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Forget Wireless - I want Wired

Tuesday January 23, 2001 - 3:38 AM EST - By James Hromadka

Gimme Wired!

I recently setup in our home a simple network so that my wife and I could both use the our DSL line at the same time. She has a laptop and wanted to be able to use the Internet and print without having to save her work to a floppy and take it to our main computer -- a term commonly known as "sneakernet." After getting a router recommendation (the Linksys EtherFast 4-Port Cable/DSL Router) from a friend, I looked into it and it seemed to be what I needed.

So after connecting everything and configuring my computer, everything surprisingly worked for the most part as advertised. So now that I have my little home network going, why not my Visor? Xircom was working on a SpringPort Wired Ethernet Springboard module that was due about this time, but it seems that the module has been cancelled. Xircom's SpringPort page no longer mentions the Wired Ethernet module. What happened?

Some would ask why an Ethernet module is needed in the first place. This is a great module for network administrators to test that port that they just opened to make sure that it's on the right subnet. You now also can telnet into servers, routers, etc and do all your network maintenance without lugging around a separate laptop.

Plug and pray -- Not!It's also perfect for mobile professionals. How many offices and tradeshows today have Ethernet connections? I just walk up to an empty port and plug in. Bingo! I can check my email and check my stocks without bothering anyone to borrow their computer for a moment.

I also think that Ethernet would speed up HotSyncs. A USB HotSync is ~23 KB/s. Ethernet is 10 Mb/s or 100 Mb/s. So what I'm envisioning is that you have your PC running with Network HotSync configured. You then plug in a Ethernet module into your Visor and start a network HotSync that doesn't require a second PC.

A wired Ethernet module isn't for everyone, but I think that there is enough interest to warrant having the option available. In a VisorCentral survey during the fall of 2000, over 45% of our readers had a home network. I'm sure many of these people would like to network their Visor -- I know I sure do.

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