capsule review

Qube 3

Unless you're a large business, setting up a proper commercial Internet presence can be a drag. To help you get connected, Cobalt Networks, a division of Sun Microsystems, offers the Qube 3, an all-in-one server that lets you easily establish a live Internet presence with loads of bells and whistles. As further assistance, Cobalt provides excellent online support, automatic update notification, and remote software installation.

Sleek Blue Cube

The Qube 3 comes with a 300MHz processor, 32MB of RAM, a 10GB hard disk, and a couple of 10/100 Ethernet ports. You can use the unit with cable or DSL Internet connections, or with a dial-up modem and the built-in serial port. An LCD shows server status; a small keyboard lets you enter initial configuration commands; and a PCI slot and SCSI port allow for expansion. (The Business and Professional editions have more memory and disk space, and the Professional also features a 450MHz processor and RAID-1 support.) Nearly every aspect of the Qube 3 is finely tuned to be both powerful and easy to use.

Setup is simple -- just power up the Qube, type in a couple of IP values, and connect the box to your LAN. You finish configuring the Qube 3 with a Web browser, setting the server's domain name, activating DNS and e-mail, and establishing accounts for each of your users. You can run the server as an adjunct to an existing Internet connection or as a primary Internet gateway; it has a sophisticated firewall, NAT, and DHCP to simplify network administration. The unit supports the PPP-over-Ethernet (PPPOE) standard, which some DSL and cable broadband providers require. And the Qube works with either static IP addresses or dynamic ones provided by your ISP (which lets you put an entire office online with a single IP address).

Individual users on your network get private file space, a preconfigured Web site for sharing files on your intranet or the Internet, and a Web-based mail client with an address book. The only software that users need to access these features is a Web browser and ordinary PC or Mac file sharing.

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