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Written by Carl 'lowlight' Nelson [07.14.00]
Manufactured by: ZyXEL, Umax, Netgear, Linksys, and D-Link
Suggested Retail Price Price: Varies - $100-200
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Umax UGate 3000 (or 3K)

Probably the 'coolest' looking Router of the shootout, the Umax is also the only one with a built in 4 port switching hub.  This means that you do not need a hub or crossover cables, and you can maintain a 100 mb network (you can with the others as well, but a 10/100 mb hub is about twice the price of a straight 10mb).

With a price of around $200 (on IBuyer, of course), this router is twice the price of those with no switches.  I included this unit in the review to see if the extra cost of a 4 port router is worthwhile

1. Ease of Installation

The UGate 3000 offers browser configuration, which is nice.  By now, you should know exactly how to set these things up; they are all basically the same.  Here's a pic of the main setup page:

There are a ton of setup features with the UGate 3000, and to access them, you won't need to Telnet or connect via a serial cable; everything is in the browser configuration for you.

This product offers a neat feature: Dynamic DNS.  Using Umax's dynamic DNS servers, you can assign a DNS name to your router (essentially your PC, since you can run Virtual Servers).  This only works with their DNS service, so you only get to choose from *.ugate.net  Still, that is a cool feature to have.  Want to run a small site on your machine? Just tell your friends to hit http://yourname.ugate.net and they're there! This also works with FTP servers, game servers, anything!

2. Value

Like the Linksys, you don't get much in the package besides the unit, a manual, and an AC adapter.  Oh well, since all your settings can be done in the browser, there's no need for a serial cable, and since a switch hub is built in, there is no need for a crossover cable, or even a straight-through.  Just plug your PC's directly into the ports (it is always assumed that you have at least 1 cable for each PC).

This brings me to the main advantage of a 4 port router; no need to buy a hub.  Sure, you can get one for $40 or so, but you'd be limiting yourself to a 10 mb network. 

The thing is, 10/100 hubs retail for around $70, so in essence, buying a $100~ router and a 100 mb hub would still cost less than the Umax.  All in all, not exactly the best value here... The Umax did offer some cool features that the cheaper 1 port hubs didn't though.

Want to see the full picture? Click for higher resolution.

3. Virtual Server Setup

Again, the typical Virtual Server Setup screen... Note that they also list the common ports for your reference.

Note that there is no IP browser function (hey, this is only meant to be a 4 port router!).  A port selecting drop box would have been preferable to a simple list.

4. Flash Upgrading

The Umax introduced to us a new way of upgrading the firmware.  No software is needed, no serial cable is needed.  Just download the firmware file, click on 'update firmware' from the browser config, find the file, and click 'upgrade'.  It's VERY simple, and VERY nice.  Here's a pic for the slower folks out there:

5. Taste Test

  • Ease of Installation: B Browser configuration, and you don't even need a hub.
  • Value: C- Being the only 4 port router in this review, you'd expect it to be a bit more costly than the others.  However, you'd save some money buying a 1 port router and a 100 mb hub (or even 10 mb, which is all you need for net access).  No cables are included.
  • Virtual Server Setup: B Decent setup, with a list of common ports.
  • Flash Upgrading: A All you need is the file! Flash it from your browser, now that is AWESOME!

An interesting note: This unit uses a 3 amp power supply.  After a couple hours of operation, it gets VERY hot.  I would highly suggest placing it in a well ventilated area.  None of the other units had heat issues of any sort.

Overall: C+ / 70%

All these images can be clicked on for a high- res version!


Next: ZyXEL Prestige 310

Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: D-Link DI-701
Page 3: Linksys BEFSR11
Page 4: Netgear RT-311
Page 5: Umax Ugate 3000
Page 6: ZyXEL Prestige 310
Page 7: Conclusions

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