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Network Ethernet cards

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  • Network Ethernet cards

    This is not an Alpha related question but with a lot of experienced users around I am posting it.

    We use Windows NT4 Workstation on the server and Windows 98 on all stations.

    We are hving different opinions on what is the best card. My network consultant works only with D-Link and my computer supplier claims that we should use 3Com or Intel cards for better reliability.

    Any suggestion from experience users?

    Thanks

    JP

  • #2
    RE: Network Ethernet cards

    JP,

    Not that it matters tremendously, but Name brands (like Intel, 3-Com) seem to create less problems overall. Their drivers seem to be reliable as well as their network card reliability. However they cost more too! Read-on!!!

    Better-designed cards (not necessarily indicated by price or name band) often have better drivers and receivers (hardware that filters out noise from data) to the Cat-5 cable, better on board processors (faster processing, better error handling) and better operating system drivers (faster, more reliable)

    D-Link is really a no-name brand that is cheaper. If it works for someone, that is great. If not, try something else.

    As the number of workstations goes up, however, the complexity of a network-related problem grows almost exponentially. So the more potential problems that you can eliminate off the bat, the better. If a less troublesome card or it's driver does that, then use it.

    Network cards have become a commodity item, and the difference between the worst and the best is not that great in general, so it really comes down to price and reliability.

    I hope this helps.

    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
    Computer Systems Design & Associates
    [email protected]
    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
    Computer Systems Design


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    • #3
      RE: Network Ethernet cards

      We have a VERY large, complex network of users and servers (250 users, 8 servers, Hubs, switches, and routers) in our agency. We have pretty much standardized on 3-com. We have some SMC and Intel, but one indication of using standards is that the manugacturers (DELL and Gateway) are using 3-com on their built-in ethernet ports. The difference in price is not so great that you shouldn't go with a name-brand item. There is also a mater of support for the boards if they do fail.
      Like Ira said, when the networks get large and complex, the last thing you want to try to resolve is a network card failure.

      Tom Henkel

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      • #4
        RE: Network Ethernet cards

        Thanks to both of you Ira and Thomas,for taking the time to feed me, that confirms what I was thinking, but being no expert I was wondering if I was right.

        Thanks again and best regards

        JP

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        • #5
          RE: Network Ethernet cards

          My somewhat limited experience with this issue says go with the one of the big name brands (3Com, Intel, etc.) and don't mix and match once you've standardized on one. Whether it's the hardware or the drivers, my experience with the cheapo alternatives has been mixed at best. In one small peer-to-peer network a client wanted to use a less expensive NIC and hub(and if memory serves right it was D-Link). After wasting an entire day trying to get it working, I convinced the guy to go with a 3Com setup. Almost magically, as soon as we installed the 3Com stuff, all the problems we had experienced trying to get the cheaper stuff to work went away. I still have no idea what the problem was with the cheaper setup, but this made the client a believer in 3Com real fast as he basically wasted a day's worth of consultant time trying to save a few bucks.

          On the other hand, in other cases I have successfully setup cheapo NICs. It's just that it seems you can always get the name brand stuff to work, whereas it's a shot in the dark with some of the rest.

          Also, I have had some really bright network people say that if you want a smooth running, reliable network, you should standardize on one name brand NIC for all machines, even if the hub, etc. is a different brand. The big thing is that when (not if) you begin experiencing network problems you don't want to have to wonder if it's those cheap NICs you went with.

          Raymond Lyons

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          • #6
            RE: Network Ethernet cards

            Thanks Raymond,

            I will consider your suggestions and keep them on my mind.

            Thanks again for taking the time to answer me

            Best regards

            JP

            Comment


            • #7
              RE: Network Ethernet cards

              As your network grows and your computers systems get moved from one area to another headaches start to occur really fast. Keeping as much of the system uniform helps manage the system. We only have 50 computers tied into our system but it seems as if everyone doesn't apreciate where I place the systems. They move from room to room and building to building. I keep a network log that lists each computer and their parts.
              You are really lucky if the network card crashes. It's an easy find (ping the card) and replace. It's when the problem is intermittant. My experience is half the time its the NIC software gliching and half the time its the NIC. When everything is the same and you keep a network log the fixes are far easier to accomplish. We use 3-com exlusively

              Comment


              • #8
                RE: Network Ethernet cards

                Bob,

                I do not experience real problems, only sometimes whorm a button will stick. If I reboot the problem goes away. It could be the cards or my application which is linked to another Dos Clipper application where I use some DBF as look-up tables, while other peoples are using that specific application.

                What I am trying to do is to write a scheduled batch file that will copy the look-up table in another directory every nite. I will then use the copied table as look-up. Those table do not change very often, and doing a copy once a day would be sufficient.

                Thanks for your input, it is really appreciated.

                JP

                Comment


                • #9
                  RE: Network Ethernet cards

                  Jean-P,
                  We do an incredible ammount of "batch" processing on our server at night when the agency is closed. We found a small job scheduling package called "ground control" that works very well. We use it it to call and send keystrokes to an "autoexec" alpha application on our server. It works great! I thought that you might be interrested in an unattended method of doing your copy.

                  If you need more info, just e-mail me.

                  tom

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