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Security Reviews

Feature Tour

When I reviewed the FVS318G, I ended saying “I must say again that NETGEAR missed an opportunity to make this product really outstanding on the LAN side.  The 318G has 8 Gigabit LAN ports, so why not support jumbo frames and VLANs?”

It appears NETGEAR responded to my plea and the FVS318N supports both jumbo frames and VLANs!  Obviously, these were the first two things I wanted to test.

Jumbo frames are enabled in the security menu, as shown in Figure 5.  NETGEAR reports that the FVS318N will support up to 9720 byte frames.  Interestingly, even without enabling jumbo frames, I noticed I could pass 1954 byte frames, which are technically jumbo frames.  (For more details on jumbo frames, check out this article.)

Jumbo frame enable

Figure 5: Jumbo frame enable

I tested jumbo frames on the FVS318N with a PC and NAS that I have used to test jumbo frames on multiple devices.  My test is simply sending pings of various frame sizes.  On a Windows PC from the command line, type ping -f -l (frame size) (ip address), to send a ping with different frame sizes.  For example, ping -f -l 2000 192.168.1.101 to send a 2000 byte frame to a device with the 192.168.1.101 address.

My initial tests of jumbo frames on the FVS318N failed, so I contacted NETGEAR to report my findings.  NETGEAR engineering replied that jumbo frames on the FVS318N are only supported on ports 1-4.  Silly me, I was using ports 6-7!

Using ports between 1 and 4 did allow jumbo frames, as shown in Figure 5. I was able to ping between my devices with frames up to 4046 bytes, which is my PC's limit. 

Jumbo frame ping test

Figure 6: Jumbo frame ping gest

It's good to see the enhancement of jumbo frame support to the LAN of the FVS318 series, but disappointing that only half the ports have the feature.  According to NETGEAR, the chipset used on the device is the limitation.

VLAN

New to the FVS318 is support for VLANs.  With 8 LAN ports, having the ability to separate connected hosts into different subnets is useful. 

Each LAN port on the FVS318N can be assigned to one or more VLANs.  By default, all ports are members of the default VLAN, which is VLAN 1.  All traffic on the default VLAN is untagged.  Ports on the FVS318N can be assigned to different default VLANs.

VLANs numbered 2-4093 can be created, but only 64 simultaneous VLANs can be configured at one time.  A separate DHCP server can be enabled for each VLAN. 

The manual states the FVS318N supports port based VLANs, yet it also supports VLAN trunking and tagging.  If a port is assigned to two or more VLANs, that port performs as an 802.1q VLAN trunk, tagging all traffic except traffic on the port's default VLAN.

I tested this function by creating VLAN 22 and making port 5 a member of VLAN 22.  Port 5's default VLAN remained VLAN 1.  I enabled the DHCP server on VLAN 22 of the FVS318N with the 192.168.22.0/24 subnet.

I then connected port 5 on the FVS318N to port 5 on a NETGEAR GS108T switch configured for 802.1q VLAN tagging.  I set port 5 on the NETGEAR GS108T to be an untagged member of VLAN 1 and a tagged member of VLAN 22.  I then set port 6 of the GS108T to be an untagged member of VLAN 22. 

With this configuration, a PC connected to port 6 of the GS108T received an IP address from VLAN 22, validating the FVS318N's ability to trunk and tag.  Figure 7 is a screen shot of my VLAN configuration on the FVS318N.

VLAN configuration

Figure 7: VLAN configuration

WLAN

Another update to the FVS318 series is the addition of a wireless access point in the FVS318N.  The FVS318N has a single band 802.11b/g/n radio and can be configured to run four separate virtual access points (SSIDs).  Configuration is separated into three tabs, one for the access points, another for profiles, and one for radio settings.

Each access point on the FVS318N is assigned to a specific VLAN, and can be enabled and disabled on a specific time schedule.  MAC based security where devices can be allowed or blocked based on MAC address is also defined by access point.

Each access point is configured with a profile to define security parameters.  Choices within profiles include broadcast or hidden SSID;  Open, WEP, WPA, WPA2 and WEP+WPA2 security; and RADIUS server authentication.

WLAN configuration

Figure 8: WLAN configuration

The FVS318N's radio has multiple options. It can run in b and g mode, g only, n and g mode, or n only.  Channel spacing, Side Band Control, Channel, Transmit Power and Transmit Rate are all configurable.

I had no problem connecting a Windows 7 laptop with an Intel 6300 802.11n chip to the FVS318N and getting a signal throughout my house.  The FVS318N has a useful status page that shows connected wireless devices as shown in Figure 8 below.  Tim covered the FVS318N’s wireless performance here and the FVS318N is in the Router Chart database.

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