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Setup:

Setup with this unit closely mirrors the setup procedure for the 10 Mbps unit. Simply plug it into your USB port, and when asked, insert the floppy with the drivers. After a reboot you'll be up and running. Linksys states that you should install the IPX/SPX networking protocol along with NetBEUI. My personal opinion is that you should only install NetBEUI unless you absolutely need IPX/SPX. My personal opinion is that you should use as few protocols as possible. The unit draws its power from the USB port so there are no batteries or external power connector. A couple of checks on my network settings and I was up and running.

Testing:

I tested the performance of this unit directly against two 10/100 NICs using the BEFSR41 router. First, I moved a 150-MB file between the two computers with the 10/100 ethernet cards. Next, I moved the same file between the two computers, one with the 10/100 card and the other with the USB100TX adapter. I noticed that it took approximately six times longer even though the USB100TX is supposed to be a 10/100 unit.

I had suspected this all along. USB is limited to 12 Mbps of bandwidth. The USB100TX actually maxes out at 12 Mbps of bandwidth, which is USB's limit. I don't'consider that to be a bad thing. On a network without a switch this unit allows your network to continue working at 100 Mbps. The performance drop down to 10 Mbps is crippling for someone who requires fast ethernet's speed for day to day work. I noticed in the spec sheet that the USB100TX features 32 KB of memory buffer. Undoubtedly that helps to make sure that there is no loss data due t the bottle neck at the USB connection. I lost no files and had no problems moving large files back and forth. Obviously that memory buffer works.

Pros
Cons
  • Small size
  • Easy Installation
  • Can be used with desktop or notebook computers
  • Delivered 12 Mbps speed
  • No RJ-45 network cable was include with the unit

Conclusions:

If you were expecting to see true 100 Mbps performance from this unit then by now you've realized that you won't be happy with this unit. If you are a mobile user and like the convenience of USB and the small dimensions of this unit then you shouldn't hesitate to use this ethernet adapter. Although its 12 Mbps speed may seem slow to people who are used to 100 Mbps networking, I'll gladly take that over the 8 Mbps limit of the USB10T adapter I reviewed earlier.

Personally, I like USB networking equipment. I can move components rapidly from computer to another without having to open them. I think anyone who doesn't mind the inherent limitations of USB networking will find the USB100TX to be one of the best available ethernet adapters on the market. The unit was easy to install, worked great, and had no problems with lost data. And here's another plus: the shipping drivers worked great with Windows Millennium.


Victor Oshiro

 





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