Title: Ugate Plus

Manufacturer: MaxGate

Price: $200


Mac Modems

Note: These images have been reduced in size to fit into this area. In their original form, the quality was greater.

The Ugate Plus is small, lightweight, and is about the size of your hand.

The Ugate status screen. Click for a bigger image.

The Ugate Plus is a little box that allows you to share your Cable/DSL, or any other RJ45 10BT Ethernet internet connection with multiple computers. It essentially is a router for home users. You simply use your web-browser to configure it.

If multiple static IP addresses are available, you configure each computer accordingly and attach everything to a hub, but for Cable Modem and DSL users with only ONE IP address, life gets hard, and having a DHCP protocol doesn't help either. This is where the Ugate Plus comes in with it's magical NAT networking ability.
Many cable internet providers and DSL providers will verify the connection with the hardware address. Keep in mind that the Ugate's hardware address is different than the computer's hardware address, so you may need to call in to tell them the new address when you change your setup. Otherwise, it's pretty much plug and play, but the Ugate doesn't only route internet, it has many customizable features that make it worth buying for even large corporations with huge networks.
The Ugate Plus supports a routing table which enables it to act as a low-cost static router as well as a firewall. It has an "exposed computer" feature that will allow one computer to have full internet access and allow that computer to open ports as necessary. In addition to that, it can give certain computers certain port availability, such as port 80, if you wanted to run a web server!

The downside to the Ugate Plus is that it does not support stealth mode, which makes it easy for hackers to verify that it exists (on the net). The second downside to this product is the lack of Macintosh firmware updaters. I need to download Umax's firmware updating program, and the firmware to a PC in order to make the update. Make sure not to install PPPoe if you are using a cable modem connection (PPPoe is for DSL only). It's been released for the Ugate Plus just recently. The final downside is the fact that the Ugate Plus only routes at 1.5Mbits/sec. But for modem users that is already heaven. If your cable modem/DSL modem goes above 1.5Mbits/sec, you might want to consider investing in the Ugate 3000, which has 100BT Ethernet, and routes at 7.1Mbits/sec (the standard maximum DSL speed for large offices).

Technical Tip:
The easiest thing to do is configure all the client computers for DHCP. Wala! Instant internet access. But if you share files over TCP/IP often, manually configure the 192.168.0.x addresses to each computer, so they don't change. That way, if you play a lot of online games, you can have one computer always set on "exposed" and if it has an internal static IP, you won't have to check it before each game! If you are working with both DHCP AND manually configured computers, make sure the manually configured computers are set to 50+ (the last number of the IP). The reason for this is because you don't want conflicts going on between the DHCP configured computers and the manually configured static computers.

The Ugate Plus is a complete solution that will satisfy you. It uses the 192.168.0.x "dead addresses" for the inside, so you can use TCP/IP within your network without touching the internet. Setup was a breeze and the firewall makes for some nice security. Up to 250 computers can be supported, and although it only routes at 1.5Mbits, the response time is phenomenally fast.



This review was written by me: Colin B. Colby. This is my first review, so please send comments, suggestions, and questions to: Colin_Colby@milton.edu


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