A True Firewall at a Bargain Price

 
 
By John Taschek  |  Posted 2002-05-27 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Consumers and small businesses have long been given short shrift when it comes to network security. Certainly, businesses with a couple of dozen employees can purchase enterprise-class security devices, but they'd be overspending on the infrastructure.

Consumers and small businesses have long been given short shrift when it comes to network security. Certainly, businesses with a couple of dozen employees can purchase enterprise-class security devices, but theyd be overspending on the infrastructure. Conversely, they could purchase the infrastructure they need, but they would miss out on the security.

Netgear is changing that, bringing low-cost security features into its SOHO router line. The $149 FVS318 ProSafe VPN Firewall is an eight-port, cable/ DSL router that includes a true stateful packet inspection firewall and support for multiple VPN tunnels. These capabilities are not new to network devices, but Netgears ability to bundle relevant security features and target the FVS318 at the SOHO market make this router a must-buy.

Netgear makes it ridiculously easy to set up the firewall—so easy that it verges on cloying. A CD almost begged me to walk through the configuration options in a step-by-step fashion, until I yanked out the CD and guessed at the appropriate internal IP address so I could configure the FVS318 the way real IT administrators work.

Once I accessed the configuration options (see screen), the FVS318 was easy to set up, and it worked perfectly on my DSL network. The FVS318s firewall capabilities are a welcome addition, but the true differentiator at this price point is support for multiple VPN tunnels. These tunnels allow home users to set up a single tunnel to access work, while keeping children in the home office off the corporate network, for example.

The FVS318 will face stiff competition in coming months as companies such as SMC offer competitive products. However, Netgears reliability and the products ease of use make the FVS-318 a good fit for any small office.

 
 
 
 
As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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