A True Firewall at a Bargain Price

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2002-05-27

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.

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