An all-in-one solution

IT-in-a-Box provides flawless support for small offices

EmergeCore Networks’ IT-100 (IT-in-a-Box) is the latest Internet appliance available for small home or office networks. What separates EmergeCore’s IT-in-a-Box from the competition is the functionality it integrates into one unit, which, if priced separately, far exceeds the price of EmergeCore’s product. It’s a router, firewall, four port switch, a wireless access point and has the ability to be either an FTP, e-mail, or Web server.

The device also includes a DHCP server that can provide IP addresses just to the wireless nodes, the wired nodes, or both, while at the same time keeping these address pools totally separate. It can function as a VPN (virtual private network) appliance supporting both fixed and dynamic clients. It supports IPsec VPN tunneling and 3DES encryption.

Although the IT-100 has a printer port, it does not come with any software or documentation to support it. A quick call to the company’s customer service center informed us that the parallel port is not yet programmed to handle printing. That will occur in future upgrades. It is recommended that you use IP printing on the LAN for printing needs.

As a wireless access point, IT-in-a-Box has a surprisingly large wireless footprint, especially when compared with Linksys’ access point, for example. The Web server function provides tools for fast implementation of fairly complex Websites through its built-in templates that work together seamlessly.

Overall, setup was relatively easy; the supplied documentation provided little more than snapshots of the different graphical user interfaces the device comes with. The unit is equipped with a 20GB hard drive that allows it to be used as a file sharing server with access through Windows’ Network Neighborhood. The system includes management tools that provide a graphical summary of WAN, LAN, wireless traffic, CPU load, and disk space.

Overall, the IT-100 is impressive. Similar products from other companies offer an all-in-one solution for small businesses, but none at the relatively low cost that EmergeCore’s product does. (www.emergecore .com; $1,395)

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