Multi-Tech’s ProxyServer is a modem-size device that lets multiple users on a network connect to the Internet. So it’s really an IP router/Internet sharer, rather than a proxy server. What’s more, it actually has three 56 kbps modems built in. That gives it an edge over Boca’s Rs 39,000 priced WebRamp—which requires three external modems. Another smaller, cheaper version clips onto a single external modem for smaller networks, or to an ISDN device.
The ProxyServer behaves as a gateway to the Internet, dialing up to the ISP, and routing all Internet requests from PCs on your network. A network port (10BaseT or thin Ethernet) lets you connect it to your LAN.
A built-in remote access server lets you dial into the proxy from outside the LAN and access TCP/IP network resources—including the Internet.
The ProxyServer has a DHCP server built in to allocate IP addresses for your local network. You’d enable it if there’s no other DHCP server running on your network.
You could combine the bandwidth of the three modems using Multi-Link PPP, but your ISP would have to support this. VSNL doesn’t. Without this, the ProxyServer will distribute its Internet requests across the three modems.
Initial setup is through Windows-based software, supplied on two floppies; for this, you connect a PC to the ProxyServer through a serial cable. Installation is largely automated. After initial setup, the ProxyServer too is configurable through a browser. You can use telnet as well as remote dial-in for configuration. If you use the device’s default IP configuration, you can skip the initial setup and do it over a Web browser.
|Multi-Tech ProxyServer MTPSR3-200|
|Internet sharer (IP router)
with built-in modems. Rs 51,000
Features: Three internal 56 kbps modems, remote access server, DHCP server.
Pros: Easy browser-based configuration; remote access.
Cons: Remote access doesn’t support non-IP resources.
Source: Multi-Tech Computers, 249-B, Phase IV, Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon 122016. Tel: 124-340778/79/80
The ProxyServer assumes that your ISP uses PAP/CHAP to log in (Satyam, and a few VSNL locations do this). Otherwise, you reconfigure it to use scripts instead, which we did; the scripts worked fine without any problems. That done, browsing the Web was just a matter of setting the default gateway of clients to the proxy and firing up the Web browser.
As with other such products (and unlike a software proxy server), the ProxyServer has no caching. If you want to speed up Web access with a cache, you’ll have to run a proxy program somewhere on your network.
The Multi-Tech ProxyServer compares well with other IP routers in features and performance, and the built-in modems make it a very good buy. It comes with a two-year warranty.
The Baby ProxyServer
This tiny IP sharer clips on to a modem or ISDN TA
This ProxyServer is a smaller variant of the MTPSR3-200. It doesn’t have any built-in modems. One end screws on to the serial port of a modem or ISDN terminal adapter (TA), and the other connects to your LAN with a 10BaseT cable.
|Multi-Tech ProxyServer MTPSR1-100|
|Internet sharer (IP router)
for LANs; attaches to modem or ISDN TA.
Features: Built-in DHCP.
Pros: Small; easy setup; no dedicated PC needed.
Source: Multi-Tech Computers, 249-B, Phase IV, Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon 122016. Tel: 124-340778/79/80 Fax: 340776 or 4105968 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The configuration software is easy to use; a wizard guides you through the entire process. Without PAP/CHAP auto-login, we had to use login scripts for VSNL. As with other such devices, this one dials up on demand and becomes the gateway for PCs on the network. On inactivity, it drops the dial-up connection.
This device also has its own DHCP server built in, and a FLASH ROM for easy firmware upgrades. The user guide (PDF format on the CD) is well-designed; the CD also has several shareware Internet programs and an e-mail account-sharing program, Mail Server Lite.
The device is very good value for money, considering that it can be connected to either a modem or an ISDN TA, and is very easy to configure. There’s a two-year warranty.