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Installation and Setup

The first thing I usually setup whenever I do a networking project are the NIC cards. I'd much rather find a problem there and get hungup at that point rather than after a couple of hours of cabling.

What wasn't immediately obvious was that the kit came with different NIC cards than the older DB104 kit. This kit packs two FA311 NIC cards which are considerably smaller than the FA310 cards that were packed with the DB104 kit. Keep in mind that the FA310 NIC is one of my favorites since I have not encountered any incompatibilities with motherboards. I've had a lot of headaches getting certain brands of motherboards and NICs to work with each other. When you are constantly switching motherboards as I do that becomes a consideration. Rest assured that you won't have any compatibility problems with Netgear's NIC cards and the FA311 was the equal of the older NIC for reliability.

The installation of the hub was clear and straight forward. All the necesary connections are clearly labeled and since they are on the front of the unit they are very convenient to reach. The hub is equpped with green lights that let you know the status of your connection. Below these are the yellow collision lights. Those are necesary with a hub since data collision becomes a possibility with a hub. If data collision is a big concern for you make sure you pick up a switched hub for your network.

I'm big on install manuals. I hate to see a good kit or component marred by a manual that is hard to understand - especially for someone who is new to networking. Networking can be a real hassle, especially when it comes to the installation of the netwoking conponents in the operating system. The included map style manual is quite thorough and will get you off and running. I think the logic of putting them on fold-out guides is that a person can lay them out in front of them while they are in the process of installing the kit. I won't argue with that logic since they are at least complete and have plenty of diagrams and screen shots to guide the installer through the process.


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