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LAN & WAN Reviews

Introduction

NETGEAR FVS318G

At a Glance
Product NETGEAR ProSafe 8-Port Gigabit VPN Firewall (FVS318G)
Summary Updated FVS318 w/ Gigabit ports and hardware DMZ port supporting 5 IPsec tunnels
Pros • 8 port Gigabit switch
• Switchable DMZ port
• Bandwidth throttling
• Reasonably priced
Cons • No Jumbo frames
• No VLANs
• Doesn't meet 7 Mbps IPsec tunnel throughput spec.

NETGEAR has finally improved its mainstay FVS318 Firewall / VPN router, in the form of the FVS318G. The 318G has eight Gigabit LAN ports and new hardware DMZ capability.  And it's even smaller than its predecessor, while offering more features.

Physically, the 318G has undergone a few changes.  It measures only 7.5” x 4.9” x 1.4”, while the 318 was 10” x 7.4” x 1.4”.  All ports are now on the front and NETGEAR has gone with a gray metal case on the 318G versus the "business blue" on the 318. (NETGEAR says that "business grey" is the new "business blue" for its SMB products.) The power switch is gone from the back of the 318G, but it still has an external power wall wart. 

The FVS318G at work

Figure 1: The FVS318G at work

Figure 2 below provides a listing of the front indicators.

Front panel indicators

Figure 2: Front panel indicators

Figure 3 shows the spartan back panel.

Rear panel

Figure 3: Rear panel

My test version came with firmware 3.0.5-25, which isn't released yet. So I downgraded it to the latest production firmware 3.0.5-24.  I found the 318G's software very similar to the software on the NETGEAR FVS336G which I reviewed in January 2008. 

The 318G's menu response seemed slower than the 336G's, which  I assume is due to the processor differences between the two routers (more shortly).

The focus of this review will be to look at the 318G's strengths and what is new or different from previous models.  Functionally, the 318G is more similar to the 336G than the FVS318, minus the 336G's dual WAN ports and SSL VPN capability. So I'll be making frequent comparisons between the 318G and 336G.

Internal Details

The photo below shows a Star (now Cavium) STR9102 as the "250 MHz" processor that NETGEAR specs, which is supported by 32 MB of RAM and 8 MB of flash.

NETGEAR FVS318G board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 4: FVS318G board

A Broadcom BCM53118 9-Port GbE Switch with 8 Integrated 10/100/1000 PHYs is hidden under the large heatsink and what appears to be a Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet PHY connected to the single router WAN port is under the smaller heatsink.

The 318G is midway between the 318 and 336G in terms of processor, RAM and flash as shown in Table 1.

Component FVS318 FVS318G FVS336G
Processor Samsung S3C4510 Star (Cavium) STR9102 300 MHz 32-bit RISC
RAM 8 MB 32 MB 64 MB
Flash 2 MB 8 MB 16 MB
Switch Broadcom BCM5317 Broadcom BCM53118 Vitesse?
Table 1: Key component comparison

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