Networking Products


A wireless network, which uses radio frequencies much like a cordless phone does, connects your computers and lets you share a broadband connection, online games and peripherals and files without the headache of installing new wiring throughout your home or office. Setting up a wireless network is relatively easy: The basic components are a bridge, which also is called an “access point,” and an external adapter such as a PC, PCI or ISA card in each computer you want to connect.

The access point lets you share your Internet connection; the adapters let each computer communicate with devices like printers and scanners. Most of today’s wireless networks have a range of 150 to 300 feet and can transmit through walls and ceilings. Most networks support data-transfer rates of 1.6 megabits per second (mbps), while some can go as high as 11 mbps. Here’s a sampling of manufacturers producing wireless networking solutions for home and home/small office users.


Proxim Symphony Cordless Ethernet Bridge

Proxim Symphony PC Card

  • The Symphony product line includes Cordless Ethernet Bridges and ISA, PCI and PC cards
  • Networks PC desktops and laptops
  • Data-transfer rate of 1.6 mbps
  • Range: Up to 150 feet through walls and ceilings


Intel AnyPoint Wireless Home Network

  • 1.6 mbps PC Card
  • Data-transfer rate of 1.6 mbps
  • Range: Up to 150 feet through walls and ceilings
  • USB and PC Card models available
  • HPNA

Phone Line

Phone-line networks — often called HPNA, for the Home Phone-Line Networking Alliance — links computers using a home’s or office’s telephone lines. HPNA technology lets you “split” your phone line into separate frequencies: one for voice, one for data. With a split line, you can surf the Internet while you talk on the phone. Phone-line networking does a good job of connecting computers in different parts of the home or office, which usually have installed phone jacks. No additional wiring is needed. Most phone-line manufacturers market several HPNA network models with data-transfer rates of 1 or 10 mbps.

Here’s a look at some of the offerings:


3Com® HomeConnect™ Home Network Phoneline Kit Model: 3C410-KIT

  • HomeConnect supports up to 32 PCs
  • Data rate of 10 mbps
  • PCI model available


Linksys HomeLink Phonewire Network in a Box

  • Linksys markets networking products that use Phoneline (HPNA), Wireless, Ethernet and FastEthernet technologies
  • The HomeLink product line supports up to 25 PCs
  • USB devices and PC cards available
  • HomeLink line offers data-transfer rates of 1 to 10 mbps, and supports desktop and laptop PCs


Intel’s AnyPoint™ Phoneline

  • Home Network 10 mbps USB Model
  • Connects up to 15 PCs.
  • 1- and 10-mbps models available
  • USB, PCI Card and Parallel Port Models available

Ethernet / FastEthernet

Ethernet networking is the most commonly deployed type of networking technology. Corporations use it to link their office users because it’s very secure, reliable and fast. Ethernet/FastEthernet technology offers speeds of up to 100 mbps.

For home users, however, Ethernet has its drawbacks: It’s a wired solution that requires Category 5 cable that must be plugged into each computer you want to connect. It also requires an Ethernet Hub that serves as the data-transfer point for the network.

That said, Ethernet may not be the best networking solution for households whose computers aren’t in the same room or for homes whose owners don’t want to install additional wiring. Here’s a look at some of the vendors marketing Ethernet networking products and accessories.


EtherFast 10/100 Network in a Box

  • Linksys’ line of networking products use Phoneline (HPNA), Wireless, Ethernet and FastEthernet technologies
  • USB devices and PC cards available
  • Linksys’ Instant Ethernet and Etherfast product lines offer data-transfer rates of 10 to 100 mbps


3Com® HomeConnect™ Home Network

  • 10 mbps USB Ethernet Kit model: 3C460-KIT
  • 10-mbps and 10/100-mbps models available
  • USB and PCI card models available
  • Connects up to five PCs