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NETGEAR FVS336G Reviewed: VPN Your Way

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Introduction

NETGEAR FVS336

At a Glance
Product NETGEAR ProSafe Dual WAN Gigabit Firewall (FVS336G)
Summary Dual Gigabit WAN IPSec and SSL gateway router supporting 25 IPSec & 10 SSL concurrent tunnels with 4-port Gigabit switch
Pros • SSL VPN Support
• Gigabit WAN and LAN ports
• Dual WAN
• Internal Power Supply
Cons • Dynamic DNS slow to update
• Only 1 IPsec client license included
• No DMZ functionality (future release)

At the conclusion of my review on Linksys' RVL200 last month, unaware of this upcoming product, I wrote that "an SSL VPN router with gigabit LAN ports, dual WAN connections and multiple Gateway-to-Gateway tunnel capacity would be a very cool product."

Well, I feel like I just got a belated answer to a Christmas wish! NETGEAR has just released the FVS336G, a new product for small networks, with a compelling combination of features and capabilities. Primarily, I'm talking about SSL VPN capability and six ports (two WAN and four LAN) of gigabit goodness! Let's see if the FVS336G is that shiny new bike under the tree or a lump of coal, shall we?

Physically, the FVS336G is a compact 10" wide, 7" deep, and 1.5" high, with an On/Off switch on the back and no external power brick. It's a little bigger than other 4-port routers, but I like the fact that the power supply is internal. This makes for a neat installation and eliminates the hassle of bulky power bricks.

NETGEAR dressed it up in their business blue metal, with indicator lights for power, WAN, and LAN Port status. The FVS336G also gets NETGEAR's new look menus recently introduced in the FVX538.

To get a better look at both the insides and some of the menu pages, take a look at our slide show. Figure 1 shows the front panel and port indicators, and Figure 2 provides a look at the back panel of the FVS336G.

Front panel
Click to enlarge image

Figure 1: Front panel and port indicators

Rear panel
Click to enlarge image

Figure 2: Rear panel

There are quite a few options for the network administrator to configure to optimize the FVS336G, and for the most part, they are relatively intuitive. Table 1 below provides a matrix of the main and submenus,with each submenu containing one or more tabbed configuration pages. 

MAIN SUBMENUS
Network WAN Protocol Dyn DNS LAN Routing  
Security Services Schedule Block Sites Rules MAC Filter Port Triggering
VPN IPSec SSL Certificates Status    
Users Users Groups Domains      
Admin Remote Mgt SNMP Backup and Update Time    
Monitoring Router Status Active Users Traffic Meter Diagnostics Firewall Logs VPN Logs
Web Support Overview Knowledge base Documentation      
Table 1: FVS336G menu matrix

The bulk of the FVS336G's configurations are accessed via the Network, Security, and VPN Menus, which will be the focus of this review. Let's dive into the VPN capabilities first.




Related Items:

Netgear announces dual-WAN SSL / IPsec gateway
Slideshow: Netgear FVS336G ProSafe Dual WAN Gigabit Firewall
An Old Standby Reborn: NETGEAR FVS318G Reviewed
NETGEAR FVX538 ProSafe VPN Firewall 200 Review: Strong Promise, Disapp
NETGEAR FVS318N ProSafe Wireless-N 8-port Gigabit VPN Firewall Reviewe

User reviews

Average user rating from: 3 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

User Rating    [Back to Top]
Overall: 
 
3.2 Features :
 
3.0 Performance :
 
3.7 Reliability :
 
3.0
 
Ratings (the higher the better)
Features*
 
Performance*
 
Reliability*
 
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Windows 7 64bit SSL VPN Support

Overall rating: 
 
4.3
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by Chad
September 20, 2012
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These routers do support SSL VPN with WIndows 7 64 bit. I don't recall the exact date, but I know I've used them with Windows 7 prior to December 2011. I don't remember where I found these details, but here's how to make it work:

- Check the firmware version in the unit to ensure it supports Windows 7, if not update firmware to one that does.

- Install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Redistributable Package (x64) on machines that you wish to use SSL VPN. http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=21254

- Use the 64 bit Version of Internet Explorer

- Add the URL to trusted sites of Internet Explorer, and set the trusted sites security level to Low in order to allow the Active X Control that gets download to install. ( I think you can move this setting back up after it installs the first time )

 

VPN DOES NOT SUPPORT 64 BIT WINDOWS

Overall rating: 
 
1.0
Features:
 
1.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by mike
December 16, 2011
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Additionally the shipped vpn software only has 1 license, so it cannot be used on more tha one comptuer, and it does not support 64 bit vista or win7 at all. Nowhere does Netgear specify this, and anyone pointing this out on the forums gets their thread locked and ignored.

Do not buy this thing if you are planning on using VPN.

 

Easy setup, but some minor annoyances

Overall rating: 
 
4.3
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by Jake McDermott
September 19, 2011
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This gateway was very easy to set up - very little configuration needed, and it certainly had more horsepower than the consumer grade gateway I had. Configuring the VPN, once I figured out how to set one up for iPhone/iPad was relatively straightforwards.

However, as of 9/19/2011, there is an issue with the gateway where, if you disconnect your VPN session, memory of that VPN session is kept behind for ~5 minutes. If you try to reconnect your session during that window, you will reconnect, but be unable to pass traffic. This isn't so bad for laptop users who typically have large windows of time in between disconnect/reconnect, but with the iOS devices, the screen lock will disconnect your VPN session, making this very annoying. I've submitted a feature request to Netgear.

Additionally, the bandwidth Metering is nice, but could use some more fleshing out in the reports it gives.

Rackmount hardware would have been a nice option, since this is NetGear's business line. (Blue/Gray box!)

The v2 version does not have the integrated power supply(one more wall-wart to install -boo!), and has the ports up front instead (yay!). - be careful of this when ordering off Amazon - you will be sent the v2.