Get an Ethernet Card (was Re: Has anyone got DSL working with a USB modem?)

bradh at bradh at
Sun Sep 8 19:00:11 EST 2002

Quoting Alex Satrapa <grail at>:

> On Fri, 2002-09-06 at 12:27, Damien Elmes wrote:
> > It's something like $5 for a second hand 10baseT network card.
> Consider the
> > cost of your time required to get the USB version going, and weigh it
> up
> > against the cost of throwing a network card in.
> I second that opinion.
I can only think you haven't had enough coffee to see sense :)

> You'll reduce latency over the connection since any decent Ethernet
> card
> will require far less load on the processor than the cleverest USB
> Ethernet adaptor that I know of.  Most PCs ship with USB chipsets that
> require the CPU to do all the work of processing USB packets and
> shipping data around the place.
You should look at the code. The UHCI chipset is pretty basic, but 
it all runs in DMA, and the overhead is pretty trivial on any reasonable
machine (especially if the downstream load is something basic like
a ADSL link).

> So get an Ethernet card - not just for your own sanity, but for the
> sake
> of your DSL router's poor little overtaxed processor ;)

> Going through all the hoop-la with extra modules sounds a lot like
> using
> the wrong tool to solve the wrong problem*.
If you have any recent kernel (in this context, 2.4.x), and a reasonable 
distro, then you plug in the USB to ethernet adapter, and you will have
an ethX device, ready to configure. That hotplug code took a lot of work,
but unless you go out of your way, then it works out of the box.

By contrast, a cheap ethernet card may require you to stuff around with 
figuring out a driver. 

Plus you alread have good tools (OK, the latency over USB sucks, but you won't 
notice over a PPPoE link via Telstra to anywhere interesting), so why buy more 
and stuff around with opening the case?


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