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LinuxWorld: ExtendNet 4000 Internet appliance eases Net connection

Nov 22, 2000, 20:37 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Joshua Drake)

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"Extended Systems has fashioned a Linux-based Internet appliance that combines ease of installation with all the connectivity features that a small business needs -- along with excellent tech support."

"Extended Systems has built a big blue box for 1 to 100 user connections to the Internet. I say big because most appliances are not large, usually only taking up the space of a large phone or laptop. In contrast, the ExtendNet 4000 is housed in an oversized computer desktop case. This surprised me because one of the advantages of an appliance is its portability: you can mount it in a rack or stick it behind a desk. In comparison to similar offerings from Cobalt, this device had zero "WOW" factor. I started to worry that the ExtendNet 4000 was just a Linux box in a colorful case."

"The installation program walked me through the configuration step by step. I honestly can't see how much simpler it could be. The options were all on one screen, so I didn't have to go hunting for them; I just chose the option I wanted to configure from a simple dropdown box. If you are uncomfortable doing this yourself, you could get a little help from an Internet-savvy associate, or from Extended Systems' technical support team. Either of these options should help you configure the system in no time."

"Overall, I really liked the ExtendNet 4000. It looks like just a big blue box. It's not flashy, and, in fact, it might appear somewhat out of place as a router, but it definitely delivers what Extended Systems says it was designed for. The system is easy to configure and appears to be low maintenance. The only drawback I could find was the price: the retail price of $2,599 is high. Similar offerings from Cobalt are just as functional and will save you anywhere from $1,400 to $800 over the ExtendNet 4000. A Linux techie friend could also build one for less, but the result might not be as easy to manage on your own. The best part about the ExtendNet 4000 was not the product itself but the support behind it. The people at Extended Systems have set up their system for maximum customer convenience and have a tech support team that appears to put the customer first."

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