Networks in homes prevent hang-ups

Convenience: PC Link uses phone jacks and computer cards to share Internet and phone accounts, and devices.

May 03, 1999|By CRAIG CROSSMAN | CRAIG CROSSMAN,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

These are the days of two or more. Today's families have two cars, two TV sets and often two or more computers in the home. But this doesn't mean you have to spend twice the money on two phone lines, two modems and two Internet accounts. Best Data's Home PC Link can bring you back to the good old days of one.

PC Link is a simultaneous telephone and network solution that solves the computer crunch you may be feeling. PC Link requires no special wiring because it uses the telephone jacks that are already in most of your rooms. PC Link comes with two plug-in cards and networking software to connect two computers. With add-on kits, you can have up to 25 computers on one PC Link network.

The PC Link Internet Gateway Card contains a 56k v.90 class modem with filtering abilities that are needed to ensure proper operation. After the card is installed, each connected computer can send and receive files and share applications. Peripherals such as printers also can be shared. So, for example, if your computer has a laser printer connected to it but you want to print your document on someone else's color inkjet printer, you can send it there with just a few clicks. And all this happens without interfering with normal telephone operation.

You can participate in a multiplayer game or send a file to another computer while someone is speaking on the phone. Incoming callers will find their calls ring through normally. The phone becomes busy when you or someone else on the PC Link network is using it to access the Internet.

But what's best about PC Link is its ability to let every connected computer access the Internet at the same time using one phone line and just one Internet service provider account.

And all this happens for the most part without perceptible degradation in speed. PC Link is compatible with most Internet service providers as well as services like America Online and CompuServe.

The included modem has fax abilities with software that lets you do broadcast faxing and scheduling, and with personal cover sheets, a fax phone book and fax on demand.

Home PC Link requires a PC-compatible system, but a USB version is in the works that will support Macintosh systems. The Home PC Link starter kit for two computers sells for $149.99. The single add-on kit goes for about $50 and is available from Best Data Products (818-773-9600).

Pub Date: 05/03/99

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