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LAN & WAN Reviews

Parental Controls

Since the HS-100W's main claim to fame is its Parental Controls, I'll do a deep dive on these features. As I mentioned earlier, the Parental Control Wizard, walks you through a series of configuration steps that guide creation of a unique profile for each user. These steps are easy to understand, but if you mess up, or even change your mind, you can always click "back" to make a change, or restart the wizard entirely. After selecting the appropriate time zone, you then set up the profiles that the parental control uses.

The Parental Control Wizard, Create New Profile

Figure 11: Create New Profile
(click image to enlarge)

There are no profiles created by default, so I decided to make three profiles: one for myself, and one each for my imaginary but beloved daughter Jill and her teenage brother Jack. After entering a username and password (Figure 11), you are prompted to select the user group that the profile should belong to (Figure 12).

There are several options to choose from including: Kids, Young Teen, Mature Teen, and Adult. (Selecting HELP while on this group menu will give you a break down of what content is filtered for each category. You may also customize these groups if you feel a need to do so.)

Parental Control Group selection

Figure 12: Parental Control Group selection
(click image to enlarge)

Next, it's time to decide how to setup the Daily Time and Allowance for your profile (Figure 13). Since I did not want to restrict my own Internet access, I was sure to check the unrestricted option for Monday through Friday (I would have liked to see a single check box that would turn off all restrictions instead of having to select them individually).

The Parental Control Wizard, Daily Time & Allowance

Figure 13: Daily Time & Allowance
(click image to enlarge)

Purely for the sake of putting the HS-100W through its paces, I decided that wanted both of my imaginary children to have very limited Internet access, so I set up their Daily Time and Allowance to only allow Internet on Saturday and Sunday from 6PM to 8PM for a maximum of 30 minutes.

Once you've decided on a Daily Time and Allowance, you can use the Application Blocking feature (Figure 14) to restrict the Internet applications available to that user.

The Parental Control Wizard, Application Blocking

Figure 14: Application Blocking
(click image to enlarge)

There is a small list of programs to choose from, and restrictions may be placed on each of them for either Weekdays or Weekends. Note that ZyXEL reports that in their next scheduled firmware release you will be able to directly edit / add new predefined services for blocking. But for now, you will need to go to each user's Parental Control profile to add services that are not listed here (look inside the Available Services tab for Edit Customized Services). For test purposes, I've set Jack and Jill to have IRC blocked in Figure 14.

In the last step, you will get a Profile Summary showing the specific settings you've selected for a user. From here you can click finish and be on your merry way, or add / edit another profile. If this is the first time you have run the profile wizard, you will be prompted to activate the content filtering service which runs through Content Control from Blue Coat (formerly Cerberian). Unfortunately, the service is not free, and requires a yearly subscription of $34.95. But ZxYEL provides a 15 day free trial so you can get a feel for it before signing up.

NOTE!NOTE: The only content filtering available from the HS-100W is via the Blue Coat service. No subscription, no content controls!

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