WinGate: A Proxy Server Solution for Organizations of All Sizes

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jun 5, 2002


Wingate Internet proxy server was the first such product available, and its current release (4.3) maintains Deerfield.com's leadership in this field. WinGate comes in three versions, Home, Standard, and Professional, allowing networked computers to share a single Internet connection, and save enterprises money on expenses for multiple modems, Internet accounts, and phone lines.

On WinGate Internet traffic is routed between the network and the Internet, with required network addresses assigned to each computer on the network. WinGate works with an expanded base of platforms over and beyond earlier releases. Its built-in firewall protects the network from intrusion, and the SMTP proxy service filters incoming e-mail and has e-mail address alias capabilities. The scheduler automates operations such as backing up log files, purging cache files, and starting the dialer.

Deerfield.com's WinGate Proxy Server is available in three flavors: Home, Standard, and Professional. The variety of features offered in the different versions aims to meet the needs of organizations of all sizes.

Wingate comes in three versions: Home, Standard, and Pro. The home version offers an economical range of features suitable for the home environment. The standard version offers intermediate features, such as networkwide user control that permits organizations to control what content is viewed. Intuitive program administration is performed through the server. A number of different proxies are supported, including WWW, SOCKS, FTP, and POP3.

The professional version, which includes all the features of the standard version, is an enterprise-level proxy server. It has features to accommodate advanced customization and the capability to restrict Internet access rights to individual users and groups. Program administration can be performed through an encrypted TCP/IP connection from any computer on the network or the Internet.

Installation is relatively simple, especially with WinGate's Installation Wizard, which detects setting and configuration information, rendering prior knowledge of networking and proxy setup unnecessary. Client machines do not have to be configured individually, and total setup takes from ten to fifteen minutes. Gatekeeper, WinGate's user interface, has an auto-save option to save changes as they're made.

Another key feature of the proxy server is WinGate Security Firewall Protection, a packet-level firewall solution that provides protection for the entire LAN and the gateway PC. This firewall operates beneath the operating system at the network link layer. Individual security options can be turned on or off, and the default settings protect against attacks in the form of denial of service, Trojan Horse viruses, port scanners, IP spoofing, and backdoors. Packets can be filtered by protocol, interface, or port. They can be allowed, denied, or redirected to another computer. Sys admins are immediately notified of any network intrusion or suspicious activity.

Security filters enable the firewall administrator to create "holes" in the firewall to allow users on the Internet to access servers running on the LAN. The filters also allow packets to be denied on single ports (or port ranges), and they allow the redirection of packets to another computer, within or beyond the firewall.

Version 4.3 includes several advantages over earlier versions like expanded platform compatibility. Also, WinGate 4.3 dynamically binds to network adapters so enterprises can safely modify their TCP/IP network configurations without having to reinstall the software. Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is also provided.

Wingate is compatible with most Internet programs, including Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer, Eudora, Outlook, and various FTP programs. Pricing ranges from $39.95 for the three-user home version, up to $999.95 for the unlimited user professional version.

Overall, WinGate 4.3 maintains Deerfield.com's position as a market leader in proxy servers. For the networked business that needs a Web connection, any of the three flavors of WinGate is certainly an intelligent and cost-effective solution.

Pros: Wide range of organization sizes accommodated, Home version is moderately and appropriately priced, Firewall and site-filtering capabilities
Cons: Approximately 1000-user limit per LAN on unlimited version, though several LANs can be connected for a virtually unlimited numbers of users, Firewall protection is not state of the art, No license option for two-node LANs

Version Reviewed: 4.3
Reviewed by: Eric Schayer
Last Updated: 4/4/02
Date of Original Review: 5/9/01

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