Review of the SMC Barricade™ SMC7004BR
4-port 10/100 Mbps Broadband Router
Last updated: 15 September, 2000

A typical day corresponding with visitors to our Networking and Internet Forum...

jonsam:  'I have 4 computers (and one printer) hooked up in a peer-to-peer network via a hub.  Computer A has Win 98 SE and has two NICs: one to the hub and another to a cable modem.  Computer B is a Win 2000 computer and also has the same setup as above (yes - a second cable modem).  I want Computer C and D to be able to access the internet... to collect email and surf the web.  The cable MODEMs connected to Computer A and B are hooked to the cable, but use independent services.'

lbyard:  'For sure, if it were me, I would:

  1. Eliminate the second cable MODEM.
  2. Not use ICS software.
  3. Buy an SMC Barricade Broadband Router'

'But, you see, that is me, because that is exactly what I have, one cable MODEM, four computers, four network adapters, and a Barricade.  This combination works far better than any other, software and hardware, which I have tested, including SyGate, which is better than [Win 98 SE] ICS.  The real nice thing about it is that none of the other computers have to be on for any one of the others to access the Internet. Just that computer, the Barricade, and the cable MODEM have to be on. Furthermore, for the first time, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) works really well on my network... because the Barricade is the DHCP server and I leave it on all of the time. And, you have a four-port Ethernet switch, a very good printer server, and an interface to an external dial-up MODEM, in case the cable goes down, in the same little bitty box.  For those cable systems that memorize the MAC address of a specific network adapter, the Barricade can beat that system as well.  It can clone an adapter’s MAC address—make itself look like the adapter to the cable MODEM (and company). Finally, the Barricade can be accessed and configured from a password-protected, web browser interface, from any computer on the network. A Barricade is quite inexpensive, considering what it does and how well it does it. I am very(!) impressed with this product ...'

jonsam:  'I had a look at the product and noticed it has 4 ports. Since I have four computers, one printer and a possibility of a fifth laptop connecting in from time to time, this is not enough ports.  Does this mean I need two of these or can I use my regular hubs to connect to this?  I also see that it supports Win98, NT but does not say Win2000. '

lbyard:  'I also have a 5-port switch...  Running a straight-thru cable from one of the ports on the SMC Barricade to the uplink port on the switch works just fine. I would certainly think that Win 2000 would work well... The only router-specific software is the driver for the printer server (that's what I really like about this hardware solution).'

jonsam: 'Does the cable modem hook to the second NIC in the computer or directly to the barricade?  My cable provider requires the account number to be in the Identification box under Computer Name in the Networking properties. If I remove that name or change it, my connection no longer works.  Can the Barricade overcome that?'

lbyard:  'I was able to remove the second adapter from my computer--another big plus.  The cable MODEM is connected to WAN port on the Barricade.  All of the PC's have one network adapter which connect to the Barricade... There is a place to enter a Host name in the Barricade settings. Help on that setting says: "Host Name: optional. Required by some ISPs, e.g. @Home".
In the Appendix in the manual there are specific setups for @Home and MediaOne.  MediaOne instructions tell how to clone the MAC address.
The WAN (Wide Area Network, e.g., the Internet) port is an additional port, not one of four LAN ports. Specifically, ports are: 4 [100/10 Mhz] LAN ports, one WAN port, one printer port, and one serial port for an external MODEM.  The serial port can also be accessed via telnet or connected directly to a PC with a null MODEM cable and accessed with a terminal program, such as the Windows HyperTerminal. These connections can be password protected and communicate directly with the innards of the Barricade. This provides a fall-back in case one mucks-up the network configuration (e.g., forgets the custom IP address of the Barricade) and it can't be accessed via the network...'

jonsam:  'Excellent... that answers my question, as I need a name like C123456-a...'

lbyard:  '... I left out few other minor niceties. The barricade has an on/off switch, it has no fan, it and its AC adapter run cool to the touch, the adapter does not plug directly into the wall and hide outlets, the heavy plastic case is unobtrusive and appears rather rugged [the only thing I would change about the case would be to add some holes, etc. so it could be attached to a wall], and the LEDs are simple and make sense...'

mtstair:  'I just bought the SMC Barricade... for $159 plus they have a $20 rebate through this month...'

