Getting set up and running
D-Link includes its network setup guide on a CD-ROM. The guide is very thorough, and covers everything from the physical setup of the LAN to setting up the Windows 95/98 peer-to-peer network.
The kit only includes one driver diskette for both network cards, so be careful not to lose that disk. Of course, losing the D-link driver diskette isn't that bad -you can just download the drivers off the D-Link website.
Installation took less than ten minutes. After physically installing each NIC, Windows 95 properly detected the new hardware, and asked for the drivers. After installing the drivers, Windows rebooted and everything worked perfectly. No nasty IRQ conflicts!
Setting up the Windows network was just as easy with instructions from the setup CD-ROM, but users who already have Windows networking might not go through the same step-by-step installation process the setup guide takes. Those users might find it easier to follow the steps in our Windows Networking Guide.
We didn't run any intensive networking tests; we just checked to see if the LAN was satisfactory for file transfers and multiplayer gaming. Multiplayer Starcraft and Quake games ran flawlessly with average Quake pings of 15ms on the client machine. Transferring the 24.8MB Phantom Menace trailer took 32 seconds, and transferring a 178MB folder containing 45 mp3s took exactly 3 minutes. Flawless.
Since the network is running at 100Mbps (megabits per second), we had no trouble starting and playing multiplayer games while huge file transfers ran in the background. Two computers were set up over the LAN to exchange our full MP3 directories, while another two were set up with unsuspecting victims, told simply that they would enjoy a low-ping LAN game of Quake. Neither noticed any slowdown during the the file transfers, and pings remained consistently low at 10-20ms throughout the experiment.