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LAN & WAN Reviews

Basic Features and Internals

The 8200 comes in USR's signature plastic charcoal gray enclosure used by many other of their broadband networking products. But the 8200 has a larger footprint - a little over 9 inches wide and 5.5 inches deep. However, USR has thoughtfully arranged the cutouts in the 8200's case so that the smaller footprint USR devices can still be stacked on top.

All LEDs are on the front panel and bright and readable from a wide angle. The indicator lineup includes PWR, WAN, USB1, USB2, 1394(Firewire) and Link/Activity/Speed for all four switched 10/100 LAN ports, which are on the rear panel.

Also bringing up the rear (panel) are the 10/100 WAN port, power socket, and Reset / Reset-to-Factory button. You won't find a Normal/Uplink switch or shared Uplink port because all ports - WAN and LAN - are auto MDI / MDI-X. This means they'll figure out how to connect to whatever you plug in, no matter whether you use a normal or crossover cable.

My pre-production sample didn't come with final retail packaging, but had a UTP cable, printer quick install poster and CD. In addition to an HTML-based User Manual, the CD has a demo copy of Norton Internet Security and a bandwidth speed monitoring utility. The User Manual has the essentials, but lacks a lot of information that I think you'll need to properly configure the 8200's firewall.

The 8200 is based on Intel's IXP422 network processor with 16MB flash and 64MB of DRAM, running Jungo's OpenRG, which is - according to USR - based on Linux kernel 2.4.19. VIA VT6202 and 6307S Host Controllers provide USB 2.0 and Firewire capabilities respectively. Note that the IXP422 has integrated hardware acceleration for the SHA-1, MD5, DES, 3DES, AES encryption algorithms used by IPsec tunnels.

USR is considering releasing a SDK to allow third-party development of additional capabilities, but they have work to do to implement safety mechanisms so that a module having problems won't shut down the rest of the router.

My performance testing found the combination of IXP422 and OpenRG to be a pretty powerful combination, but I'll save those results for later.

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