Late in the review, Lightspeed shipped us a Model 1100 hardware version of IP Magic (a dual-processor Model 2100 is also available). A slim, rack-mountable NT computer with no monitor, keyboard or mouse, the Model 1100 uses Microsoft's Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) interface to accept configurations built with the IP Magic visual design environment. Any Windows-based computer on the network can run the design environment and thus control the appliance' s IP Magic configuration. Downloading the visual design environment to a client computer is a matter of connecting to the Model 1100 appliance via its browser interface. The only minor problem we noted was an occasional DCOM timeout and subsequent disconnection of the visual design environment' s DCOM link to the appliance. However, the IP Magic hardware device performed quickly and with rock-solid reliability in our tests.
Lightspeed bundles varying numbers of IP Magic objects in several collections it sells, and the Total Control for e-Business collection is one of the most complete. Each set of easily configured tools is cost-effective when you contrast it with the expense of buying, training for and setting up multifunction routers or special-purpose network products. We recommend IP Magic to any network administrator who longs to have a set of comprehensive network tools with a single, cohesive user interface.