Need Network Card Recommendation

Posted on 1997-12-15
Last Modified: 2010-03-18
Is there a place on the web which lists detailed network card support for Linux.  Want to purchase a network card for a PC which is used to multi-boot to several operating systems (i.e. Win 3.1, Win95, WinNT, OS/2, Linux, UNIX ??) and want to purchase a combo 10/100 PCI network card.  What about the Addtron AE-360, I read it uses the PC BIOS thus should work with any operating system, is that true, no drivers required ?????
Question by:wisconsin
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Expert Comment

ID: 1587176
Look at the Linux ducumentation project.
There is a document called the Linux Ethernet HOWTO.
It has details on all the supported cards, setup hints, and
potential pitfalls.

Find them via the Linux home page at


Author Comment

ID: 1587177
Jeff, going through all the Linux stuff on the web my head is still dizzy.  You read one paragraph stating how it is supported and works then go down to another section and read 3 pages on problems occuring with a specific vendor card.  Have you tried implementing any specific vendor cards in a multi boot computer which works well for a wide variety of operating systems (i.e. Win 3.1, Win95, NT, OS/2, Linux, etc.)?  I definitly need a BNU connector (coax) since that is what my other stations currently are but a Combo card would probably be a good idea.  Thanks for taking the time to help me out.


Accepted Solution

jeffa072897 earned 100 total points
ID: 1587178
Yes I have.
I've had good luck with 3Com in all enviornments.
There is a wide support for these cards for each of the OS's you list. Also, the lateest drivers are published on a US Government site(url currently escapes me, it's in the source of all of the 3Com drivers in /usr/src/linus/drivers/network).
The main thing you may have to do is get(if it's not on the 3Com Etherdisk) 3Com's utility to disable plug and play(pray) to get the card to behave. Manually set up the card and you shouldn't have problems.
So far I've had a machine with DOS/Win95/WinNT3.51 and Linux multi boot. The multi boot isn't pretty but it works. It's a combo of lilo and Microsoft NT nulti boot. Awkard, but it works. There is a commercially available multi boot program, someday I really should look at it. It's called System Commander by V Communications.
In fact there's a 3C595 in that machine now running at 10mb/sec.
You ask for a BNC connection. There is no current spec for a 100mb/sec on thin coax that I know of. In looking through several card lines I find none that make such a card. All 100BaseT cards are either RJ45 only or fibre optic. Cards with a BNC are currently 10mb/sec only. If you find such a card let me know.

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Expert Comment

ID: 1587179
Uh oh.. my "NO!" refered to the Addtron, not 3Com :)
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Expert Comment

ID: 1587180
I've used the 3Com with no hassles. Just get the current driver as I said.


Expert Comment

ID: 1587181
Jeff, I believe there are many COMBO cards that support 10/100 speeds.  However, you are correct the 100 speed does not work on the coax BNC connector.  But if you get a hub that supports 100 you can achieve that with these 10/100 combo cards.  The 3C509 card that you guys have mentioned I see in the catalog that it comes in 4 versions: UTP, UTP/AUI, UTP/BNC, COMBO.  Not sure what the difference from a COMBO and a UTP/BNC would be since I thought they were the same ??  The 3C905 is stated as a Fast Etherlink XL PCI COMBO for $89.  But the Linux documentation pages don't seem to talk to favorable about the PCI cards.  Maybe the best thing to do is just buy a $20 cheap D-Link card (i.e. ISA, 10MBits) while I am still using a COAX connection and if I would upgrade to a HUB with UTP someday replace all the cards.  

This is my first note on experts-exchange.  If I sign off on this giving you credit for helping me out is this note then taken away from others providing comments?  How does that work?

Thanks again, Al

Author Comment

ID: 1587182

You may be right, but I've never seen a coax card that does 10/100.
Anyhoo, I've used the 3Com PCI and, like you've read, initially had problems. Mostly around the plug and play. It took a bit of digging but I did find the docs on disabling plug and pray.
After manually setting up the card and tweaking the BIOS to make sure the card got the IRQ I wanted (manually configure the order PCI gives out IRQ's) and it worked very reliably. One of the web servers also has this card and is fine.
Yup, you may be better off with a cheap 10mb coax card fo now and wait for a bit more stability in the 10/100 market. Please remember though the 100 spec, so far as I know, does not support coax so you may have to change to utp at some point.

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