Connecting remote offices or home PC’s to the Internet and corporate networks can be troublesome, requiring a balance of bandwidth limitations, security concerns and firewall functionality. Simple setup is also a necessity, so less-experienced users can easily get these fairly complex systems up and running. In addition, the cost of communication hardware and software must be kept to a minimum to meet tight budgets. The routers also offer firewall protection for security, productivity and operational purposes. Though these aren’t heavy-duty firewalls like those that cost upwards of $10, 000, they do offer the most common protocol-filtering mechanisms. All three routers offer browser-based installation and management, and operate as Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) servers.
This feature automatically supplies the workstation with an IP address and gateway setup information upon booting-eliminating the arduous task of manually assigning IP parameters to workstations during setup. Most of the devices support the same protocols: TCP/IP; Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP); HTTP; Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP); Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) and Network Address Translator (NAT).
These protocols allow users to connect to any standards-compliant ISP (via PPP) and authenticate using either CHAP or PAP authentication protocols. Once connected, these routers can share a single IP address among many workstations using the NAT protocol, saving the cost of extra IP addresses.
... their niches. Consider the implications (such as support costs) to maintain older, proprietary protocols. Who Are Your Clients? This seems like a ... new features that are addressed to specifically make use of the Internet, and allow mobile users to connect to their home ... from happening.Because proxy servers are an important component of firewalls, this subject is covered in greater detail in Chapter ...
However, each router was different in very important ways that you must consider before buying. Ramp Networks Web Ramp 310 iI had this router up and running within minutes, and configuring five workstations took little more effort than simply powering them up. It allowed me to easily configure all attributes, from ISP information to security, using a Web browser. The Web Ramp offers NAT, Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunneling via Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), and packet filtering based on protocol and port number. It was the only router to support the IPX protocol, allowing the work group to access Net Ware servers when connecting directly to the corporate office.
Another unique feature is the Web Ramp 310 i’s POTS interface, which allows data calls to be pre-emptied on incoming or outgoing telephone voice calls. This enables work group members to use the same phone lines as the router and save on the cost of extra phone lines. The router is equipped with two built-in 56 K V. 90 modems and has an external 230 Kb per second RS-232 port. The Web Ramp 310 i’s 47.
59 Kbps performance put it slightly behind the Proxy Server’s 49. 83 Kbps throughput. The router has a built-in four-port 10 Based hub for building an instant Ethernet network. The device supports Multilink PPP (MLPPP) and Ramp Networks’ proprietary Connection Optimized Link Technology (COLT), which allows multiple modems to be combined for aggregated bandwidth.
Although MLPPP allows for more robust bandwidth aggregation, it requires support by the ISP. COLT works a little differently, normally allowing speedier delivery only of Web pages (FTP file transfers, for instance, are not affected).
Considering its price, performance, features and ease of configuration, the Web Ramp 310 i is best-suited for the small office. It replaces its sister router, the Web Ramp M 3 t, on our Win List. Multi-Tech Proxy Server MT PSR 3-200 The Proxy Server had the best security features of the routers I tested. It was difficult to dream up a configuration that it didn’t support.
However, unlike the other two routers, the Proxy Server is equipped with only one Ethernet port and requires the purchase of an external hub. And although the router was fairly easy to configure, I found the documentation to be extremely weak. The Multi-Tech Proxy Server comes with three internal 56 K V. 90 modems.
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The good news is that they ” re already tightly integrated with the unit, but there’s no room to upgrade to ISDN or another medium. Like the Web Ramp 310 i, the Proxy Server supports Analog MLPPP, as well as NAT, VPN tunneling via PPTP, and packet filtering based on protocol and port number. It also allows load-sharing connections to be made using a proprietary protocol similar to Ramp’s COLT feature. All these features allowed the unit to outperform the others when connected over single, dual and three-way load-sharing connections using Analog MLPPP 49. 83 Kbps/50. 02 Kbps/54.
3 Kbps, respectively).
The Proxy Server’s $999 price makes it slightly more expensive, but its three built-in modems, overall features and performance help justify its cost. Still, the Web Ramp 310 i is very similar in features and performance, easier to configure, more expandable and $150 cheaper. UMAX UGate-IIT he $299 UGate-II, the least expensive of the routers tested, includes desirable features such as protocol filtering based on TCP and UDP port numbers.
In addition, it was very simple to set up and maintain. Its 37. 75 Kbps throughput performance, though lower than that of the other two routers, was acceptable. The UGate-II sports a four-port Ethernet hub and has two RS-232 serial ports for connecting analog modems or ISDN TAs.
The UGate-II does not yet support load-sharing protocols, but it does support DHCP and NAT, and offers itself as a POP 3 server emulator, so users can share a single ISP e-mail account with individual log-on and identification credentials. It’s a good solution for businesses with existing modems or other serial-based equipment (such as ISDN TAs), and is good for offices with tight budgets. Making the right connection Of the three routers tested, Ramp Networks’ Web Ramp 310 i is the best value for the money, offering a full combination of security, hardware features and expandability at a reasonable price. Although the Multi-Tech Proxy Server is slightly more expensive, it’s a powerhouse in every area, and is good for those planning to stick with analog phone connections to the Internet and who need performance and security.
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And if you require a good, inexpensive solution without many frills, take a look at the UMAX UGate-II.