Mid-range (Lite) / High-end (Pro) news server for Windows NT
NewsChannel offers an extremely easy to use news server solution for organizations wanting to access Internet newsgroups available through the USENET network as well as for those businesses wanting the ability to create internal discussion groups and host collaborative forums on their own local networks. NewsChannel is actually available in two different flavors -- a Lite version that retails for $295 and a Pro version priced at $795. Both versions are currently designed only for the Intel version of the Windows NT platform.
NewsChannel Lite is targeted more towards smaller organizations and workgroup settings. The major difference between the two clients is a message storage capacity of 1.5 GB in the Lite release; there is no server-imposed quota on the size of your message database in the Pro version. NewsChannel Pro also offers several features not available in the Lite version including message filtering capabilities, a unique content routing/deletion feature, and the ability to create custom newsgroups. The NewsChannel download is a 30-day evaluation release of the Pro version that allows you to evaluate all of the high-end server's advanced features. NewsChannel is actually available in two different flavors -- a Lite version that retails for $295 and a Pro version priced at $795.
Among NewsChannel's many features are complete NNTP compliance (with full support for RFC 977 and RFC 1036 specifications), intelligent wizards for assisting you with installation and configuration tasks, remote administration capabilities, an advanced graphical user interface that simplifies server maintenance chores, a pull feed wizard and other graphical tools that take you step-by-step through the process of administering the server, configurable message expiration capabilities, rich content posting capabilities (with support for MIME, HTML, GIF, and JPEG formats), and complete control of replication frequency and length of life for group messages.
NewsChannel will also work with any NNTP-compliant newsreader (like Agent, Outlook Express, News Xpress, and Netscape News) to deliver articles, post messages, and create new groups. In addition to its integration with the NT user database, NewsChannel has been optimized for the Windows NT platform in a couple other areas as well. First, NewsChannel has an option for running as a Windows NT service. The server also makes use of the Windows NT Performance Monitor for delivering performance statistics and the Event Log viewer for error reporting.
NewsChannel offers security and access control on a permission basis and also on a newsgroup-by-newsgroup basis. Access control by permissions can be applied by user name and password, IP address and subnet, host name, or DNS domain. One of NewsChannel's most unique attributes is its implementation of a relational news information index based on a proprietary relational database managements system (RDBMS). This results in more flexible access control, especially when used on a newsgroup-by-newsgroup basis.
The RDBMS also gives administrators greater control when creating local private newsgroups and private newsgroups that are shared with other news servers both inside and outside of your corporation. The relational information index used by NewsChannel is the only one of its kind on the market today and is one of the server's major selling points when compared to rivals like DNEWS and NetRoad NewsServer. In fact, Netscape Collabra Server is currently the only other news server to offer group-by-group access control.
DNEWS and Collabra Server beat NewsChannel in performance-related areas and offer several features that you won't find in NewsChannel including DNEWS' dynamic sucking feed capabilities and Collabra's advanced security features (like SSL support). And while NewsChannel does lack support for platforms other than the Intel version of Windows NT, the server is still able to hold its own against the competition. If you're looking for a news server that offers solid performance, extreme ease of use, an extensive feature-set, and access control on a newsgroup-by-newsgroup basis, NewsChannel is likely to be the perfect solution for you.
Pros: Set rights on a group-by-group basis with RDBMS, extremely easy to setup & use
Cons: Lacks cross-platform support (WinNT-only solution), DNEWS offers better performance
Version Reviewed: 2.0
Date of Review: 3/9/98
Reviewed by: Forrest Stroud