Linksys 10T USB Network Interface
- Size: 2.5" x
2.2" x .8"
- Weight: 3.7 oz
- Ports: USB Type-B
Port, 10BaseT RJ-45 Ethernet Port
- Speed: 8Mbps
Max Data Throughput
- LED activity
lights for Link and TX/RX
- USB support,
plus Windows 98
- Cost: $40 USD
I ran into a particular
problem recently. I needed to purchase a NIC (network interface card) for
a new system I was adding to my home network. The problem I ran into was that
this system had no available PCI or ISA slots to expand to. I also wanted
this new NIC to be compatible with any system that came into my network. I've
had problems with certain NIC cards not being compatible with my motherboards
and I'd rather not repeat the frustration of having to make extra trips to
the store to try different brand NIC cards.
I also wanted a unit that could be moved from a notebook to a desktop PC.
Buying a PCMCIA network adapter would have made it unusable with anything
but a notebook. On my shopping excursion I came upon the Linksys USB Network
Adapter (Model USB10T). I had figured that USB would be the way to go with
this setup since all new motherboards support USB and some are now even being
equipped with four USB headers. The day that I was in the store there were
no other brands available so I left with the Linksys
unit and hoped for the best.
unit comes supplied with one USB cable (about four feet long), the USB Network
Adapter, a floppy with the drivers, and the installation manual. There was
no RJ-45 network cable included with this unit. When I plugged the unit into
the computer it was recognized immediately and installation of the drivers
went without a hitch. Once I had the drivers installed I setup my network
protocols and settings and rebooted. Win98 is a must for this unit. I've had
problems with USB support with the later versions of Win95 so I don't think
you should try this on a Win95 machine unless you are feeling adventurous.
On bootup everything proceeded
normally when I noticed the signal light on my cable modem went out. This
was starting to get interesting. After double checking all my network settings
and making sure the unit was securely plugged in I called the cable company.
Turns out the problem was at my end. I had done everything correctly, except
that my cable company wanted to charge me $59.95 for adding another computer
to the network. I argued two points with the tech on the line. First, I was
promised four IP addresses when I got the service and I had not exceeded that,
and I'd rather pay $59.95 for a proxy program than give that money to them.
Eventually, he relented and I had an IP address for my new system. My first
reboot after the phone fiasco and I was on the network.
I immediately began patrolling
the net for slow sites. I noticed no lag behind my main machine that uses
a standard PCI NIC card. I even went so far as to time the two machines side
by side. I was quite impressed. While this USB Network Adapter is only 10
Mbps Linksys does have a 10/100 Mbps version (Model USB 100TX). It looks just
like this unit except that it has red plastic instead of blue. If you will
be using these units with a notebook keep in mind that they draw power from
your notebook battery. Linksys has included a power saving feature that stops
current draw through the USB port when the unit is not actively being used.
- Small size and
- Delivered same
speed as a normal NIC
- Easy installation
- Easily moves
from a notebook to desktop PC
- No RJ-45 network
cable was supplied with the unit
10 Mbps is fast enough
for a cable modem or DSL service connection. Most average between 2.5 and
4 Mbps so you shouldn't see a dramatic speed difference from a normal NIC
card. If you are using a 10/100 hub or router make sure that you use the 10/100
version of this unit since that is quite a noticeable speed difference when
you are moving large files between two systems.
I've knocked Linksys before
for the tiny manuals they provide with their equipment. True to form they
packaged a 30-page manual with this unit that is smaller than a checkbook.
At least they included a normal sized sheet that is a Windows 98 Quick Installation
guide. On it you'll find simple instructions to get you up and going. I believe
they are realizing that most of the calls they must get on their support line
are from people who misunderstood the tiny manual that was supplied with their
unit. Linksys recommends you install two clients and two network protocols
with this machine (not including TCP/IP). I don't recommend that you install
all the network protocols or clients that Linksys recommends. I think you'd
be better off picking one protocol, or maybe two if you game, and using that
setup. I'd also only install the client that you need: either Microsoft's
or Netware. I've had instability problems and a lot of network slowdown on
systems with too many installed protocols.
My experience with this
unit has been very positive. However, I'd like to see all networking components
come with a networking cable. The unit did come shipped with the correct USB
cable, which is a great since it is only the second USB component I've tested
that came with one. It will easily fit in your notebook carrying bag and if
you decide to use it with a desktop PC it is very light, so it shouldn't cause
any problems while hanging from the USB port.