Although my focus in this review will be on the WMG as a media server, I first wanted to try the WMG out just as a standard wireless router. Without connecting it to my existing network, I powered it on, noticed a new wireless SSID being broadcast (viewsonic) and connected to it with my notebook. Based on the IP address that my notebook leased from the WMG's DHCP server, I took an experienced guess and pointed my browser to 192.168.1.1 where I was greeted with a login page. I then typed in a password of "admin", hit the "login now" button and was granted access to the WMG's admin server.
Since I wanted to add the box to my existing home network, my plan was to create a little subnet for the router to manage. The Primary Setup screen had typical controls for setting up the SSID, wireless channel, timezone, etc. that I stepped through to make my changes. I also changed the LAN network to be 192.168.2 .1 so as not to collide with my existing 192.168.1.1 network.
The screen had a notice to make sure to hit the Apply button to finalize changes, which I did at each step. One curious setting I found was the Connection Type in the Internet section. It was defaulted to Dynamic IP Setting - which would be appropriate for the majority of people. But since I was adding the box to my existing network, I wanted to give the WMG a fixed IP address. The option menu let me change the setting to Fixed IP address, but there was nowhere to specify what the IP address was! Hitting the Apply button just gave me an error, so initially I just left the Connection Type set to Dynamic IP.
For security, I went into a sub menu and specified 128 bit WEP encryption. There was an option for the more secure WPA variation, but it was not selectable. So I hope WPA support is planned for future upgrade. In order to secure the administration of the router a bit, I went into the Advanced Setup screen and found a menu to change the administration password from "admin" to something less obvious.
Next, I found a menu to change the LAN side DHCP server IP range to be in my 192.168.2.X network. After navigating back through all of the screens to review that my changes were still there and correct, I powered down the unit and moved it to a location where I could plug the WAN Ethernet connection into my router. But when I powered the unit back up, I was surprised to see that my new SSID was not being broadcast. The original default SSID was in use and encryption was turned off.
A bit of further poking around revealed that all of my changes were gone and everything was back to the default state! After a couple of attempts at re-entering all my settings and still finding them not saved after power down, I finally located a selection under the Advanced Utilities section called Save Settings. Evidently, despite the notice that selecting Apply would "finalize" the changes, nothing is permanently saved until Save Settings is executed. Once I did this, my settings were present on the next power-up.
At this point, the box was functioning as a standard router and I could connect, get assigned an IP address, and access the Internet. As a quick, unscientific test to see how well the WMG120 performed as a wireless access point, I took signal strength readings from six different locations throughout my house and compared the results obtained using my Linksys WRT54G as AP. In all cases, the signal strength of the WMG was equal to or higher than the WRT54G. Averaging all of the readings, I found the WMG to have about a 5% higher signal strength over my tested range.
As I was setting the device up earlier, I noticed a lot of advanced menus for routing, logging, access control, Parent (sic) control, outbound policies, inbound policies, etc. I didn't check all of these features , but decided to try a few.
My attempts to exercise the Logging features was interesting. The WMG can be set to log hack attempts, login failure, configuration changes, probes, etc, in various ways including email. So I turned everything on in the most verbose setting and set it up to email me results. Next I attempted to trigger some alerts by scanning the box, changing settings, failing to log in, etc. Nothing seemed to trigger an alert. The entire time I had the box, I neither received a log email nor saw any entries in the WMG's internal log page.
I also tried out the parental control features with much the same results. Nothing I did seemed to make any difference and I was able to browse to sites that should have been blocked.