Trumpet Firesock Aims for the SOHO Market
Trumpet's Firesock 5.0, like the vendor's flagship WinSock product, provides cost-effective access to the Internet. Firesock makes it possible to connect multiple users in a LAN via a single modem or ISDN connection. Version 5.0 introduces IPv6 functionality and can accommodate many connection types, from dial-up to broadband.
This solution provides a cost-effective solution for the SOHO user who is already networked and wants high-speed Web access without having to purchase a router or other additional hardware. The cost of multiple modems is eliminated with a potential savings of up to 80 percent for a five-user network, according to Trumpet; the number of possible users is limited only by the bandwidth and the specific license agreement.
Like with Ositis' WinProxy, as long as the gateway machine is on a Windows platform and has a TCP/IP stack running, Trumpet Firesock can accommodate various clients types, including PCs, Macs, and Unix machines. Trumpet Firesock runs on top of this stack, so if an organization is using a client like the Microsoft DUN utility, it doesn't need to worry about Firesock replacing or interfering.
Trumpet Firesock logs all network activity and acts as a transparent IP-level firewall. It also functions as a kind of router, passing Internet traffic to the appropriate client. The telephone support available is minimal; however, the help documentation seems sufficient, and e-mail support is available.
Set up for Trumpet Firesock involves a rapid installation followed by a quick configuration process for the gateway machine from a menu screen with tabs for trace options, TCP/IP settings, socket status, and other items. Under TCP/IP, settings are specified in the first interface, which goes to the outside world. The second interface is for the internal network card.
Set up for the client machines involves specifying the IP address (to the same ones in the gateway machine) under TCP/IP in the Windows Control Panel. Once Trumpet Firesock is set up, little maintenance is required. Further set up is not necessary for individual applications.
Trumpet Firesock's pricing is reasonable for the SOHO market, starting at $60.00 for five users (not including gateway machine), or $150.00 for an unlimited number of users. Australia pricing differs slightly, costing $66.00 for five users and $165.00 for an unlimited number of users.
While Trumpet Firesock is less pricey than WinProxy, it has fewer features. It is, however, also a sensible low-cost alternative to the pricier and fancier systems provided by Netscape and Microsoft. Organizations looking for an enterprise-level solution or those with intensive Web access needs may well prefer a product from one of the latter two vendors though. Also, organizations with fewer than five computers may be better off without a proxy server, especially if the computers are not networked to start with.
Overall, Trumpet Firesock provides a cost-effective means to share a single Web connection among five or more LAN users, and it is worthy of consideration by any SOHO user with such a need.
Pros: Provides low-cost means for LAN users to share an Internet connection, transparent IP-level firewall, routing from Web to client machines
Cons: Minimal telephone support, no licenses available for fewer than five users, doesn't work on Windows 2000 or Windows ME
Version Reviewed: 5.0
Date of Review: 3/28/01
Date of Review: 3/28/01
Reviewed by: Eric Schayer