J. River’s ICE series of products is well know to long-time Unix users. Their latest product, ICE.TCP Pro, is a 32-bit suite of TCP/IP applications for Windows machines. ICE.TCP Pro is designed to enhance connectivity to Unix servers. ICE.TCP Pro is different from most other TCP/IP suites in that it offers a network installation option that allows Windows clients to download or access the ICE.TCP Pro application from a Windows server. ICE.TCP Pro can even set up a Windows client for TCP/IP without involving the user in anything complicated.

We tested ICE.TCP Pro on an ALR Revolution 2XL system running Windows NT 4.0 Server on a dedicated network with eight Windows 95 clients and one SCO OpenServer server. Since our ICE.TCP Pro license only allowed five clients, we didn’t test on all the machines in the full network. The ICE.TCP Pro software is supplied on CD-ROM with separate installation routines for the Windows server and Windows clients. A license number must be obtained from the company, either through their Web page and subsequent e-mail (fast) or through fax response (slower). Installation uses standard setup wizards and takes only a couple of minutes. The documentation supplied with ICE.TCP Pro is short but well written.

The TCP applications included with ICE.TCP Pro are as expected. Telnet Pro is a terminal emulator with a reasonably wide emulation capability. A neat feature is the ability to highlight a word or phrase in a window and launch a connection to it. This works well for URLs displayed without hypertext links. Macros are supported, as is automatic login. FTP Pro is the ICE.TCP Pro FTP client, using a simple point-and-click browser. ICE.TCP Pro includes printing to any LPD/LPR devices from Windows, which allows routing of print requests to Unix-controlled printers. A network toolbox leads to standard utilities like Ping, Traceroute, and finger. Both 32 bit and 16 bit applications are included of all the tools, although there are some minor differences with some of them.

A couple of features stand out in ICE.TCP Pro. The first is already mentioned: network installation. If you rely on an application server in your environment, you can place all the ICE.TCP Pro file there and allow network users to download from there with automatic installs. Even better, you can manage the installation from the server, simplifying deployment to large numbers of clients. ICE.TCP Pro also includes an API which allows programmers to embed ICE.TCP Pro applications or functions in other tools. The API is OLE-based, and uses Active-X controls. For more advanced application development, this is an attractive feature, again especially for large networks.

Is ICE.TCP Pro yet another TCP application client suite? Yes and no. It certainly has all the tools and applications you’d expect to install on a Windows client. As such, they are as solid and handy as those in other suites we’ve tested. Where ICE.TCP Pro distinguishes itself is in the added abilities such as network installation and API. For those features alone, a larger corporation will find ICE.TCP Pro preferable to most other suites on the market. What about smaller networks? ICE.TCP Pro works just fine, and it is competitively priced.