Linksys Group Inc.

Linksys Group Inc.’s EtherFast Cable/DSL Router is for all remote office networking needs in one package, doing a job that has traditionally required an expensive and complex combination of hardware and software.

EtherFast Cable/DSL Router acts as a Network Address Translation router, a DHCP server, a 10/100Mbps switch, and a firewall. It can be managed by anyone with a telephone and a Web browser.

Aside from NICs (network interface cards) in the clients, the EtherFast Cable/DSL Router is the only piece of hardware needed to set up a LAN over a 10/100Mbps switch, to give all users access to the Internet, and protect them behind a full-featured firewall.

Similar NAT (Network Address Translation) routers often have fewer features and can cost as much as five times more, whereas software solutions such as WinGate or Internet Connection Sharing (found in Windows 98 Second Edition and Windows 2000) require a dedicated computer for general Internet access. Using a dedicated machine requires buying a separate switch and firewall, each of which can cost as much as or more than the entire Linksys product.

The EtherFast Router is a single piece of hardware that requires little or no configuration. The router is plugged in the WAN from either a cable or DSL modem and the router assumes the IP address provided by the ISP. It then acts as a DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol) server, assigning internal IP addresses to all the machines plugged in to one of the five ports. The fifth port doubles as an uplink, allowing support for 253 clients.

The router comes with built-in networking management Web pages that offer a wide range of security and networking features.

EtherFast’s advanced features include the capability to filter specific IP addresses;a dynamic routing feature, which automatically adjusts to physical changes in the network; and its DMZ Host feature, which grants any one of the machines exposure to the outside world for direct, two-way Internet applications such as conferencing.

The advanced forwarding feature, allows users to forward incoming requests for specific services – such as FTP or HTTP – to any machine on the LAN, without the requester’s knowledge.

EtherFast is available for Windows 95/98 and Windows NT/2000 the EtherFast costs US$199.

Linksys, in Irvine, Calif. is at

Prices listed are in US currency.