Get yourself a network

In the old days, information was shared among computers via FloppyNet:

Doing so you could transport between 300 and 1400 kilobytes per run. Not bad. A full operating system was less than 500 Kb so the method was reliable and fast.
Later, someone connected two PC's via serial cables and created serial link networks. That was a major improvement in that even very large files (those too big to fit one floppy disk) could now be transported between computers. Other transport schemes were developped as well. The parallel link was one of the fastest, capable of doing close to 100 KB per second. That's 1/10th floppy disk per second. VERY fast and convenient. Plus: you could just start the transfer and do something else in between.

Still later, ethernet came to the domain of the PC. Around 1995 all kinds of ethernet cards became available for the nerds among us. This increased the speed to close to 10 megabits per second. That's one floppy disk per second! Since then, speeds have been rising ever. Nowadays 'Fast Ethernet' is the standard and Gigabit is starting to become that same standard.

Network technology did not only raise the speed of the medium. Also the cabling changed from error prone coaxial cable towards maintenance free UTP cables. And new network devices are ever more being developped. The network is the industry for the future. It's the highway for the computer and every house is sooner or later required to have such a highway inside.

This section is about these fine network devices. It may not come as a surprise to you: I am rather fond of the brand Longshine. It has the properties of expensive brands such as Cisco, 3Com and Citrix, yet the price of Sweex and other inferior brands.

The topics

Below are the topics covered in this section. Not all of them are finished yet. Check the navigator frame on the right to find out which are.

Print servers (USB, LPT)
Routers (Longshine IR2214, SMC 7004 VBR)
Unmanaged ethernet switch (Longshine, SMC)
Managed switch
WLAN Access point in Server Mode
WLAN Access point in Client Mode
Network attached storage
FTP server

Page created 28 July 2009,

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