You're at a hotel, dialing up for e-mail. Your notebook computer starts to choke on a 4-megabyte attachment that you don't need at the moment and which is running your phone bill through the roof.

There's no universal way out of this jam, but if you use Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server for e-mail, you can escape by installing a product called LapLink Enterprise Exchange Accelerator. A creation of Traveling Software Inc. of LapLink fame, it compresses incoming messages for greater speed and, through filtering, lets you pick and choose in advance whether you want to download them at all.

The main chore for you as the user is to set up the filtering properly. You can filter messages by age, size or read/unread status. Filtering for attachments is easy, too. You can download all attachments, download only those below a certain size or never download.

You can filter out meeting requests, too. Even if all attachments are filtered, you can still override and download a particular attachment.

Alas, the filtering could be better--if it were, this would be not just a good program but an indispensable one.

I wish it could filter attachments by sender and by whether I am the sole recipient or merely appear in one of the carbon-copy fields. I also would like it to be able to filter out senders whose names are not in my Outlook address book.

The program requires installing some complex software on the server at the office, and that server must be running Windows NT 4.0 and Microsoft Exchange Server.

The software for the laptops can go out to users as a CD-ROM, floppy disk or self-extracting file. A script file can customize how and where the software is installed and what features are available to each user.

A lot of products make nebulous claims about return on investment. Enterprise Exchange Accelerator achieves it. By reducing connect time, it saves connection charges and frees up remote connections. By reducing the wait, it boosts users' efficiency. And it does it all in an easily administered, small-footprint package.

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Enterprise Exchange Accelerator

Bothell, Washington

Telephone: 1-800-343-8080

Web address: www.laplink.com

Price: $599 server,

$60 for each laptop

Pros:

+ Cuts download times dramatically

+ Very easy to use

Cons:

-- More robust filtering would make it perfect.

Grade: B+

Server: Windows NT Server 4.0 with Service Pack 3, Pentium II processor, 256 megabytes memory, 9 megabytes free space on hard disk, Exchange Server 5.0 or later version.

Client: Windows 95, 98 or NT 4.0, Pentium processor, 16 megabytes memory, 9.5 megabytes free space on hard disk, Outlook 8.02 or Exchange Client 5.0 or later versions, remote connection to Exchange Server.