SOHOmate HiP-400 Router

The HiP-400 is a router/sharing device combined with a four-port 10/100 dual-speed switch and printer sharer. It's ideal for broadband users wanting to share an Internet connection across their network and, according to the vendor, the device has been designed specifically for the Australian market. Micronica also says that it has been tested by Telstra to meet its 'heartbeat' signal requirements for compatibility with the Telstra Cable service. The router supports most major broadband services including Telstra and Optus ADSL offerings, and can even be used with dial-up connections.

As an IP router/sharer, the HiP-400 can share an Internet connection between up to 253 users, and the built-in print server and parallel "printer port allows all users on the network to share a single printer. This is courtesy of the built-in four-port switch/hub that saves users purchasing one separately, and allows other tasks such as file sharing. The device can also act as a NAT (Network Address Translation) firewall to protect from outside intrusion and is even able to log unauthorised access attempts. Other features include VPN support, DMZ host support and access control for different users or applications.

If you have an existing network, you can change the pre-coded IP address of the HiP-400 via an easy-to-use Web-based interface. In testing, I found installation to be straightforward, taking five to 10 minutes using the clear instructions provided. First, I plugged the HiP-400 into my iPrimus ADSL modem. If I had wanted to, I could then simply have plugged my computers into the HiP-400, using its switch and DHCP network functionality. However, as this would involve reconfiguring all the computers on my network, I elected to change the IP address of the HiP-400 to the same IP range as my existing network and plug the HiP-400 into my existing switch. The last step was to enter my Internet account details in the Web-based interface of the HiP-400.

It's actually easier than it sounds, and is an ideal solution, made all the better value with its integrated sharing capabilities. The question is whether $545 is a justifiable cost? As mentioned, it really depends on your needs. The HiP-400 works across most platforms including Mac OS, Linux/UNIX and Windows 95/98/NT/2000.

SOHOmate HiP-400 Router

Price: $545

Distributor: Micronica

Phone: (03) 9699 8844

URL: http://micronica.com.au

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Danny Allen

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