Wingate is a product that allows people on a small home network or a larger business network to share and control access to the Internet through a single computer connection. The Wingate program can be installed in a computer hooked up to the Internet with a dial-up, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable modem, or dedicated T-carrier system connection. The computer with Wingate acts as a proxy server and firewall for the computer users inside the home or business. All users share a common Internet connection through one computer, which does not have to be dedicated to its gateway role. Wingate requires that all computers use a Windows 95 or later operating system and include TCP/IP.
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Wingate has a server component and a client component. The server component is installed on the computer that has the Internet connection capability. The client component is installed on the other computers in the network. The server component then routes all Internet requests from the other computers through the Internet connection. Wingate allows users to connect or disconnect to the Internet using their own computers.
The firewall component in Wingate prevents outsiders from accessing network computers. When Wingate receives a request for access into the local network, it compares the IP address of the computer requesting access with a list of those eligible. If the IP address is not recognized, the request is denied. Wingate also uses TCP port binding as a method of controlling access.
Network administrators can assign access rights to individuals or groups. For example, in a home network in which children use the Internet, a parent can prohibit access to sites that are not suitable. A history also keeps track of the Web sites visited, time spent online, and other information of each individual. This helps the administrator determine whether an individual is abusing his access rights. Wingate also provides Web page caching.