Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hardware Review: Level One FBR-1417TX

Home or small office VPN anyone????...before i will try to discuss these new box i have here in the table, you might want to check its key features first.

Key features:

* Integrates with 4 ports Fast Ethernet switch: 10/100Mbps MDI/MDIX auto-sensing
* Provides 10/100Mps WAN interface to connect with DSL or cable modem for broadband Internet access
* Built-in one parallel port and one USB port for printer connection
* Browser-based interface configuration and management: OS independent, easy-to-use for consumer install
* Supports VPN server of IPSec, L2TP and PPTP
* Built-in NAT function: allow multiple PCs and devices to share one Internet connection
* Printer server supports Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP, Macintosh and Unix operation system
* Easy to upgrade: using Web or windows utility to upgrade firmware

Two new box was given to me for VPN test and configuration. Tried to read the manual though..even my colleagues kept saying its very easy. Its best to understand every word in it although we knew the procedure to make it run. Basically, my standard test setup consist of a Zyxel DSLAM connected to the Internet, two DSL CPE representing 2 different subscribers, a laptop and a PC.

VPN Features
Site to Site VPN
Yes its cool, its site to site VPN is very easy to configure, however it's NAT is by default disabled. It took me a day looking for a procedure how to enable it. Their email support is not that really helpful too. I upgrade its firmware, hoping to see the NAT option displayed in the menu. It turn out that the NAT option can only be seen when the WAN side is configured with a Static or Dynamic IP. Since i set it in a PPPoE, NAT option is not displayed. No wonder, our field technicians are having problems.

Built in VPN Server
Tested it and its ok, however number of remote clients who can connect is limited only to 5. But for a 5 branch office, this box is definitely a cheaper and effective alternative. Its PPTP and L2TP are good.

Block sites according to domain and URL. Filter traffic according to port and IP Address. Well, whats cool is the schedule rule, which allows you to set specific time where you can run a specific rule. For example, internet browsing time is only 6pm to 7pm. Then port 80 will be blocked for the whole day and will be open only every 6pm to 7pm. Hmmm, a good one for staff who exploit their VPN connections with downloading of x rated files in the Net.

Have been tinkering with this gadget for a day now....better move on to the next one. Bye dude.

By the way, it is also a built in Printer Server. Printng a document from a PC in Davao to a printer in Cagayan de Oro through VPN is definitely cool huh!

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