D-Link DFE910 Network In A Box

The DLink DFE910 Network In A Box - Page 2

The D-Link DFE-910 Network In A Box
Award Winning Performance

By Jeff Bouton



Quality & Features of the D-Link DFE-910
What Did You Expect?

The DSS-5+ is a standard 5-port switch that may be small in size, but it is quite capable of handling heavy network traffic.  Each port implements NWay Auto-negotiation, which allows the switch to detect whether the port is connected to a 10Mb or 100Mb connection.  This flexibility allows the DSS-5+ to be compatible with virtually any existing Ethernet network.  Each of the 5 ports supports up to 200Mbps (100Mbps Full Duplex), which makes it an excellent solution for the small to mid-sized network environment.  The DSS-5+ Switch uses dynamic memory allocation to allot a buffer for each port, ensuring against any packet loss during data transmission. 

The next item in the Network In A Box is the DFE-503TX+ Network Adapter.  The  DFE-503TX+ is a 10/100Mbps Ethernet adapter that is capable of Full Duplex or Half Duplex operation, which is determined by auto-negotiation.  Taking full advantage of PCI Bus mastering, the DFE-503TX+ can achieve maximum throughput with minimal CPU utilization.  The network adapter fully supports the Wake-On-LAN function as well.  Wake-On-LAN can be a handy option that lets a user access their computer remotely, even if it is powered off.  By sending a simple command from a remote system, the Network Card detects this command and boots the computer.

Setup & Installation of the D-Link DFE-910
Easy As Pie...

The installation of the Network In A Box was about as easy as can be.  Although no directions were available for Windows ME, the installation was pretty simple.  We inserted the new cards and booted each computer.  The hardware was automatically detected and prompted us for the drivers disk.  Once the drivers were installed, we rebooted and were ready to go.  If this had been a new network setup, minor adjustments may have been needed in Network Neighborhood.  Nonetheless, the process is still relatively painless thanks to the excellent documentation included in the kit.

One of the first things that I do when I complete the installation of a new piece of hardware is go online and see if updated drivers are available.  After locating the drivers section on the D-Link website, I entered in my O/S information and downloaded that latest drivers from the website, or so I thought.  To my surprise, the drivers available for download from the D-Link website are actually older than the ones provided on the floppy disk included in the kit.  This is a first for me.  My advice is always verify the drivers that you download are in fact newer than the ones provided with your piece of hardware before installing them.

Now that our kit is installed, let's cover some of the basic differences between a Hub and a Switch...

Hub vs. Switch Overview
Put On Your Thinking Cap...

The purpose of this section isn't to cover all of the differences between a Hub and a Switch.  Our goal is to provide a simple demonstration of their differences and show the benefits that a Switch can offer over a standard Hub.

When a computer sends a request on an Ethernet network connected through a hub, the request is "broadcast" to all of the machines connected to that hub.  As the example below shows, Computer A is sending a command intended for Computer C, yet the command is broadcast to Computer B and the network printer as well.  Computer B and the Network Printer do not recognize the instruction because the "packet" sent is coded for Computer C.  This is a typical network configuration found in many home and small business networks.

Normally, this type network set up is more than sufficient for a small to mid-sized network, but it does suffer some drawbacks.  One of the more common problems to affect a hub-based network is called "collisions."  Collisions occurs when two computers send a command simultaneously across the network.  Ultimately, the two packets collide with each other, never reaching their destination and the computer needs to resend the packet.  Normally, on a small network this is hardly an issue and the delay caused by a collision is not noticeable.  However, on a busy network with multiple computers and printers connected, this can affect network performance dramatically.  This is where the benefits of a Switch can be appreciated. 

More Theory and the Benchmarks



Tags:  Network, Enterprise, Work, ink, link, box, Two, 910, K

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