Review of the Intel® AnyPoint™
Last updated: 6/12/00
DOCUMENTATION AND WEB SITE. The
User's Guide and both installation guides are very well-written and illustrated. Intel's AnyPoint
web site is very professional and easy to navigate. The
trouble-shooting section of the Guide is fairly good, but the content is
mostly for the less technically-inclined reader. The tech support section
of the Web site is better and quite good for a new product, but could be
improved. Not all of the error conditions are listed. The user
guides should be available for downloading. A discussion forum or a
news group would enhance the usefulness of the site.
BOTTOM LINE. If you are
a computer techie and a do-it-yourselfer, I would consider the $189 for a
2-PC AnyPoint Home Network to be a bit steep. The price for two network
cards and a 100 ft. CAT5
crossover cable is under $70.00. You could add an Ethernet
hub and network three PCs for less than a two PC AnyPoint network. The
price for AnyPoint becomes more competitive if you don't like holes drilled
through your floor or cables hanging from your ceiling, and you have to pay
more (and learn more) to install RJ-45 wall jacks and network infrastructure
wiring. And if your house or apartment already has a telephone jack
in about every room, you can play musical chairs with the AnyPoint network
any time you want without running more wire. Now, if 'your wife doesn't
find you handy' and you must hire someone to make cables and install the
network, AnyPoint's "total cost of ownership" becomes quite competitive--cheap
in many locations. The question is: are you willing to run cabling,
install network cards, and endure a substantial network installation learning
curve to go faster? Many won't find AnyPoint in doing that.
is easy to make the mistake of plugging the male end of the AnyPoint parallel
cable into female DB25 on the AnyPoint adapter where the printer cable
should go. This would leave a female connector at the other end of the
cable. A user might then connect that plug to the second serial port
on his or her computer instead of the printer port and possibly damage
the computer and/or adapter.
AnyPoint does not support one-way cable MODEMs. If
you attempt to install AnyPoint with a Surfboard one-way MODEM, all of the
AnyPoint software, and the Surfboard software will have to be uninstalled
and reinstalled before the MODEM will work again.
If you have an existing system with a Windows
NT file server, AnyPoint will not work if the Windows Client is set-up to
log on to a Windows NT Domain. In fact, if you have such a system and
remove all network adapters and software, AnyPoint will produce the following
undocumented error message:
You must first uncheck the Windows Client
Log on to Window's NT Domain before uninstalling the software. Apparently,
the setting stays in the Windows registry, but I couldn't find it. This
error message would have been more useful if it were more specific.
AnyPoint is designed to work simultaneously
with other services on the same phone line. Tests with my telephone,
internal PC MODEM, standalone FAX machine show that it works as advertised.
You should instruct you browser to use an
Internet connection already setup on the computer if the Installation Wizard
AnyPoint worked fine with each of the printers
(HP LaserJet II and Epson EPL-7000 laser printer) I had on the two computers
The maximum wire distance that an AnyPoint
phone line network can span is 500 feet.
Two AnyPoint adapters can be networked by
connecting a length of telephone wire with RJ11 plugs directly between the
AnyPoint comes with a 3-year warranty and
90 days of free 800-number tech support.
Other AnyPoint products include:
A PCI expansion board which implements
the AnyPoint Home Network without using the parallel port or requiring
a power adapter. Use this product if you are using the parallel
port on your PC for something besides a printer. You could build
a phone line network by buying two or more of these boards at $79.00
each, retail, with software. If you don't mind installing
expansion boards, this alternative would save some money, and eliminate
most of the wires and the power adapter. It would also, like an
internal MODEM, reduce the number of things that can break.
Parallel Port Model for One PC - $99.00,
I'll close by stating that no matter how well
it is designed, AnyPoint is not a total panacea for all home networking situations. In
my considerable experience, any device which plugs into a parallel port and
shares it with a printer will have problems with a noticeable percentage
of computers and printers (and users).
< Previous | Contents | Top | Back
to the First Page >