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NETGEAR FVS318N ProSafe Wireless-N 8-port Gigabit VPN Firewall Reviewed

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ProSafe Wireless-N 8-port Gigabit VPN Firewall
At a glance
ProductNETGEAR FVS318N ProSafe Wireless-N 8-port Gigabit VPN Firewall   [Website]
Summary8 port router with Gigabit Ethernet ports, 2.4 GHz b/g/n AP and built-in 12 IPsec and 5 SSL endpoints. Includes service QoS, up and down bandwidth limiting, session limiting and traffic metering.
Pros• Gigabit ports with VLANs
• SSL and IPsec VPN
• Supports L2TP for Win 7 native client VPN
Cons• Relatively slow routing speed
• Slooww admin interface
• Jumbo frames on only some ports
• Difficult L2TP client config

Typical Price: $151  Compare Prices  Check Amazon

Introduction

NETGEAR has improved its FVS318 Firewall/VPN appliance since we reviewed the FVS318G in 2009 by adding wireless capability, increasing performance, improving features.

Physically, the 318N is identical to the 318G, with the addition of two wireless antennas in the back and a power switch.  The power switch was omitted from the FVS318G, I'm glad it's returned on the FVS318N.  The device remains a desktop size at 7.5” wide by 4.9” deep by 1.4” high. 

NETGEAR FVS318N Ports and LEDs
Figure 1: NETGEAR FVS318N Ports and LEDs

Front and back pictures with callouts are are shown in Figures 1 and 2.

NETGEAR FVS318N rear panel
Figure 2: NETGEAR FVS318N rear panel

Inside the metal housing (Figure 3) the 318N has a 300 MHz Cavium CPU, 128 MB of RAM and 32 MB of flash.  The processor and memory is a significant upgrade from the FVS318G, which had a 250 MHz processor, 32 MB of RAM and 8 MB of flash.  The FVS318N is passively cooled, and thus silent.

NETGEAR FVS318N board
Figure 3: NETGEAR FVS318N board

The goal of this review is to take a closer look at the 318N's features and VPN performance. I'm going to focus on the upgrades to the LAN, new VPN options, touch on the wireless functionality, and conclude with performance measurements. You might want to read Tim's New To the Charts article for routing and wireless performance tests.

Configuration

I find that examining menu options provides a high level overview of the functionality of a device.  There are 8 main menus on the FVS318N.  Each menu has 3-8 submenus.  Within each submenu are tabs and links where configurations are applied or viewed.  Table 1 shows the main menus in the far left column and their corresponding submenus. 

NETGEAR FVS318N board
Table 1: NETGEAR FVS318N menus

The menu structure of the FVS318N is easy to navigate.  Figure 4 shows the Network Configuration selected from the top main menus in the orange bar, its seven submenus below, and three configuration tabs below that.

NETGEAR FVS318N menus structure

Figure 4: NETGEAR FVS318N menus structure

Menu responsiveness, however, is too slow.  I found myself waiting for the menu to refresh when clicking from one option to another or applying configurations.  Rebooting the router is also quite slow.  It takes over 90 seconds for the device to become responsive, and another 1-2 minutes before the WAN port is back on line! 




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