Product Information

AEP SureWare A-Gate AG-50

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September 01, 2003
Vendor:

AEP Systems

Product:

AEP SureWare A-Gate AG-50 (VPN group test)

Website:

http://www.aepsystems.com

Price

$5,000

RATING BREAKDOWN

  • Features:
    starstarstarstar
  • Ease of Use:
    starstarstarstar
  • Performance:
    starstarstarstarstar
  • Documentation:
    starstarstar
  • Support:
    starstarstarstar
  • Value for Money:
    starstarstarstar
  • Overall Rating:
    starstarstarstar

QUICK READ

  • Strengths:

    Small size. Easy to set up access to internal web server.

  • Weaknesses:

    Terminal service sessions were difficult to set up, no thanks to incomprehensible instructions.

  • Verdict:

    Needs further refinement to the documentation to get the most out of this product.

This box is one of the smallest in this Group Test but it managed to punch above its weight. It has most of the features that the bigger boxes have, but for a smaller price tag - good news for any business on a tight budget.

The SureWare A-Gate also features support for Microsoft's remote desktop protocol (RDP) via its A-Gate Anywhere service. This feature allows remote users to access terminal services sessions on internal servers.

Setting up the tiny box was simple to accomplish. The power lead went in the back and a network cable connected to the LAN port on the front of the box. A serial lead also went in the front to do some of the initial configuration via a command line interface. This process involved entering information such as LAN IP address settings, DNS server entries, and time and date settings.

Once that had been accomplished, a web browser could sort out some other bits. This is where things got a little more complicated, as not everything could be configured via the browser. Brower-configurable settings included security certificates and keys, and adding internal web servers that remote users could access. But setting up terminal service sessions meant going back to the CLI.

That aside, setting up the internal web servers to be viewed securely via the VPN box was simplicity itself, as it was just a case of adding in IP addresses and clicking on a few buttons. Accessing the web-enabled applications, such as Outlook Web Access, was transparent enough, and another web server page could be set up as a portal to all other web servers. This would be the best course of action to follow since some users might get stuck navigating around your internal systems without a few pointers to help them.

Setting up a terminal services session was troublesome and unfortunately the documentation did not provide a comprehensive guide as to how a user could accomplish this properly, so we were not able to see how it worked. The guide seemed to stop halfway through setting the session up, so we were not able to test it.

This tiny little box in the end is a bit of a mixture - it's good in parts. Setting up access to internal web servers was really easy, while other parts left us in the lurch trying to figure out what to do. But better documentation would certainly improve the user experience.

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