While many vendors are scrambling to jump on the Internet bandwagon, Compatible Systems has carefully assembled a bundle of hardware, software, and service that will make it easy for small networks to connect to the Internet. The company’s WorldWire package, released for both Macintosh and Windows this month, combines a router, Internet client software, and credit towards UUNET’s LAN Plus Internet connection service.
Included with WorldWire is Compatible’s MicroRouter 900i, with auto-switching 10Base-T thin, and thick Ethernet ports, plus an RS-232C port used for the WAN (wide area network) connection to route TCP/IP via PPP. The WAN port can handle asynchronous or synchronous connections using anything from an ordinary modem on an ordinary phone line, to leased or switched 56 Kbps line, to ISDN. Connections up to 128 Kbps are supported, and both Mac and Windows management utilities are provided.
WorldWire also includes either a five-user license for InterCon’s TCP/Connect II client software for Macintosh, or Spry’s Air Series for Windows users. The TCP/Connect II package provides email, Usenet news, FTP, Gopher, Telnet, and Web client functionality, as well as a license for MacTCP. (Apple’s MacTCP software is also included with System 7.5.) Naturally, other commercial TCP/IP client software such as Eudora and Netscape, as well as the wide variety of Macintosh freeware and shareware, will work fine on computers connected to a WorldWired LAN.
The bundle, which will ship in March with a suggested list price of $1,995, includes $499 credit towards AlterNet LAN Plus offered by UUNET Technologies, which provides 14.4 Kbps or 28.8 Kbps modem dialup service. The credit can instead be applied towards the cost of higher-bandwidth leased line or frame relay access. (A one year service commitment is required to take advantage of the credit.)
For those who already have all the software they need, or prefer another Internet service provider, the Compatible Systems MicroRouter 900i is available separately for $995. The MicroRouter 1000R, with a retail price of $1,695, routes IPX, AppleTalk, and DECnet protocols as well as TCP/IP.
Companies with in-house TCP/IP experts or wide area networking experts might still be able to find a less expensive "roll-your-own" solution, but Compatible’s WorldWire product offers a good starting point for those who prefer a complete package. For about the same amount of money as Global Village’s OneWorld Internet router (see TidBITS-258), WorldWire provides a much more flexible approach to Internet connectivity.
Compatible Systems — 800/356-0283 — 303/444-9532
303/444-9595 (fax) — <[email protected]>