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An Ethernet card to connect an older computer to DSL needs the right connectors. You may be able to find one secondhand.

I have a Dell Dimension 8100 computer and it doesn't have an Ethernet plug. I'm running Microsoft Windows XP 2000. I found several Ethernet cards for sale but my question is do I need a specific one in order for it to work on the internet with my DSL modem? Thank you.

In this excerpt from Answercast #98 I look at compatibility in Ethernet cards for older computers.

Ethernet card to connect to DSL

Ok. First of all, Microsoft Windows XP 2000? There's no such thing. There's either Windows XP or there's Windows 2000.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter which of the two you're talking about but I just want to stress the importance of getting the terminology right; getting the version right when you ask questions.

So, the real answer to your question is - do you need a specific one? No, not really. An Ethernet card is an Ethernet card; they will all work with your DSL modem.

100 MB support

You might consider looking for one that's supports 100 MB. Older ones will only support 10.

On an older computer, that may very well be enough. If all you're doing is internet speeds, that still may be more than enough, but if you're ever copying from computer to computer, a faster ethernet card can sometimes improve the data transfer between two PCs.

Correct interface

The only thing you need to look for is to make sure that the other side of the Ethernet card is actually the correct interface for your computer.

By the other side, I mean - when you've got an expansion card like an Ethernet card, it plugs into your computer. The slot that it plugs into has changed over time.

Currently, most computers will have what are called PCI interfaces. Older computers will have ISA interfaces. My guess is, given that is an older computer, it probably has one or more available ISA slots into which you can poke an Ethernet card.

So the only thing you'd really need to do is to make sure you're getting yourself an ISA compatible or ISA Ethernet adapter for a PC, and you should be just fine.

Look for secondhand

The good news is that they should be dirt-cheap. I see them for, like, ten bucks at local secondhand stores, computer secondhand stores.

So definitely. If you have those kinds of options, a secondhand store, a computer recycling store, whatever, that you can go to - and you can describe the computer to the person there, there's a very good chance you'll get exactly what you need for a very inexpensive price.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Next from Answercast 98- Why does my backup fail after 13 discs?

Article C6351 - March 16, 2013 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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