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D-LINK DHN-910 PHONELINE NETWORK IN A BOX
Last updated: 9/15/01

DOCUMENTATION.   With exception of the trouble-shooting sections, which are scanty in both cases, the Quick Starter Guide and Networking Basics for the DHN-910 and the MidPoint Lite Quick Starter Guide are well written and illustrated.  The DHN-520 User's Guide is inadequate.  The picture on the cover does not look like a DHN-520.  The specs are sparse.  The information provided is lacking to the point that it doesn't even tell the reader how many PC's can be on DHN-910 network or how far apart the network nodes can be, etc.  In fact,  that information is not available on the D-Link, Broadcom, HomePNA web sites--perhaps it's a secret?  I would guesstimate that the maximum number of nodes would be around 15 and the maximum distance would be about 500 feet.  I did send an E-Mail inquiry on these matters to D-Link's tech support, but have not received an answer.  When I receive an answer I will update this review.  The only things I could find on the DHN-910 in the tech support section of D-Link's web site was a driver download for the DHN-520 and one FAQ on MidPoint Lite.

INSTALLATION.  The network installation on two Windows 98 computers was quite easy.  The network adapter installation on the first computer was smooth and without incident: shut-down, turn-off, and unplug the computer; remove the cover; install the board; plug the supplied phone line cable into a wall jack; plug-in and turn-on computer; insert the DHN-910 CD; when Windows detects DHN-520 tell it to search for the drivers on the CD-ROM; and insert the Windows CD, if Windows asks for it; and click when prompted to reboot after the files are installed.   Installation on the second computer was not so easy.  My wife's computer does not have a CD-ROM drive.  It sure would have been nice if the DHN-910 CD had a utility for moving the DHN-520 drivers to a floppy disk.  I temporarily installed a CD-ROM drive on Claudia's computer and installed the drivers.  The rest of the network configuration and hardware installation was made quite simple by D-Link's excellent documentation.  I found that the DHN-520 adapter was quite well behaved in my computer, which is loaded to the hilt.  There were no IRQ problems with either computer.

The cable going to the wall can be connected to either of the RJ-11 jacks on the DHN-520, which are not labeled; but I found that the network would not work with a telephone plugged into the other RJ-11.  It also would not work when I plugged a RJ-11 Y-splitter into one of the RJ-11's and plugged the cable going to the wall and the cable going to the telephone into the splitter.  Everything worked fine when the instructions were followed; i.e., plug the Y-splitter into the wall and plug the cables coming from the DHN-520 and the phone into the Y-splitter.  If the computers are in the same room and there is only one wall outlet, they can be networked by plugging one of them into the wall and daisy chaining the others by running the supplied phoneline cable (or longer lines which are widely available) from the RJ-11 jack on one DHN-520 directly to the RJ-11 jack on the next computer, and so forth, if you a have more than two DHN-520's.  However, as previously mentioned, one of the computers has to plugged into an active telephone wall jack.  If you are going to use existing telephone wiring, all of the DFE-520's have to be on the same telephone line (same phone number).

I did not install the DHN-910 on my file server nor did I install  the MidPoint Lite Internet Sharing software and test it with the DHN-910 network.  Both of these steps were done for the review of the D-Link DFE-910 10/100 Network in a Box.  I am certain the results and experiences would be very similar to the those documented in the DFE-910 review, as the network bandwidth required for Internet sharing is well within 10 Mhz provided by the DHN-910.

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