Tools of the trade…. USB network adapter

For a long time I really disliked seeing USB network adapters. The main reason is the performance. USB 1 can only do ~ 12Mbps which compared to a 10/100 ethernet controller “significantly limits your ability to do more than 10…” Even USB 2 supports 480 Mbps which should give you the ability to get full throughput of up to 200mbps with full duplexing. However, I still cringed at USB network adapters….

Here’s why. Let’s say you have a printer or scanner or USB speakers, etc. on the same USB bus… everything is sharing that same 480Mbps and it’s a less than ideal solution. Network cards are easy to install (PCI cards) very reliable and it’s a nice simple/standard plug.

That much said, one of the newest addition to my set of tools is just that a USB ethernet (network) adapter. I just got a D-Link USB 2.0 Fast Enet Adapter, the model number DUB-E100. The main motivation is that I still work on machines from time to time that DON’T have a PCI card and it would be nice to have a non-invasive way of getting them on the network relatively quickly to get windows updates/antivirus updates/etc.

The reason I want a non-invasive way is it should be quicker (no opening the case and dislocating a “punch” in the back). Anyway…. after I ordered it I did consider that there were other interesting possibilities including playing around with multiple network adapters on a linux box to test out firewalling setups/etc.

So, it came I plugged it into my Mandrake 10.1 box and the drive started doing a bit of churning and when I looked lo and behold the usbnet driver had loaded “automagically” and the new eth1 was ready for a network address. (I didn’t have it plugged into anything else for DHCP/etc.) I was impressed that it was really plug-n-play under linux. I think you’ll need the driver disc for most any Windows workstation, but that’s still an improvement on having to open the box.

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