Features of the D-Link DFE-910
What Did You Expect?
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.
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.
Installation of the D-Link DFE-910
Easy As Pie...
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
thanks to the excellent documentation included in
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
our kit is installed, let's cover some of the basic
differences between a Hub and a Switch...
Hub vs. Switch
Put On Your Thinking Cap...
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.
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
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
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