lbyard:  "I just ran some quick benchmarks on the Barricade and was pleasantly surprised!  The Barricade was tested with two pairs of computers transferring the Windows cab files to each other at the same time.  While one pair was transferring the windows 98 cabs (about 105 MBytes) the other pair was timed while transferring the original Windows 95 cabs (about 33 MBytes).  The time was 15 seconds for 33 MBytes.  The time to transfer the Win 95 files without the other two computers  transferring data was also 15 seconds.  These results are the same as those obtained for the D-Link DSS-5+ Switch and a generic hub during testing for the review of the D-Link DFE-910 Network in a Box.
Now for the surprising part, the Internet sharing tests...  Today was a good day to download from download.com.  My 500 Mhz K6-2 computer with Win Me clocked in the mid 80's (KBs) through the Barricade to a Surfboard SB2100D cable MODEM with 33 K dial-up uplink.  I added a 350 Mhz K6-2, Win 2000 computer and downloaded to both simultaneously.  Both clocked in the 70's!  I added a third computer, a rather sluggish Compaq Presario with a K6-2 which belongs to a customer.  The Win Me machine clocked about 70 KBs, the Win 2000 clocked in the low 60's, and the Compaq poked along in the high 30's.  I tested the Compaq by itself and it again downloaded in the high 30's, which indicates that the limitation has something to do with the Compaq and not the network, cable, or Barricade.  Finally, I just surfed on the Win Me computer while the Win 2000 and Compaq were downloading at the same time.  The browsing was very fast and smooth; I could not tell that the other two machines were even using the Internet!  This is one fast box when compared to software-based NATs, such as Win 98 SE ICS and SyGate.  My tests of those NATs showed that download speeds were roughly halved when a second computer downloaded simultaneously.  I see now that the bottleneck was not the Internet, cable, or cable MODEM, but rather it was the software-based ICS /NAT.  With these facts in mind, one can certainly appreciate the power of using a hardware switch to interface the 100 Mhz LAN to the 10 Mhz WAN segment."

mtstair:  "I received my SMC Barricade and got it up and running pretty quickly (although I spent some time tweaking around with the features just like any new toy).  I was surprised to find that the Barricade comes with two ethernet cables. There is absolutely no indication of the "free" cables anywhere on the box or on the literature. I shouldn't complain, but I also ordered two ethernet cables along with my order, now I have too many. Anyway, I could have saved another $15 or so.
For those of you looking to buy the SMC Barricade, don't bother to order extra ethernet cables.
<<A good deal just got better>>"


"The Barricade™ is an ideal all-in-one networking solution for home and small business users. This protocol independent multi-functional broadband router is combined with a 4-port 10/100 Mbps dual-speed switch, and incorporates both a built-in print server and an Internet firewall for security against hackers and other unauthorized users.

The Barricade™ provides a WAN port as well as Network Address Translation (NAT), which extends simultaneous Internet access for up to 253 PCs on the LAN. The new broadband router also allows the connection of multiple users to the Internet using a single WAN/IP address. LAN and IP addresses are auto- assigned and easily managed, and the IP routing supports a range of popular applications.

This new device is a complete networking solution for PC or Mac users, and is backed by SMC’s limited lifetime warranty and 24/7 technical support."

• Four 10Base-T/100BaseTX RJ-45 ports
• One 10Base-T Broadband WAN port
• One DB-9 port for PSTN/ISDN connection
• One DB-25 printer port

Internet Sharing Methods
Static IP, Dynamic IP, PPPoE, Dial-up networking


Cabling Type
• 10Base-T: UTP/STP Category 3 or 5
• 100Base-TX: UTP/STP Category 5 or better


WAN router:
• 10 Mbps (10Base-T Ethernet)
• 10 Mbps (10Base-T Ethernet) or
• 100 Mbps (100Base-TX Fast Ethernet)

WAN & LAN ports:
• Power
• Ready/test
• Link
• Activity
LAN ports only
• Partition & collision

Print Server
Supports Win 95/98/NT, UNIX LPR

Configuration & Management
• Web-based
• Win AP monitoring

Maximum Users
NAT: 253 PCs

DHCP server, VPN

• IEEE 802.3
• IEEE 802.3u

FCC Class B

6.4" x 4.0" x 1.1"

1 lb.

Operating Temperature
+5°C to + 55°C
+41°F to +131 °F
10% - 90%

Limited lifetimeReliable

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