Asanté FriendlyNET Wireless Cable/DSL Router FR3002AL

Share high-speed Internet access and printers—wired or wirelessly


Asanté Technologies' Asanté FriendlyNET Wireless Cable/DSL Router FR3002AL connects as many as two wired computers and one wireless computer to a high-speed Internet or Ethernet backbone. I used Category 5 Ethernet cables to connect the router to two PCs, then connected the WAN port to an Ethernet segment that had Internet access. I configured the PCs so that the router-provided DHCP assigned their IP addresses. I then used a Web browser to open the router's Web-based administration utility. I verified that the router successfully leased an IP address for its WAN port, then browsed the security and DHCP settings. The router-connected PCs communicated with devices on the WAN, including Internet hosts.

To enable wireless connectivity, I installed the included AeroLAN PC Card and used the administration utility to configure the Access Point (AP) parameters. After I configured a laptop equipped with an 802.11b wireless adapter, I connected the laptop wirelessly to the router, and the laptop communicated on the internal network as well as the WAN.

The Asanté FriendlyNET Wireless Cable/DSL Router FR3002AL is an outstanding all-in-one device for small offices. It provides an easy-to-manage solution for addressing a variety of connectivity concerns.

Asanté FriendlyNET Wireless Cable/DSL Router FR3002AL
What's good: Easy configuration, all-in-one simplicity
What's not so good: Features not as robust as those of dedicated devices
What else is required: Cable or DSL modem with 10Base-T Ethernet port; clients equipped with network software and hardware (Windows, Macintosh, UNIX with TCP/IP and wired or wireless NIC)
What it costs: $289
Contact info: 801-566-8991, http://www.asante.com

Celestix One FV325

Secure your home or remote office


After working with the Celestix One FV325, I realized that inside the cute package lives a robust appliance that can secure your home or corporate branch office. The 300MHz Geode GX1 (x86-compatible) system is equipped with 128MB of RAM and a 5GB hard disk preloaded with a hardened Linux kernel. The Check Point Software Technologies' Check Point VPN-1/FireWall-1 software, which you purchase at extra cost, delivers a powerful, easy-to-deploy security solution.

Celestix One FV325's stylish exterior reflects the well-designed nature of this security solution. I needed only 15 minutes to get the system running as a firewall for my lab. I printed the User Guide from the included CD-ROM and followed its instructions for configuring the LAN and WAN ports and the firewall settings.

The system ships with a 30-day evaluation version of the Check Point VPN-1/FireWall-1 SmallOffice software. Beyond that time period, you must buy the appropriate licenses, which cost from $500 to $3000, depending on the number of systems you need to protect. The VPN-1 license includes FireWall-1, which is also available without the VPN solution.

Celestix One FV325
What's good: Easy configuration
What's not so good: Check Point licenses can be pricey
What else is required: Internet and LAN connections with Category 5 Ethernet ports
What it costs: $699
Contact info: 888-814-2338, http://www.celestix.com

Adaptec DVpics Plus

Use Adaptec DVpics Plus to quickly edit digital video


Adaptec DVpics Plus is a hardware/software bundle that contains an Adaptec AFW-4300 400Mbps FireWire host bus adapter (HBA) card, a cable that connects the Adaptec FireWire/1394 adapter card to your Digital Video (DV) camera, Sonic's MyDVD 3 software, and Roxio's VideoWave 4 SE DV editing software.

After I installed the FireWire card on a Compaq DeskPro EN machine running Windows XP Professional Edition, the system detected the card and automatically installed the drivers. I installed the Adaptec DVpics Plus software and plugged in a Canon GL1 DV camera, and I was ready to capture, edit, and produce movies. First, I started the MyDVD software and selected the option to create a new project. The MyDVD wizard stepped me through capturing, editing, and organizing video, as well as writing the project to media. Overall, the process was intuitive and produced good results.

To perform advanced editing and apply special effects, use the included VideoWave 4 SE software. When I first attempted to use this program to edit video clips, the application crashed. I spoke with Adaptec representatives and learned that the SE version of VideoWave 4 included in the package doesn't support MPEG2 files.

Adaptec DVpics Plus
What's good: Ready-to-run bundle at a good price; easy to use
What's not so good: Undocumented limitation in VideoWave 4 SE caused problems
What else is required: 266MHz or faster PC running Windows 98 or later OS or Apple Computer's PowerMac 8600 or 9600 or later; FireWire-equipped video source for capture; CD-RW or DVD-R drives for saving productions
What it costs: $79
Contact info: 800-442-7274, http://www.adaptec.com