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===========================================================================
                             REVIEW: ENVOY 2.0
   Addison Laurent                         addison@jobe.shell.portal.com
===========================================================================

Manufacturer:
Intangible Assets Manufacturing
828 Ormond Avenue
Drexel Hill, PA  19026-2604
USA

(610) 853 4406
fax: (610) 853 3733

http://www.iam.com/iam
info@iam.com

List Price:
$59.95 USD

Requirements:
AmigaOS 2.04+
1 megabyte RAM (ordering information lists 512k as required)
300k megabytes hard drive space on at least 1 machine
Sana-II network drivers 
Network Hardware (Ethernet, Arcnet, AmigaLink) 
    (from cursory examination, it should be possible to use Parnet or
    Sernet with a Sana-II driver, but the manual discourages such use)

Tested Setup:
3000T-040, 10M RAM
    Commodore 2065 Ethernet Board
3000-16, 2M RAM
    ASDG Lan Rover Ethernet Board
10 base 2 (Thinnet, Cheapernet, Co-ax) connection between the two

Summary:
I like Envoy.  A lot.  I recommend it to anyone with multiple Amigas
wishing to network them.  With Arcnet boards now around $60 or so, you can
build a quite usable network for not much money.

Envoy is simple to use, easy to install, and easy to use and maintain.

The only real problems lie in the lack of documentation, especially when a
problem occurs.  Envoy's requestors or error messages are usually vague as
to what the problem is, and do not help track it down.

[IAM does provide unlimited e-mail and fax technical support. -Jason]

I spent 30 minutes installing it - about 25 of those tracking down getting
the ASDG card to work.  After I got the proper SANA-II driver installed, it
installed on both machines in about 3 minutes each.

Its one of the nicest peer to peer networks I've used.

Review:
Envoy 2.0 is the new release of Envoy, Commodore's peer to peer networking
package.

It uses TCP/IP packets as its networking protocol, and allows for remote
volumes to be mounted and remote printers used (not tested, as my printers
are currently out of order)

It is a very simple product to install and use.  In fact, the only problems
I have with it result from its simplicity.

The install of Envoy takes almost no time.  Installation, using the
Commodore Installer, walks the user through the choices that the user must
make, and the possible values.  I did have the install halt on me several
times when set on "intermediate" level of complexity, it complained of not
being able to find a file or directory.  I did not have this problem on
"expert" level.

The install asks whether you want a simple or a complex network set up. 
Since Envoy uses TCP/IP, special steps have to be taken if the machine is
hooked into the Internet.  Also, if the installation is part of a large
Local Area Network, or a Wide Area Network, other information needs to be
known.  But in such cases, there should be people available with that
information, if they are not doing the installations themselves.  I would
predict that most users will use the simple network setting, and just use
it for a small LAN.

You have to give each machine a unique ID on the network, (Envoy does not
check possible values of machines already installed).  After the install is
completed, users and exports must be set up on each machine.

Users on each machine must be set up, with passwords if desired, and they
can be assigned into groups.  These groups can then be assigned security
and other privileges as a whole. 

The directories that are desired to be shared must be "exported" on each
machine. 

Once all the users have been set up, assigned into groups if desired,
volumes or directories have been exported, and users security set to allow
them access or deny them, the Install is completed.

The tools to do this are again, very simple and basic.  These can be
changed at about any time (although the manual suggest a reboot after
configuration information is changed, just to be on the safe side), but I
had no problem adding and removing volumes and directories from the export
list.

When I rebooted each machine when the other was connected - the volumes
that had been exported re-connected with no problem.  When one machine was
turned off, and one of the volumes on the machine that was off was
accessed, it took about 5 minutes before Envoy finally decided the host was
unreachable.  It did not check the other volumes on that host, or dismount
the one that couldn't be used.

I would prefer to see that be a little more intelligent - give the user the
choice of waiting (in case they know that server will be back) or
disconnect from that totally, and not have Envoy wait for so long trying
for a connection.

I did experience a few problems.  My 3000-16 with 2 megs of RAM, ran out of
memory on several occasions when used as a server.  The manual states that
1 meg is required, but with this SuperKickstarted 3000 - a little over 1
free was not enough once several of its volumes were mounted.  The answer
to this is of course, more memory, but Envoy did not give a useful warning
or failure message.  On the other machine, it just told me the connection
had failed - and no description of why. 

This should not be a problem in most cases - the server should be equipped
with plenty of memory, but if it is being used for some programs, and
memory runs low - Envoy does not seem to warn the user of possible
problems.  A warning message to the effect that "Not enough memory on
server to export volume" would have saved me a lot of trouble, trying to
find why that volume wouldn't export.

Envoy's diagnostic tools are non-existent.  One may want to install AmiTCP
just to have the ping utility handy to test connections.  This was a
problem with a friend who called me unable to get Envoy to work.  It turned
out one of his 2065's was jumpered to use 10baseT, but we spend a long time
checking out Envoy installation, the cabling, etc.

But, my complaints are minor, especially with the ease at which you can
network your Amigas together now.  If development of Envoy continues, I see
no reason why it could not become a excellent peer to peer example for
other platforms to envy. 

(try running Windows for Workgroups in 1 meg on a 386sx16) :)