Linux has become an industry-acknowledged network operating system, particularly when the subject is Internet and intranet wide-area systems. However, the less-glamorous aspects of enterprise-wide network administration, namely routers and router software, also fall into the domain of Linux. The back-office world of the router is seldom discussed by end users, but it’s tremendously important to the seamless operation of a computer network. Solid, stable router operation makes a network administrator’s life much simpler. One routing software solution for the Linux operating system is called GateD (Gate Daemon), which is currently available from NextHop Technologies, Inc., in Ann Arbor, MI.
GateD is an entire suite of routing software, including IP Multicast, Unicast, and IPv6 protocols. For Multicast protocols, GateD offers Protocol Independent Multicast, Distance Vector Multicast Routing Protocol, and Multicast Source Discovery Protocol. Software available for Unicast protocols includes Intermediate System to Intermediate System, Open Shortest Path First, and Border Gateway Protocol.
The NextHop Web site is clean, concise, and sparse. However, it effectively delivers the key information visitors require. Using a simple navigation technique made up of button bars across the top and along the left side, potential customers can easily find information about the company and its products, as well as an explanation of software technical specifications. The site appears to be designed to help IT professionals make better decisions when it comes to deploying NextHop’s software. Vital technical information is available throughout the site, and marketing hype is kept to a minimum. Because this is Linux software, a public version of the GateD software is available for download, but newer protocols and advanced features are available only in the commercial versions.
Overall, the NextHop Web site is a nice blend of technical information and sales presentation. Network administrators searching for Linux routing software will find the site inviting, especially with technical specifications being just a few clicks away. The site also includes manuals and FAQs, all available for download. The NextHop site is a fine example of the “less is more” philosophy of the Linux community.
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Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.