I have not done the ftp install (I bought the upgrade package and installed from DVD), so I don't know what (if any) differences are caused by the ftp install. The boot-image (in theory at least) should be the same as the one on the DVD and that includes the 3Com NIC driver. As long as you select acpi=off the 3Com NIC will work. The SuSE installer correctly detects both NICs, but of course the nvnet driver needs to be downloaded separately from nvidia.
Cigarman: The nvidia installer recognizes all of the SuSE 8.2 kernels, including the athlon kernel and installs the GRAPHICS driver for nvidia video cards. For the nvnet module you need to download the SuSE 8.2 RPM from the nvidia website. I'm running the 2.4.20-4GB-athlon kernel and the 0256 rpm installed just fine.