With Windows XP well into deployment and more manufacturers starting to beat the drum on how wonderful life is with a UPnP enabled router, I thought I'd see whether UPnP is something that you just won't want to live without in your Internet sharing device. If you're the impatient type and just want the bottom line on what I found, you can get it here.
Notes, Caveats, Warnings!This is my first time doing any serious playing with both WinXP networking and UPnP. Therefore some of my observations may be old news to many readers. I apologize if I repeat what may be common knowledge, or if I've missed something or gotten it wrong. I'll be happy, of course, to update this article with any corrections I receive. I checked with Microsoft, D-Link, and Linksys to see if there were any descriptions of what I should look for during my testing. I received responses from all, but the information was at a marketing "features" and "benefits" level and not at the detailed "User Manual" level that I was hoping for. I also searched through the Windows XP help (which turned out to be more helpful than I thought it would be... once I learned where to look), and hit Google in hopes of finding someone who had already been down this path and could give me some guidance. I didn't have much luck with these sources either.
After checking with my vendor contacts, I found the only UPnP-enabled routers that I could get my hands on right now ("now" being April 2002) were the the Linksys BEFSR41 (with firmware 1.42.3 or higher) and the D-Link DI-804 (with firmware V4.67 or higher). So with routers in hand and Windows XP Home installed on one of my test machines, I set out to see what I could see.
Update 8/2/02 Additional routers that support UPnP are: MultiTech RF550VPN and D-Link's DI-604 [reviewed here] (with 2.0f firmware update).