Kingston’s Fast EtheRx hub is a 10/100 twisted pair network hub available in five, eight, and sixteen port versions. We were supplied with a 5-port hub for our tests. As the market for switchable 10/100Mbps hubs grows, allowing users with fast network interface cards to run at the higher speeds and yet still talk with legacy 10Mbps Ethernet machines, these kinds of units are going to see a fast growth in the market.

The Kingston Fast EtheRx hub is an almost square unit about six inches on a side, one inch high, and the ubiquitous beige color we know so well. The front panel of the Fast EtheRx hub has five pairs of status lights for each incoming twisted pair line (one to show 100Mbps operation and the other for link status), as well as a power LED, 10/100Mbps operation LEDs, and a switch to allow the fifth port to act as a cascade for other hubs. The back of the Fast EtheRx hub has five RJ45 connectors and a jack for the wall-wart power supply. The base of the unit has been predrilled for wall mounting and has a status light summary sticker for reference. A short instruction manual accompanies the Fast EtheRx hub (how much instruction is necessary for “connect the cables and plug the unit in”?).

The Fast EtheRx hub can act in autonegotiate mode on each of the ports, offering 10 and 100Mbps Ethernet . The Fast EtheRx hub does not seem to differentiate duplex mode in our tests. Using the Fast EtheRx hub is simple: connect the power supply, plug in the cables from Ethernet NICs, and let the unit manage the traffic. There are a few nice features in the Fast EtheRx hub such as the ability to automatically repartition a port if there are an excessive number of collisions on it, as well as automatic reconnection after a link drop.

At $119 for a five port hub (only four ports if you cascade to another hub), the Fast EtheRx hub is competitive in price with other hubs, but most users will probably want to spend extra for more ports. The Fast EtheRx hub worked perfectly in our tests, although it doesn’t want to handle the different duplex modes which was curious.

Kingston Technology Company
17600 Newhope St.
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 435-2600
(714) 435-2699 fax

Summary: Five port 10/100Mbps hub that works fine. You’ll probably want more ports, though.