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D-LINK DHN-910 PHONELINE NETWORK IN A BOX
Last updated: 6/7/00

OPERATION.   The telephone wiring in my shop, office, and showroom is a dismal mess.  There are dangling boxes and splitters all over the place, connecting computers, printer, FAX, etc.--a real Pandora's box of electronics.  In this environment the PHN-910 worked flawlessly and at full speed; albeit the network distances were not great.  As advertised, the network did work when phones, etc. were used simultaneously on the same phone line.

PERFORMANCE.  Below are the results of Larry' simple benchmark tests.  The test consists of copying the Windows 98 Upgrade cab files, or about 105 MBytes,  from one computer to another.  Although, the DHN-910 is no 100 Mhz Ethernet, the test results show that it is a very good performer.  The speed is comparable to a 10 Mhz Ethernet and beats the pants off a much slower, but useable, 1 Mhz Phoneline network.  It has all of the performance that most people need, who don't want to run network cable, and is quite satisfactory for these environments.  It should also provide good performance for most game environments.

NETWORK

TRANSFER TIME
DFE-910 100 Mhz 100BaseT Ethernet 1 min., 21 sec
10 Mhz 10baseT Ethernet 3 min, 3 sec.
DHN-910 10 Mhz Phoneline Network 3 min., 42 sec.
Intel AnyPoint 1 Mhz Phoneline Network 29 min., 34 sec.

BOTTOM LINE.  The DHN-910 has a suggested retail price of $119.00.  Although that is a bargain compared to the stated HomePNA goal of $100.00 per network node, I think it is quite a stiff price to pay for two boards, which are no more complex than Ethernet adapters, and some phone wire, pamphlets, and CDs.  However, it is cheap if you consider the cost and inconvenience of running CAT 5 cable.  A single DHN-520 network adapter has a suggested retail price of $69.00, which is cheaper than a 100 Mhz hub and Ethernet adapter, but is still verging on a rip-off for a board of this complexity.  I am sure  competition will drive these prices down.  If running cable is not problem and you just need to network just two computers, the price of two 100 Mhz Ethernet adapters, a crossover cable, and Internet sharing software is considerably less than this kit.  The DHN-910 includes good  documentation (with the exceptions stated above), MidPoint Lite, and a lifetime warrantee and support from a major manufacturer.  But, MidPoint Lite is certainly not as good as some other Internet sharing products and is not supported directly by MidCore (the network adapter manufacturer--D-Link--is supposed to support the product).  It appears to be a product designed to induce the buyer into upgrading to a full-featured, higher-performance product from MidCore--a popular means of selling software lately.  The Installation even includes an offer of a 25% discount on MidCore products for owners of MidPoint Lite.  The cheapest MidCore Internet sharing product is the 2-user Companion product.  At $119.00, or $89.25 with the discount, it is considerably more expensive than the $39.95 for a 3-user license of SyGate which is presently running on my network.

If you don't want to run CAT 5 cable and don't mind opening computers to install network adapters, and you are planning to expand your network, then the DHN-910 is a  reasonably fast, easy to install, easy to expand network starter kit at a reasonable price.

Note.  Do not route the phoneline cable through a surge suppressor. They may reduce or completely block the home networking signals.

Larry

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