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Review of the SMC Barricade™ SMC7004BR
4-port 10/100 Mbps Broadband Router
Last updated: 9/2/01

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>>"


9/2/01 Update.  On 8/21/01 our cable system was upgraded to 2-way operation.  You can read about our experience with the Barricade in a 2-way cable system here.



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