INSTANT NETWORK

You can create a simple home or office network easily with D-Link’s new DGS-2208 box.

This is what’s called a digital switch box, and that’s what the “DGS” letters stand for. It’s the size of a paperback book. On the back of the box there are eight Ethernet ports. You plug an Ethernet cable from your router into one of them, and your computers and other devices into the others.

That’s pretty much it because this D-Link switch is “self-managed”: It automatically recognizes everything connected to it, and there are no configuration routines to figure out. Everything connected is now linked. TheDLINK 2208 package comes with a copy of Network Magic, which allows all users to share files and peripherals.

Aside from computers, the most common devices hooked into a network are printers and scanners. But no matter what is plugged into the digital switch box, they are all connected, with one proviso: The computers and peripherals must be network-enabled. This means they must have chips that allow them to be connected to a network, but this has been common for the past few years, and most computer equipment is network-enabled.

We want to point out that this creates a wired network, not wireless. We much prefer wired networks because they are secure from eavesdroppers, and they are less subject to interference. The DGS-2208 digital switch box operates at gigabit speeds. This is extremely fast, but please note that the data transfer rate you get is dependent on the weakest link in the chain, meaning if you have a slow router or slow service provider, your transfer rate is limited by that unit. The DGS-2208 sells for around $50 from discount retailers. It has been getting four- and five-star ratings from users. More info is available at dlink.com.

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