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October 1996 Reviews TOC

10/96 Reviews HW: Accton EtherDuo-PCMCIA Type II card

Ethernet PCMCIA Card Suits 2 a T

By James E. Powell

If your laptop connects with a 10BaseT network connection at the office but a 10Base2 hookup at home, you've got a problem. Accton's EtherDuo-PCMCIA Type II card solves it, automatically detecting and supporting connections for both.

The EtherDuo card (model EN2216-2) worked flawlessly when I put it to the test. The card connects to a short cable using a 15-pin flat connector. A small block with two LEDs (called the media coupler) at the other end of the seven-inch cable provides both RJ-45 and BNC connectors. The LED labeled TX/RX flashes when the card transmits or receives network signals, and the Link LED lights when a valid 10BaseT connection is established.

To monitor the BNC link, you need to run the Test Adapter option from the 1Step software that comes with the card. The software runs several diagnostics, including internal and external loopback tests, and it checks I/O accessibility, card ID setting, condition of on-board RAM and interrupt generation, giving each a pass/fail score. It provides transmit and receive packet counts, and automatically calculates the card's performance in bytes per second. In addition, 1Step provides driver installation software for NetWare and NDIS, and lets you select the I/O base address, interrupt, frame type and memory management options.

AccView/Station, a bundled, comprehensive desktop network management program, provides more than 50 statistics such as packets transmitted, received and dropped, and the number of transmit errors. Reports can be printed or saved to a file.

I tested the card with an AST Ascentia J30 Pentium 100 laptop with a Plug-and-Play BIOS. After plugging the network cable into the BNC connector on the media coupler and inserting the card, Windows 95 recognized the card and automatically installed the necessary drivers. Win95 also installed the network client and protocol files needed. Clicking on the Network Neighborhood icon, I found the other shared resources on my peer-to-peer Win95 network.

The EtherDuo card is I/O-compatible with Novell's NE2000 card, and the package includes Accton's Multi-Packet Accelerator drivers for improved network performance. The card complies with IEEE 802.3, PCMCIA Release 2.1 and JEIDA 4.1 standards, and is FCC Class B certified. It features automatic polarity detection and correction for UTP connections, and uses a 16-bit bus with 32KB of RAM.

For smooth network operations using a single card for both 10BaseT and 10Base2 connections, the EtherDuo does the trick.

--Info File--
Accton EtherDuo-PCMCIA Type II card
Pros: Easy installation
Cons: No significant flaws
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x, NT
Accton Technology Corp.
800-926-9288, 408-452-8900
WinMag Box Score 4.0

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