• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

EmergeCore Networks’ IT-100

Jul 22, 20033 mins
Enterprise Applications

* The Reviewmeister checks out EmergeCore Networks' IT-100

EmergeCore Networks’ IT-100 promises a complete business-technology system – Web hosting, e-mail services, file sharing, firewall and built-in wireless access point and router – in a single box. And the price is right: $1,395.

So the Reviewmeister just had to check it out.

The EmergeCore appliance has some great features – fast performance; quiet, fanless operation; and Web-building tools. But it also has some shortcomings, underdeveloped and shallow management features, poor documentation and help screens, and convoluted administration.

The 14-page Express Setup Guide echoes the installation screens, adds nothing else, and ends before explaining how to add users and mailboxes. An on-screen question-mark icon promises online help, but provides scant explanation below each option. There are no details about your choices or guidelines for making them.

The IT-100 builds domains for both the Internet services (Web and e-mail) and local file-sharing access via Windows network protocols. Defining users requires four screens to do what could be done on one or two. You can connect the IT-100 directly to your WAN (via cable or DSL modem) or to an existing router. When we connected the box to our cable modem, the IT-100 grabbed the network information correctly and automatically initiated network address translation (NAT) to support internal network addresses.

This was the first installation step that delivered on EmergeCore’s promised ease of use. The server administration screen shows an excellent summary of WAN, LAN and wireless traffic reports, and data such as CPU load and disk space. From the summary page you can reach some, but not all, system configuration screens; the rest are reached via a menu.

The IT-100 includes NAT, a firewall, proxy services, and VPN client and server support. Firewall settings consist of off, low, medium and high. That’s it for options, except for a denial list to block entire IP address ranges. The box also includes VPN client and server support geared to remote offices.

The IT-100 can be configured as a proxy server. Although there’s no mention of caching support in the manual, the box caches Web pages. The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol server intelligently separated wired and wireless address pools, and upgrades are a one-click affair. The SpamCop filtering service can be enabled or disabled for the entire e-mail system, but not for individual users.

One can argue the wisdom of putting a public Web site on an internal file server. But at least EmergeCore gives users a good head start on building brochure-ware sites. There are 60 site templates, including stock photos and marketing verbiage for 28 vertical industries.

The components snap together easily. A few include Flash coding that scrolls company name and information across the screen. Customized data, such as the company name, address and years established, weave in and out of the pre-written page content.

EmergeCore IT-100’s performance is strong, and the administrative browser-based tools are attractive and well done. But it doesn’t drill down enough. An Advanced button on every administrative page that provided more management-control levels would make all the difference.

For the full report, go to