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Netscape reworks proxy server

The beta version of a Proxy Server software update from Netscape Communications will be posted on the company's Web site this week.

The beta version of a Proxy Server software update from Netscape Communications (NSCP) will be posted on the company's Web site this week.

The server update includes new filtering capabilities that allow certain protocols to pass through a firewall security setup within a corporation. The filtering capability, added via support for SOCKS version 5.0, will allow companies to deploy a portion of their internal information to third parties that have access rights--a networking feature that has been called an extranet.

A proxy server is designed to boost network performance for intranets by caching copies of Web pages from the Internet at large. Instead of traversing the Net, where traffic jams often slow things to a crawl, users instead can retrieve pages quickly from a local proxy server. Such servers also can block access to verboten Web sites.

The latest update to Netscape's Proxy Server, a component of the company's SuiteSpot server bundle, also includes support for version 3.0 of LDAP (lightweight directory access protocol), a specification that allows communication between disparate operating systems that use a directory as a repository for resources.

The update also employs caching technology that allows users to gain quicker access to internal documents.

The beta version will be available for download at no charge. A final version is expected to roll out in the fourth quarter with a price of $525 for a 50-user license.