Buying an Ethernet Network Adapter
Some new computers now have an ethernet network adapter built-in so you may not need to purchase one. Check your computer manuals to make sure before you buy anything! Look for the phrase "10/100 Ethernet LAN".
If your computer does not have an ethernet adapter then you'll need to buy one. These adapters are reasonably standard across the industry, the only differences being the price and special features included. An ethernet adapter for a PC should cost between £5 and £30 and they usually come with a one year guarantee.
The type of ethernet adapter you should buy to connect to the Student Residences Network (Resnet) must conform to the 10/100Base-TX standards and have an RJ-45 socket on it - this information is usually written on the outside of packaging for clarification.
USB Ethernet network adapters
You can also obtain USB Ethernet network adapters, which plug into any available USB port that you have on your equipment - these do tend to be a little on the expensive side though, but are much easier to install than an internal ethernet network adapter, as they do not require you to take the cover off your computer. Please check you're computer manuals or ask the company who supplied you with your equipment for further information about identifying what you have installed inside you computer.
All network adapters need a piece of software called a "driver" in order to function with your computer. This driver allows your computer to talk to the Ethernet adapter, which then communicates with the network. Ethernet Adapter cards are usually sold with the software driver in the same box.
If you have an Ethernet Adapter, but don't have the software driver for it - check the troubleshooting page for information on manufacturers websites.
If you are buying a new ethernet adapter - do not accept it if it has no instructions or no driver disk/cd-rom inside the packaging as you will need these to install it.
If you need to install an ethernet adapter inside your PC equipment, make sure you have the right tools to do so - and you know how to undo your computer case without damaging it.
You must also decide what type of card bus you are going to use inside your computer. Older PC equipment will have two types of bus that can be used to plug various adapters - the ISA bus and the PCI bus. All modern equipment, generally less than one year old, will only have the PCI bus available for you to use. The differences are shown below.
Figure 1. A generic Motherboard showing the ISA bus (in black) and the PCI bus (in white)
You must decide which type of bus you are going to use, if you have both PCI and ISA bus slots with nothing installed in them. The PCI bus always has white or cream coloured slots. The ISA bus is always black in colour and has a physically longer slot than the PCI Bus.
Usually PCI Bus Ethernet network adapters are much easier to install on Windows-based systems as most of the hardware configuration will be done for you, by Windows itself.
If you must buy an Ethernet Adapter, make sure you understand the installation instructions. Check inside the packaging to make sure that installation instructions are included before you buy it, as we will not be able to install it for you.
Figure 2. A generic PCI bus Ethernet network card (with an RJ-45 network connection)
Laptop Ethernet Network Adapters
Their are a variety of laptops on the market today with varying features. All modern laptops will have (at the least) a USB socket and two or more PCMCIA slots to allow the installation of various adapters. Check your laptop manuals to make sure you know what is inside your laptop. Some of the more recent models of laptop already have an Ethernet Network Adapter installed.
As stated previously, you can buy a USB Ethernet Network adapter for your equipment OR you can buy a PCMCIA Ethernet Network adapter. PCMCIA adapters can be what is known as "multi-function" adapters i.e., they have a modem & ethernet card installed on the same PCMCIA card.
If you have one of these, then all you need do is make sure you have installed the correct software to run it and use the correct cable to plug into the network socket in your bedroom. Again, if you need to buy a PCMCIA Ethernet Adapter make sure that it conforms to the 10/100Base-TX standards AND that you have all the necessary installation instructions to install it.
There are too may types of these cards to describe, but you can see an example in figure 3 below:
Figure 3. A PCMCIA Ethernet Network Adapter
Once you have installed an Ethernet Network card, proceed to the software installation instructions for your operating system - located on the left-hand menu bar.
You can purchase Ethernet network adapters from these local retailers:
The Computer Store, The Old Bond Store, Eastgate, Southampton 023 8021 6590
Evesham Micros, 9 Castle Way, Southampton, SO14 2BX 023 8071 9490 - www.evesham.com
Maplins, 10-11 East Bargate, Southampton, SO14 2DL 023 8063 4832 - www.maplin.co.uk
Dixons, Unit SU42, West Quay Shopping Centre, Southampton, SO15 1QD - www.dixons.co.uk
Alternatively, you can purchase these items over the web, via an on-line store and have them delivered to your Student Residence.
Southampton Solent University does not have any formal arrangements with any computer equipment retailers. If you purchase equipment from them we are unable to accept any responsibility for warranty or repair. Please make sure you buy the correct equipment! If purchasing via an on-line web store, we recommend you use a secure (encrypted) web browser connection.