RE: Portmaster 3 vs. USR Total Control

Jeff Tuttle ( )
Sat, 5 Apr 1997 18:22:28 -0600

Greetings everyone...

I'm new to the list and let me start by saying hello.

I have been going head to head with USR & Livingston in an attempt to =
identify a solution for today's and tomorrows needs.

I was SHOCKED when I learned of the USR's price per port and accused =
them of trying to corner the market by breaking even with their desktop =
modems (my how the prices have dropped); and proliferating the market =
with these modems in an attempt to force the ISP's to pay inflated =
prices for the backend to support X2. I told the ISP rep at USR that =
they would be dropping prices real soon because nobody (intelligent) =
would spend $400 to $500 per post to support analog callers when ISDN =
and DSL technology is looming in the wings. They laughed at me.

Well, 3 days later I received an email regarding a special promotion of =
$299 per port on a "Better Get It Now" deal that included the OLD USR =
chassis. Hmmm... very interesting. Please don't misunderstand me, USR =
makes an excellent analog modem chipset. But when they try and force a =
proprietary standard and a 300% price increase, I get a little =

Besides in a few months X2 will probably mean as much as V.Fast =
technology did a few years ago.

The PM3 has been identified as the short and long term solution for our =
organization. I can reflect on the checklist below and concur with your =

If anybody wants a copy of the "USR's Special Promotion", send me an =
email offline and I'll forward you.


From: Peter A. Sang []
Sent: Saturday, April 05, 1997 8:58 AM
To: ''
Subject: RE: Portmaster 3 vs. USR Total Control


I've made this very choice 4 month ago and own a Linvingston PM3 now.

Although I don't want to start a big thread with this, I'll give you
some facts from my _personal_ point of view.

We started our busines with a Cisco4700 w/ PRI module, but had to switch
because we needed support for analog callers as well. Our requirements

Network Access Server (NAS) for ISDN users+Routers,
Radius-compatibility, modem/analog cards for some Customers still using
Modems, telco connection with PRI/E1 (european version of T1, but 30
channels :)

Very common requirements, of course, and several products
(PM3/TC/Ascend/Cisco/.....) meet them.

You already made the first (and IMO right) decision: if you want to have
good&stable analog support, you'll need _real_ digital modems (DSP-based
instead of data pumps) that are only available with PM3 or TC.

Let's come to the choice between TC and PM3. Out of my head, my
checklist was:

+ very modular rack system, variety of modems/digital modules and also
plug-in WWW-Server available
+ lots of coloured LEDs on the front (BTW: looks simply great in a dark
+ several advanced routing protocols supported
+ Radius (with proprietary extensions (may cause problems))
+ supports Microsoft PPTP
+ support for 56k/2 Modem connections (note: proprietary USR standard)
- unfriendly price :( (extreme modularity is always expensive- if
you really need it, OK. )

-> great product, can be configured to do almost everything, BUT simply
overkill for our demand

+ much smaller than TC (19"/2HE instead of 4HE)
+ Radius-Support (Livingston 'invented' the Radius protocol)
+ very reasonable price + ISP deals
- No control LEDs at all at the front, even the power LED is on the back
- not modular, only 1-6 Modem cards can be added (other extensions are
planned), support for one or two T1/E1 must be chosen at purchase time,
upgrade requires exchange of the device.
- supports 'only' 33.6K Modem now (Livingston will support K56Flex
(supposed to be the new standard) in Q2/97)

-> simply a digital NAS without bells and whistles, but that's what I
was looking for :)

My experiences:
Unpack, plug and play -> Works! (config is trivial)
The first PM3 had stability problems, Livingston support logged several
time into my system and exchanged the device promptly when they found
nothing obvious. The replacement is now up for 90 days, no problems at
all. No dropped connections, no crashes - just working :)

That's all I can tell you, good luck with your decision.
cu, Peter

Mit freundlichem Gru=DF,
Best regards,

Peter A. Sang
SANG Computersysteme GmbH * Kruppstr. 82-100 * 45145 Essen * Germany
T: +49-201-82020-0 * F:-40 * *
* Microsoft Solution Provider * Intel Systems Integrator *

>-----Original Message-----
>From: System Administator []
>Sent: Saturday, April 05, 1997 3:02 AM
>Subject: Portmaster 3 vs. USR Total Control
>For those of you who have made this choice and are using a portmaster 3
>or USR Total Control, what made you make your decision?
>The products seem to do the same job, yet the Portmaster is
>significantly less expensive. Why? Marketing overhead? Hype?
>Do any of you have any horror stories re: either product?
>Please let me know.
>Mike McCarn
> ----------------------------------------------------------
> NTISP Mailing List

NTISP Mailing List