by November 17, 2001 0 comments

COMPEX USB 10/100M ETHERNET

 ADAPTER 
Price: Rs 2,500 
Meant for: Mobile professionals
Features: USB 1.1 device
Contact: Neoteric Infomatique. Tel: 022- 4172600 Fax: 4185294. B-20 ShriRam Ind.Est 13, GD Ambekar Road, Mumbai 400031. E-mail:
sales@neoteric-info.com

This is an USB Ethernet adapter (model Linkport/UE202-A) from Compex with Fast Ethernet support, meaning it can hook to a 100 Mbps network–a boon for those needing quick network connectivity. It can easily fit inside a laptop bag or your pocket. It has a cable extender (so that it doesn’t obstruct other USB devices) and has drivers for Windows 98, 2000 and ME. Drivers for the Mac would have been an advantage. 

Like most conventional Ethernet cards, it has three LEDs to indicate data transfer, duplex mode (full or half) and 100 Mbps mode. To test its throughput with 10 Mbps and 100 Mbps bandwidth, we connected it against a Fast Ethernet adapter on our IBM Netfinity server. To transfer about 400 MB, it took around 12 min in both modes.

That’s probably because it’s USB 1.1 compliant, which supports a maximum, theoretical, data throughput of only 12 Mbps. Compared to an ordinary PCI Ethernet adapter (Intel Pro/100+ PCI, in our case), the USB adapter gave slower transfer speeds. The Intel card transferred the same data in about 8 min and 2 min on 10 Mbps and 100 Mbps networks respectively.

Though the Compex USB adapter may be slower than conventional Ethernet cards, it is an attractive alternative to expensive PCMCIA network cards for notebooks. You also have to keep in mind that USB being a shared bus, the Compex adapter might slow down as you add more USB devices.

Shekhar Govindarajan at PCQ Labs

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