cards installed in both or our test systems, a P2-450 and P3-450,
without a hitch. The cards were installed in fairly loaded systems
and in one case actually had to share an IRQ with another device. We
never experienced any conflicts whatsoever. Life was generally good.
We set our cards up to pass the phone connections through to our
internal modems and then from the modems to the phone sets in each
room. We are happy to report that all devices co-existed peacefully.
The network, modems and phones all worked on those two thin strands
of copper. As a matter of fact they almost all worked this way
simultaneously. More on that later.
software drivers for the cards loaded very easily and Protocols for
NetBEUI, IPX/SPX and TCP/IP were all installed with Win98
Networking, File and Print Sharing Clients. We did experience a
little hiccup with the DynaNAT Internet Connection Sharing software.
The version that we received in the box regularly crashed in Win98.
However, after downloading the lastest version from the ActionTec
web site, all was well again and we had no more crashes moving
forward into our tests.
Ease of Use and Features
we had our hardware and software installed, we were able to access
and transfer files from one machine to another with ease. We also
were able to set up the one printer we had set up on the network, as
a Networked Printer under Win98. This allowed us to print from our
second machine, located in a second floor room, down to our primary
computer's printer on the first floor. Basically the network was
seemlessly the exact way you would use it on a standard LAN, only we
were doing this on own simple phone line wired network in the home.
sharing connection sharing was also a snap! When you install the
DynaNAT software, it asks you to specify one computer as the
"Network Server" and the other as a client.
also lets you monitor you modem's throughput and activity across the
work well, as advertised. Our client computer was able to Web Browse
and send email all through the connection on the Call Waiting Modem
at the Server's end. The "Server" system acts as a gateway
for any clients on the network. You can of course have multiple
servers on the network as well. It worked just like connecting to
the net via a LAN connection on a corporate network. The client box
didn't need to have a modem or even another ISP account for that
matter. With the advent of free email from various online vendors,
this could obviously prove to be a very economical way of web
that the two computers will be sharing that one internet connection
so basically split that bandwidth in half if you are simultaneously
surfing. The software does a decent job of load balancing so it
doesn't get too bogged down. For this review we were sharing a 56K
connection on the ActionTec Call Waiting Modem. If you are fortunate
enough to have a Cable Modem, you'll have all the bandwidth you'll
ever need to share with everyone on your network. That's correct,
the ActionLink Home Network Kit also supports and shares Cable Modem
and DSL connections to the net!
then fired up a few games like Quake3 Arena and the like. We set
them up with Multiplayer sessions over a LAN connection and played
without any problem. The 1Mb data rate was more than enough to keep
lag times down to a minimum and we never experienced a hitch or
the final test we transferred one 12MB file from one machine to the
next and back. The time to transfer the file to the client machine
was 2 Minutes and 35 seconds. The time it took us to pull that file
back down to the server was a little quicker at 2 Minutes and 5
seconds. These are approximate numbers since we timed these
transfers the high tech way with a "stop watch" approach.
These numbers are fairly close to the 1Mbps data rate that is
specified on the box. All told the ActionLink Home Network Kit lives
up to its claims.