RealPort offers modem, Ethernet for laptop...

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October 05, 1998|By Gareth Branwyn You can find full reviews of these and other neat gadgets at Pub Date: 10/05/98

RealPort offers modem, Ethernet for laptop computers

Hardware like the RealPort restores my faith in technology. It fulfills key needs of mobile professionals with style and attention detail.

The RealPort ($399) is a PC card that functions as a 56K modem, a 10Base-T/100Base-T Ethernet card and a mobile phone modem connection. It takes up two stacked Type II PCMCIA slots or one Type III slot. One reason it hogs all of the slot real estate is its use of standard jacks to connect the modem and LAN cables, instead of the common pop-out jacks (or "X-Jacks") found on many PC card modems. These X-Jacks are fragile and notorious for getting bent or broken.

Besides the modem and LAN jacks, there's also a phone pass-through jack and a mobile phone jack that accepts a special adapter kit ("kit" here meaning that you're spending an lTC excessive amount of money for a cable). The digital mobile kit ($130) is compatible with GSM 900, 1800, 1900, DCS 1800 and PCS 1900 phones. The analog kit ($50) works with AMPS cellular phones.

There's really nothing negative I can say about the RealPort (except that those "kits" could be a lot cheaper, or come with a robot action figure or something else to take your mind off of the $130 you blew for a short cable). If you're looking for a reliable solution for modem, LAN and mobile phone connectivity, you can't go wrong with the RealPort.

Information: 805-376-9300 or

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This book is not for the newbie, but you don't have to be a "deep geek" to benefit from its wisdom. Each chapter offers background info on the hardware being discussed, a "how it works" section, and Tom's hardware recommendations.

Unfortunately, there's no step-by-step how-to information in the book. Its basic objective is to detail the various subsystems of your PC, point out the best products available for each and offer advice for improving performance. If you want to get the most out of your computer and enjoy poking your head under the hood, "Tom's Hardware Guide" belongs next to your screw drivers and chip puller.

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