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D-Link's DFE-910 10/100 Network In A Box (Page 1/2)

Posted: January 24, 2000
Written by: Chris Burek
ESP: $119 US


D-Link's DFE-910 10/100 Network In A Box graced our test labs recently, and left us plastered with a smile. Retailing for $119 US, the DFE-910 is among the new breed of network kits aimed at the home or home office market. Included with this kit are two of D-Link's DFE-530TX+ 10/100 PCI ethernet cards, its DSS-5+ five-port switch, and two 20-foot CAT5 UTP network cables. On the software front, a software CD, game CD, and driver disk are bundled, along with four manuals covering everything you need to know about getting up and running.


The kits come packed with the following:
  • 2 DFE-540TX 10/100 Dual Speed Network Ethernet Adapters
  • 1 DSH-5 10/100 Dual Speed Ethernet Hub
  • 2 Network Cables, 20', Category 5, UTP
  • 1 External Power Supply for DSH-5 Hub (120v)
  • 1 Driver Diskette for DFE-540TX Dual Speed Network Adapters
  • 1 CD-ROM containing demo versions of Diablo and Warcraft2.
  • 1 CD-ROM containing MidPoint Lite Intenet Sharing software
  • 3 Manuals for DSH-5, DFE-540TX, and DFE-910 Quick
  • Starter Guide
  • 4 Rubber Feet for the DSH-5 hub
Probably the most outstanding aspect of DFE-910 is the included five-port 10/100 switch. The switch enables the kit to use both 10mbps and 100mbps transfer rates on the same network, but keeps each respective connection running at its maximum speed. In other words, if we had four computers equipped with 100mbps ethernet cards, and one machine with a 10mbps connection, network performance would not suffer and still run at optimal speed for each machine.

D-Link's DFE-530TX+ ethernet cards supports Wake-on-LAN (WOL), a useful feature that allows a computer to power on itself if a network request is being processed to it. The DSS-5+ switch is a well built unit, and quite small in size. Though it does run a bit noisy.

Installation & Software

Installation of all the DFE-910 hardware took about twenty minutes total. We first installed the ethernet cards in each of our test machines, using the included 3-pin cables to connect to the WOL connector on the motherboards. Then we went to wire the included CAT5 UTP cables through the house, connecting each to the switch. Windows 98 Plug and Play detected the cards on each test machine without trouble, and installed the drivers from the installation disk. If you're new to local area networks, then you're also likely new to the concept of their setup, however the included manuals will guide you through very well. Overall, installation and setup were hassle free.

The bundled software consists of MidCore Software's MidPoint Lite for Internet sharing over the LAN, as well as Internet Explorer 4.0, Navigator 4.0, and Adobe Acrobat Reader on the same CD. D-Link has also thrown in a shareware CD composed of Diablo and Warcraft II.

MidPoint Lite isn't too robust in itself, yet it will get your Internet sharing up and running easily. If you're looking for something more powerful, you can download and configure WinGate to work over the network in its place.

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