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Wireless Reviews

Setup and Administration

Setup was a little confusing, but once I got the hang of the user account generation system I had little trouble navigating the interface. The B-4000 comes set up to be a DHCP client on its WAN side and has its built-in DHCP server enabled, so if your wired or wireless client is set to obtain its IP address info automatically, you'll be accessing the Internet with little trouble. But ZyXEL doesn't supply a printed "quick start" sheet with the basic login info, so you'll need to load the User Manual CD and browse to Chapter 3 to find that the B-4000's admin interface is located at 10.59.1.1.

Once you log in, you're directed to the Wizard Setup portion of the interface. The Wizard steps you through setting up the WAN connection and basic wireless settings, but then gets into some questions that you'll probably need to read the User Manual in order to correctly answer them. One of these head-scratchers is the Account Generator wizard shown in Figure 3, which I'll get to later.

ZyXEL B-4000: Account wizard

Figure 3: Setup screen
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

I did like, however, that the last wizard step presents you with the opportunity - but doesn't force you - to change the admin interface password. I'd prefer to see it as one of the first steps, however, because some users might switch out of the wizard before hitting it.

If "wizards" aren't your thing, don't worry. A link bar at the bottom of each wizard screen gives you the opportunity to switch to the Advanced Setup mode. Figure 4 shows the WAN/LAN page of this mode, so you can get a flavor for that mode.

ZyXEL B-4000: Advanced Setup - WAN/LAN screen

Figure 4: Advanced Setup - WAN/LAN screen
(click on the image for a full-sized view)

The B-4000 can handle pretty much any WAN connection type with the exception of the BigPond mode offered by some other products. But on the positive side, it lets you control both MTU and MSS settings for PPPoE and PPTP connections, and has both Connect on Demand and Keep Alive time controls.

The interface is pretty responsive, but many changes require a 30 second reboot cycle (although some reboots are as short as 5 seconds) and the browser doesn't auto-refresh to let you know that the Gateway is back in business. I also didn't like that you had to log back in after every reboot and navigate back to the page you were on. The unchangeable idle-time admin logout (5 minutes, I think) wasn't a positive point either.

The good news is that the admin interface supports connection via SSL, i.e. https, via either a self-generated certificate or one from an authentication authority that can be uploaded into the Gateway.

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