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Home >> Network & Wireless >> Gigabit Ethernet >> 

Tips on How to Choose Network Products

Tips on How to Choose Network Products


By Benjamin Wieberg & Edited by James Baker

You are encouraged to make links to this article from your website and tell your friends

The following advice is based on many years of experience. It is provided as a free service to our customers and visitors. However, Directron.com is not responsible for any damage as a result of following any of this advice. You are welcome to distribute these tips free to your friends and associates as long as it's not for commercial purposes.

  • Introduction
    Networking can be extremely frustrating to deal with when you donít know what youíre looking at. In this article I will discuss Network cards( USB, PCI and PCMCIA), Hubs, Switches, and Routers to help you better understand your choices and determine what product best suits your needs.
  • Network Cards
    1. PCI
        10/100 Cards-
        10/100 network cards allow for the connection of 10 megabit and 100 megabit network connections. This means this will allow for a transfer rate of up to 100 megabit with these network cards. 10/100 cards are slowly going out of date due to the rise in intranet, or internal network speeds. This network card uses a PCI slot on the motherboard and is connected to the Ethernet by category 3, 4, or 5 cables and has an rj45 jack on the ends.
        10/100/1000 Cards-
        10/100/1000 supports the same as a 10/100 network card except 10/100/1000 also supports a 1000 megabit connection. These network cards are typically referred to as gigabit network cards. Gigabit networking is becoming the most common used by consumers. This network card uses a PCI slot on the motherboard and is connected to the Ethernet by a category 5 or 6 cable and has an rj45 jack on the ends.
    2. USB
        10/100-
        10/100 network cards allow for the connection of 10 megabit and 100 megabit network connections. This means this will allow for a transfer rate of up to 100 megabit with these network cards. 10/100 cards are slowly going out of date due to the rise in internal network speeds. This network card uses a simple external USB port and is connected to the network by category 3, 4, or 5 cables and has an rj45 jack on the ends.
    3. PCMCIA
        10/100 PCMCIA-
        10/100 network cards allow for the connection of 10 megabit and 100 megabit network connections. This means this will allow for a transfer rate of up to 100 megabit with these network cards. 10/100 cards are slowly going out of date due to the rise in internal network speeds. This network card uses a PCMCIA slot in the side of a laptop and is connected to the Ethernet by a category 3, 4, or 5 cables and has an rj45 jack on the ends.
        10/100/1000 PCMCIA-
        10/100/1000 supports the same as a 10/100 network card except 10/100/1000 also supports a 1000 megabit connection. These network cards are typically referred to as gigabit network cards. Gigabit networking is the most common used by consumers. This network card uses a PCMCIA slot in the side of a laptop and is connected to the Ethernet by a category 3, 4, or 5 cables and has an rj45 jack on the ends.
  • Hubs & Switches
    1. 10/100
        10/100 Hubs-
        A 10/100 hub is a device which shares a single Ethernet connection whether it is a 10 megabit or 100 megabit connection. Hubs do not supply a true 10 or 100 megabit connection to all the computers on it. Instead it takes the connection and divides it by the number of computers which are connected to the hub and sends the exact same information to all computers plugged into the hub. For example if you have a 100 megabit connection and you have 4 computers on the hub it becomes 100/4 which is a 25 megabit connection.
        10/100 Switches-
        A 10/100 switch is a lot like a hub, however with a switch instead of splitting a signal it actually gives each computer a full speed connection. So if you have a 100 megabit switch, each computer on the switch has a 100 megabit connection. A lot of switches have additional security features and things and this all depends on the price and quality on the switch.
    2. 10/100/1000
        10/100/1000 Hubs-
        A 10/100/1000 hub has all the same features as your normal 10/100 hub except for the ability to connect to a 1000 megabit or gigabit connection However no matter the size of the connection the same rule still applies - it is divided among the computers which are connected to the hub.
        10/100/1000 Switches-
        A 10/100/1000 switch has all the same features as your normal 10/100 switch except for the ability to connect to a 1000 megabit or gigabit connection. Also, some of the gigabit switches may have a few more security or accessibility options than the 10/100 switches.
  • Wireless
    1. Routers
      Routers are the most common networking device used due to the fact that they normally supply a 4 port switch or greater. Some broadcast a wireless network signal which a lot of laptops now use. Wireless networks are broadcast through the air without any wire attachments. Routers come in several different frequencies and most of the time, support more than one. These frequencies are A, B, G, and N. Most routers support a combination of wireless signals. the most common wireless is wireless g. However due to the advance in technology wireless n is slowly taking over. Most wireless n routers also support wireless g so if you have a wireless n router and your laptop picks up a wireless g signal you should still receive Ethernet.
    2. Wireless Adapters
        PCI Adapters-
        A wireless PCI adapter is a card which is installed inside the computer and allows the computer to receive a broadcasted wireless signal which is transmitted from a router or another wireless source. However you need to make sure you get the proper wireless card for the type of wireless you have weather itís a, b, g, or n.
        USB Adapters-
        A USB adapter carries out the same job as a PCI adapter however with a USB adapter you donít use an internal slot on the motherboard. A USB adapter will be plugged straight into the front or rear of the computer in one of the accessible USB ports. Unfortunately just like the PCI card you have to make sure you have an adapter that matches the wireless signal which is being produced by your router.
        PCMCIA Adapters-
        A PCMCIA does the exact same thing as the other adapters however this adapter can only be used in a laptop or a computer which has had a PCMCIA adapter installed to support the card.
  • How to Choose
    There are several steps to choosing which product combination is right for you. the first step is to determine what internet connection you have and decide if 10/100 or 10/100/1000 is best suited for you. The second step is to decide if you are going to need a wireless signal or not. After figuring out those to you then need to determine how many computers you will have on the network as well as how they are going to be connected. Remember all computers need an Ethernet receiver to get a signal whether it is wireless or a wired connection. The last step is to find the products that best suit your budget. Remember the better quality the part the better the performance.

    If you find this article useful, please create a link to it from your website or tell a friend about it. If you have any comments or suggestions about this article, please email information@directron.us

    Copyright 1997-2009 Directron.com/HCCI. All rights reserved


    Related Items: | How to Choose? | How to Choose a Processor / CPU? | How to Choose? | How to Choose a Monitor | How to Choose Video Cards? | How to Choose a Case? | How to Choose a Computer Power Supply? | Resources | Support |


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