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The Good The Bad And Internet Connection Sharing

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Dave Haynes

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User since: 26 Aug 1999

Articles written: 3

My friend and I were talking the other day about Internet Connection Sharing - I had recently heard about it with the hype of the upcoming release of Windows 98 Second Edition. I had already ordered my copy, but it hadn't arrived yet, and being the nerd that I am, I was a little bit excited about the idea of using my nearly worthless personal computer in my bedroom to access the net. So excited, in fact, that I couldn't wait on my Windows 98 SE CD to arrive, so I began searching for other connection sharing software to see if I could find something to appease me while I waited on the postman to deliver my goods.

So one thing lead to another, and it didn't take long for me to find WinGate (from Deerfield), the self-proclaimed leader in the Internet connection sharing field. All I can say about WinGate is that I followed the instructions to install the software on the host and client computers, and I couldn't get it to work at all. My host computer had an icon for WinGate in the task tray, and when I clicked it I was yanked into a configuration program so complicated and confusing I had to actually look at the help! (A nerd no-no) I was annoyed immediately.

Next I looked at a sleek little program called InternetShare (from Neelum). I have to admit, I was impressed by InternetShare. The installation was simple. All I had to do was click the Next button a few times on the host and client computers, and they were ready to go. I got online, checked my email, downloaded AOL Instant Messenger and chatted with my girlfriend, while my roommate played Diablo on the host computer. Everything was great.

A day or two later, I received my copy of Windows 98 SE. I immediately installed it so I could try out Microsoft's version of ICS. I was just upgrading from a Windows 98 system, but the installation still took 30 minutes. Once Win 98 SE was completely installed, setting up Internet Connection Sharing was a snap, and it worked just as well as InternetShare.

Now, if you'll remember, back in the first sentence of this article I mentioned talking to my friend about this. After much discussion, we were both wondering what would happen to all those companies who create products such as WinGate and InternetShare once Microsoft gets firmly into the field.

I asked Tom Wikman (Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Neelum, Inc.) what he thought about Microsoft?s foray into the Internet connection sharing field, and how it would affect his company. "If the decision is between a major operating system upgrade vs. a $39.95 software, I believe customers will opt for the latter... [However,] when Win98 has Internet Sharing built-in, it is my belief that the market has approximately 2-3 years of life for us."

So what are companies like Neelum going to do? Create new top-notch products, of course! Wikman continued, "We at Neelum are working on products that enable the seamless integration of the home, small office, and medium office into the Internet. Currently, we are working on 4 products that are stepping stones for Internet Sharing Locations. Today we are a networking company; I can see us becoming a network applications company."

So what?s the final verdict? I wouldn?t recommend WinGate to anyone simply because I couldn't get it to work. If someone has Windows 98, I would suggest upgrading to Win98 SE because it?s only $19.95 for users of Win98 (about $89.95 for Windows 95 users). For Win95 users or people who don't feel like upgrading, I would recommend checking out InternetShare.

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