I wanted to share something that I observed recently on my own PC. I am running Vista Home Premium, it came on my Alienware box. I had some directories shared so I could hit them from some of my other PC’s, and the share names had underscores (_) in them. Well, I recently installed Vista’s SP1 and afterwards, I noticed that my network shares were not working. Hmm, that’s strange. Skip ahead and what I found out was that after the SP1 install, my share names were renamed to the same thing, only without the underscore. Well now, how about that? So I had something like share_name, and then it became sharename without me changing it. Not that big of a deal, but I thought I would share just in case anyone else was having the same troubles.
Also known as, the best little firewall in … well, anywhere! I have been using SmoothWall (the free, open source version) for years. I have used it with modems for dial-up access, as well as with cable and DSL connections. It’s a great product that is robust, feature rich, easy to manage and above all, very secure.
Not familiar with SmoothWall? Read more at http://www.smoothwall.org
I used to run an ISP and the majority of our customer base were dial-up customers. Even now, there are a majority of dial-up users out there still. SmoothWall is a great tool for dial-up users because it is essentially a hardened Linux distribution built solely to be a firewall/router. The IP stack in Linux is more efficient and much faster than Windows, so even on dial-up, you will get a performance boost running SmoothWall, plus the added security of a top notch firewall.
For all of the broadband users out there, you will get a tremendous performance boost when comparing it to the White Box store Linksys products. I am not knocking Linksys or anything like that, but in my own tests, I got almost double the throughput from my SmoothWall box versus my Linksys router. Plus, the SmoothWall box has loads more features and version 3 has even more piled on.
With built in features like this:
- Bandwidth usage graphs
- Transparent caching proxy server
- VPN support
- Anti-virus scanning of incoming pop3 email
- Dynamic and static DNS support
- QoS and more
There are really tons more features than I can list here, the ones listed above are just some highlights. Best of all, this wonderful product is free. Yep, that’s right, free. They do have commercial versions if you have a need for that, but they still maintain the open source GPL release that is absolutely free. So, all you have to invest is the cost of an old low powered pc that has been laying around the house anyway! 🙂 I very highly recommend you check it out if you have a need for a good firewall product.