Gigafast is a consumer electronics manufacturer focusing on inexpensive low and mid-range networking equipment. They provide network interfaces, routers, switches, and wireless equipment for desktops and laptops. These products mostly target Windows, but it seems many of them are Linux-friendly.
The principal advantage of Gigafast products is the price; the products are fully functional but cost less than mainstream competitors. They are also very small and low profile; you won't lose any desk space to these things.
I have been pleased with the few products I have had; my reservations are to do with Linux compatibility, which it appears is possible with some effort. (Isn't it always that way with Linux?)
I only have personal experience with two Gigafast products, mentioned below. The full product line includes:
- Network adapters (nics): 10/100 (PCI, PCMCIA), 10/100/1000 (PCI), 11 Mbps (wifi) (USB, PCMCIA, access point)
- Ethernet switches: 10/100 (5, 8, 16, 24 port)
- Routers: 4-Port 10/100 Cable/DSL, 11 Mbps (Wifi) Cable/DSL
- AC power networking: Various
- VDSL: 12 port router, modem
- Starter kits
Reviews of specific products below; please send me a note if you have experience with a product.
4 port cable/DSL router - $30-$40
This product is very similar to similarly named products by Linksys, D-Link and Belkin. It provides easy compatibility with DSL and Cable internet connections. The product itself is much smaller than the Linksys product, and features one less ethernet jack-it features only a single WAN cable, rather than seperate jacks for WAN and Cable/DSL connection.
Compatibility issue: the interface to the product is through Microsoft Internet Explorer; my attempts to access it with Linux were basically unsuccessful. Basic features like DHCP and NAT server control are straightforward; some advanced uses are not covered directly (Port forwarding).
5 port ethernet switch - $10-$20
This a great, transparent product with no interface of which to speak. You connect one of the ports into a larger network, and plug the other four into computers, or other switches or routers. Currently, this product is gracing the desk here, peaking out from under a pile of paper and envelopes. It connects the family computer, the Xbox, and my laptop to the Linksys router in the office. I have not experienced any kind of problem with this little thing. Oh, and it is a 'little' thing; it's the size of two PDAs stacked flat.
16-Bit PCMCIA Wireless card
This is an 802.llb (11Mbps) wireless card. The card is, as mentioned, 16-Bit rather than the more recent 32-bit, which means half the speed between the card and your computer. There is a report at the link listed below of this card being fully supported under Linux. (probably not an issue. Let me know if I'm wrong.) The page includes sufficient setup information for an experienced user to get it running.
USB Wireless adapter
This is an 802.llb USB adapter, good for use on laptops; I mention this because the company distributes a Linux driver for it on their web site. Note that I have not used this product.
If you have a Gigafast product, /msg me and I'll add it to the lineup here with your comments, or node it yourself. I've improved this node but it's still messy, any ideas what to do with it?
Also, I've reduced the info on individual products - should I still make seperate nodes for them? For a semi-obscure product line, this doesn't seem necessary, but hey - I'm not the boss. It seems like overkill, though, to have 2 nodes for so little information. (Thanks wertperch)
- Gigafast web site: http://www.gigafast.com
- Random wireless card Linux info: http://ko4bb.freeservers.com/Linux/Gigafast WF721-AEX/GigafastWF721-AEX.html
- Try Newegg for purchase info: http://www.newegg.com