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The Pitch & Product, Continued

When you log into the 3141 at its default IP of 192.168.1.1, you'll be greeted by a status page (Figure 2). I initially thought that the 3141 didn't like Firefox when I clicked on the links in the left-hand nav bar because nothing happened. But when I got impatient and started repeatedly hammering on a link, it finally revealed the sub-menu below it.

This is the first time I've encountered the requirement to double-click on a link in a web-browser based interface and frankly, I think this is poor UI design. Double click may be expected for OS desktops, but a single click on a browser link should do the trick.

RX3141 Status screen
Figure 2: Status screen
(click image to enlarge)

Other than the annoying double-clicking, navigation through the rest of the interface is quick and I didn't encounter any long reboots required to save settings changes. Figures 3 - 6 provide a taste of what the controls look like, which casual networkers will probably find difficult to navigate. Note that the admin screens don't scale with browser window width and the "help" info found in the right-hand column on each page makes for a particularly wide page.

PPPoE setup

Figure 3: PPPoE setup
(click image to enlarge)

Security settings

Figure 4: Security settings
(click image to enlarge)

Inbound ACL setup

Figure 5: Inbound ACL setup
(click image to enlarge)

Virtual server setup



Figure 6: Virtual server setup
(click image to enlarge)

Given the state of the art in (relative) user friendliness found in routers from Linksys, D-Link and NETGEAR, the RX3141 pales in comparison. For example, I think many users will find the requirement to also set an inbound ACL rule for any virtual server or "special application" (triggered port mapping) to be confusing, annoying or both. And the lack of any on-screen prompt or "help" to inform you of this requirement just compounds the problem.

The routing feature set isn't competitive with current routers, either. You won't find content or parental controls (other than the difficult to understand non-schedulable outbound ACL feature), nor are there any bandwidth controls or Quality of Service (QoS) features either. And logging is bare-bones, given the lack of syslog or SNMP trap support and the fact that you can't save, email, or even clear the log!

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