmit through walls and ceilings. Most networks support data-transfer rates of 1.6 megabits per second (mbps), while some can go as high as 11 mbps. Here’s a sampling of manufacturers producing wireless networking solutions for home and home/small office users.


Proxim Symphony Cordless Ethernet Bridge

Proxim Symphony PCI Card

Proxim Symphony PC Card
The Symphony product line includes Cordless Ethernet Bridges and ISA, PCI and PC cards
Networks PC desktops and laptops
Data-transfer rate of 1.6 mbps
Range: Up to 150 feet through walls and ceilings

Intel AnyPoint Wireless Home Network
1.6 mbps PC Card
Data-transfer rate of 1.6 mbps
Range: Up to 150 feet through walls and ceilings
USB and PC Card models available
Phone-line networks — often called HPNA, for the Home Phone-Line Networking Alliance — links computers using a home’s or office’s telephone lines. HPNA technology lets you “split” your phone line into separate frequencies: one for voice, one for data. With a split line, you can surf the Internet while you talk on the phone. Phone-line networking does a good job of connecting computers in different parts of the home or office, which usually have installed phone jacks. No additional wiring is needed. Most phone-line manufacturers market several HPNA network models with data-transfer rates of 1 or 10 mbps. Here’s a look at some of the offerings:

3Com® HomeConnect™ Home Network Phoneline Kit Model: 3C410-KIT
HomeConnect supports up to 32 PCs
Data rate of 10 mbps
PCI model available

Linksys HomeLink Phonewire Network in a Box
Linksys markets networking products that use Phoneline (HPNA), Wireless, Ethernet and FastEthernet technologies
The HomeLink product line supports up to 25 PCs
USB devices and PC cards available
HomeLink line offers data-transfer rates of 1 to 10 mbps, and supports desktop and laptop PCs

Intel’s AnyPoint™ Phoneline
Home Network 10 mbps USB Model
Connects up to 15 PCs.
1- and 10-mbps models available
USB, PCI Card and Parallel Port Models available
Ethernet networking is the most commonly deployed type of networking technology. Corporations use it to link their office users because it’s very secure, reliable and fast. Ethernet/FastEthernet technology offers speeds of up to 100 mbps.

For home users, however, Ethernet has its drawbacks: It’s a wired solution that requires Category 5 cable that must be plugged into each computer you want to connect. It also requires an Ethernet Hub that serves as the data-transfer point for the network.

That said, Ethernet may not be the best networking solution for households whose computers aren’t in the same room or for homes whose owners don’t want to install additional wiring. Here’s a look at some of the vendors marketing Ethernet networking products and accessories.

EtherFast 10/100 Network in a Box
Linksys’ line of networking products use Phoneline (HPNA), Wireless, Ethernet and FastEthernet technologies
USB devices and PC cards available
Linksys’ Instant Ethernet and Etherfast product lines offer data-transfer rates of 10 to 100 mbps

3Com® HomeConnect™ Home Network
10 mbps USB Ethernet Kit model: 3C460-KIT
10-mbps and 10/100-mbps models available
USB and PCI card models available
Connects up to five PCs