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The most daunting part of upgrading to Windows Vista may be trying to figure out where in the layers of menus the networking and file-sharing options are hidden.

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It's no big secret that the products that many name-brand companies sell are actually designed and produced by lesser-known "OEM" companies.  Taiwan seems to be home to many of these companies, particularly in the low-cost router business. 

Helpful reader Stephan Lavoie reports that the OEM for the SMC Barricade router appears to be AMIT.  And since the Asante FriendlyNET and Barricade use the same firmware, it's a good guess that AMIT sources the Asante unit also. Other companies who source product from AMIT include GVC Canada, D-Link, 3Com (their Home Ethernet and Home Wireless Gateways), and now U.S. Robotics (their Model 8000 Broadband Router)

If you're adventurous, the AMIT model # is Hip-400E and you can try out the FAX driver software on this page (FAXDRV_9X.ZIP or FAXDRV_NT.ZIP) that lets you use send faxes via the router's COM port (assuming you have a dialup modem attached there!).  

Reader Robert Zellers reports bad news for potential users of the FAX feature: 
To use the fax driver, you must go into the router and switch from using the cable to using the serial modem and then switch back after the fax. They said that there MAY someday be a firmware upgrade that would allow using both concurrently.

2/2/01 Reader Joe Magri reports mixed news from AMIT for potential users of the FAX feature: 
Firmware 1.90 and above no longer supports the Fax feature.

2) Firmware 1.88 (download from AMIT site here) supports simultaneous use of the Ethernet WAN port for Internet connection and COM port for Fax.

You might also find more recent firmware there than is posted by either SMC or Asante on the AMIT site.  

Be careful!  Readers have reported that both D-Link and Asante have added a software lock-out that prevents you from loading their firmware back into the routers once you've loaded firmware from another manufacturer!

Finally, don't be a weenie and go complaining to a manufacturer if you break something while fooling around with firmware that doesn't come from them! Earthweb HardwareCentral earthwebdeveloper CrossNodes Datamation

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