There is no clear answer, but the MS Exchange Blog has a nice thread which might end up being of use.
Avoid JCPenny online. I recently purchased three pairs of pants from JCPenny.com - exactly the same size but each with a different color. Two pairs were about an inch longer than they should have been. Naturally, a return is in order. Unfortunately, I failed to read the fine print before purchasing. Under JCPenny's "fair and easy" return policy, the buyer pays all return shipping and handling, even if the merchandise is flawed. So, keep that in mind as you shop. Here's a company that doesn't get it.
It sounds like an urban myth, but isn't. Hybrid cars can now be driven in carpool lanes regardless of the number of passengers. There is a great editorial in the San Jose Mercury News on the response. That in itself makes the hybrid proposition quite nice - except, of course, when the carpool lanes become clogged with solo Prius drivers. At dinner tonight, someone suggested that perhaps one additional proposition would be to force SUV owners off the carpool lanes, regardless of number of passengers.
This (from the editorial) is interesting:
California's law wisely puts some limits in place from the get-go. Only the highest-mileage hybrids are eligible, the ones that get 45 miles per gallon or more. They are the Toyota Prius, the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Honda Insight.
A maximum of 75,000 hybrids can obtain the carpool-lane pass. The state Department of Transportation can ban hybrids from carpool lanes that get too congested.
I have given up on Gigabit Ethernet. The probability of compatibility on the PC-side is pretty slim if you are dealing with laptops and desktops. We might as well be using 100 Mbs. The SMCBR18VPN is an upgraded version of the SMC 8-port Barricade router I wrote about earlier. This includes VPN (Virtual Private Network) hard-coded. This means that you can have two of these guys in two different places in the country and connect your network together. Nice. For $30 more, it might be worth it, hmmm, or maybe not. On one hand, I'll be able to manage my parents network. On the other hand, I'll have to manage my parents network... does it include the printer server? Tom's Networking has a review of the four-port version, the SMC7004FW.
The Barricade™ VPN 8-Port Broadband Router (SMCBR18VPN) is the perfect solution for creating secure Virtual Private Networking tunnels and sharing the Internet connection with multiple computers. Along with the VPN functionality, this Router has several Advanced Features including DMZ hosting, Port Forwarding, extensive system logging, and two user accounts. The Barricade VPN has an integrated 10/100Mbps Auto-Sensing Switch to connect up to 8
wired computers or easily expand your network by adding a switch to one of the LAN ports.
This Barricade VPN 8-Port Broadband Router allows a user to create secure VPN tunnel connections to a corporate network from a home or remote office location. This new VPN Router has both an integrated VPN Server and VPN client to support multiple VPN connections using IPSec, PPTP, and L2TP protocols. The Barricade VPN provides new VPN features like a Dynamic VPN function. This feature allows a user to configure a VPN connection on a Dynamic IP connection and when the IP Address changes, the VPN configuration will be updated to use the new IP Address automatically.
The Barricade VPN supports a 10/100Mbps WAN port (The previous version only had a 10Mbps WAN port)for use with high-speed Internet connections as well as a COM port for use with an external dial-up or ISDN modems. The dial-up modem port can be used as the main internet connection or as a fail-over option if your broadband service goes down. For network protection, this Router has an Advanced SPI Firewall to protect your computers from DoS (Denial of Service) Attacks like Ping of Death, SYN Flood, Land Attacks, and IP Spoofing.
OK, it looks like the new version has no printer server. But then again, most printers are networkable now.
By combining all of these features into our new stackable chassis the Barricade VPN 8-Port Broadband Router is the ideal solution for both the corporate user who works from home and the advanced power user looking for more features and performance.
Hold that previous thought, perhaps the way to go is Gigabit Ethernet. While your PC adapters probably can't handle it yet, the cost is such that it may make sense to buy it now. The only catch is that you will have had to have installed "good" CAT5 cable, that is, CAT5 cable with 8 wires not 4. I'm interested in the SMC8508T.
I did my research and while Linksys (ala BEFSR41) is by far the most popular, I recommend the SMC Barricade router as the choice for a cable/dsl router. In particular, the 8-port SMC7008ABR. Its strongest point is reliability. According to one reviewer,
It has been 99.998% reliable in that time. (I reset the unit only four times in 3 years.)Another nice feature is an integrated print server. You no longer have to keep the "print computer" on in order to print. That has always been an annoyance. Why not Linksys? Linksys apparently has issues with failures after 1-2 years. I like upgrading hardware, but I'd like it to be my choice, thank you very much.