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Fast Ethernet adapts automatically

Intel's new Fast Ethernet network adapter technology adapts automatically to configuration changes.

Intel today unveiled new Fast Ethernet network adapter technology that will adapt automatically to changes in the network configuration so that users can reap the speed gains of software upgrades without having to change their hardware.

Network adapter add-in cards that let clients log on to Fast Ethernet networks that can transmit data at speeds as fast as 100 Mbps . With the new Adaptive Technology software, networking software updates can be used to actually modify the silicon on model B versions of the PCI Intel EtherExpress PRO/100 Adapter so that a customer can upgrade their connection without having to swap out any hardware. The company says upgrading to the new Adaptive Technology can achieve throughput gains from 5 percent to more than 20 percent right away without increasing CPU utilization.

The Adaptive Technology is customized for a particular operating environment such as Microsoft Windows NT or Novell NetWare. Once installed, when the network operating system, operating system, or PC changes, the silicon can be updated to adapt to the changes without touching the hardware.

Intel officials say long-term Adaptive Technology capabilities could include enabling the silicon to behave differently depending on the network traffic, network collisions, network protocol loaded and other network changes.

Starting May 31, customers can license and download the new software upgrades and drivers at no cost via Intel's Web site. The network adapter cards are priced at $149 each in a pack of 20.