VoIP providers are transitioning from supplying simple Analog Telephone Adapters (ATA) to bundling in full-fledged broadband routers with the ATA function built in. Jim Hubbard takes a look at the Vonage version of the Linksys WRT54GP2.
Our recent look at Viewsonic's WMA100 Media Adapter found a basically good product, but with rough edges in its user interface. This time Jim Buzbee looks at the companion WMG120 Media Gateway, which he found lacking in a number of important areas.
The ability of most routers to control the who, what and when of Internet access leaves much to be desired. Micah LaCombe found that ZyXEL's HomeSafe Parental Control Gateway is an exception to this status quo and doesn't command a premium price either.
Next in our series of reviews of Open Source based router / firewalls is SmoothWall Express 2.0. Jim Hubbard takes a look at this free, user-friendly distro, that's speedy enough for pretty much any connection you can throw at it.
Linux is definitely becoming more of a real option for desktop users, with many distributions available that anyone comfortable with Windows can install and use. Point Clark Networks' ClarkConnect has taken the same user-friendly approach and converts any Pentium-class box into a dedicated Linux-based Gateway / Server that can be installed and configured by mere mortals and puts many commercial products to shame. And did we mention that it's free? Jim Hubbard puts ClarkConnect through its paces.
SMC's 'high powered' 802.11g router has a lot to offer and differentiates itself from the pack by including a USB print server. But though the easy things were easy, some of the advanced features may require a little work to figure out.
Our quest to find SOHO routers with built-in bandwidth management lead us to examine OvisLink's multi-functional router. We found that it does provide bandwidth management - along with a host of other interesting features - but that it isn't all we'd hoped for.
Most 802.11g routers battle to differentiate themselves by touting high speeds that most users will never achieve in real-life use. ZyXEL's G-2000 802.11g router takes a different approach by including a built-in user authentication feature that can add real value to home and small business users.
Sure off-the-shelf router / firewalls are cheap and easy to set up, but sometimes they just don't get the job done, especially for more sophisticated requirements. And "big iron" products will put too big a dent in most small business budgets. Fortunately there are Open Source alternatives. Jim Hubbard takes a detailed look at one that can do just about anything you'd want it to do, while leaving your wallet alone.
Simply put, ASUS' SL1000 is one hell of a powerful little router and our test bench is still smoking! But it has a user interface that only true networking techies can love. ASUS agrees on this last point so it'll be awhile before you can buy it, but you can at least read about it now.