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Setup is very straightforward. You connect the Mirra appliance to your LAN via its Ethernet port and power it up. When it's ready for action it plays a little tune and you can go ahead and install the client application on one or more WinXP or 2000 computers. You need to enter a license key during each install, but there's no limit on the number of computers you can install the client on.

The trickiest part of the install for me was having the client and the Mirra appliance find each other. The discovery process uses broadcasts on UDP port 19430, which it turns out were being disrupted somehow by my aged, but trusty NETGEAR RT338 ISDN router.

After some head scratching by both Mirra support and myself, I was finally able to work around the problem by connecting the Mirra box and its clients behind another router that I connected to one of the RT338's LAN ports. I was pleased to find that the cascaded routers didn't interfere with any of the Mirra's Internet-based features and that I didn't have to open any router ports either.

Tip TIP: Running WinXP's Internet Connection Firewall or ZoneAlarm on a PC will interfere with its ability to communicate with the Mirra appliance. Fortunately, version 1.1 will detect whether either is in use and guide you through adjusting them so that Mirra can do its thing.

Once the client PC and Mirra box were on speaking terms, I was able to get to the Status page of the client app. (Figure 2).

Mirra status

Figure 2: Mirra status

Though Mirra says you don't have to use its Internet-based Remote Access and File Sharing features (more later), you'll need to activate an account with Mirra in order to get firmware and application updates. This is done by entering your email address in a Mirra client window and responding to a confirmation email you'll receive to complete the process.

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