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HND Features

HND provides three main security functions: Safe Web Surfing; Parental Controls; and Network Activity Reporting.

Safe Web Surfing uses a website database maintained by TrendMicro for real-time blocking of potentially dangerous sites. This feature's controls allow settings of Maximum, Medium and Minimum security (Figure 4) and apply to all devices connected to the router, such as networked game consoles, in addition to computers. There is no ability to tweak any of levels, however; what you see is what you get.

Safe Web Surfing settings

Figure 4: Safe Web Surfing settings

The second HND function is Parental Controls, which include content filtering and scheduled access.  There are four pre-defined rules for content filtering that can be applied to the entire network or to individual users.  Those rules are labeled as Kids (<13), Young Teen (13-15), Mature Teen (16-17), and Adults (18+).

Each of these rules will block sites based on 32 categories (Table 1).  In addition to the four preset rules above, you can create custom rules with selected categories. You can also apply Internet access timers to each rule.

Categories
Abortion Pay to Surf
Alcohol/Tobacco/Drugs Peer-to-peer
Alternate Journals Personal Network Storage Services
Blogs/Forums Personal Websites
Chat/IM Personals/Dating
Crime Photo Searches
Cult Pornography
Email Religion
Gambling Ringtones
Games Sex Education
Hacking Shopping/Auctions
Hate/Racism/Violence Social Networking
Homosexuality Society/Lifestyle
Mature Content Software Downloads
Media Downloads/Streaming Weapons
News Groups Web Advertisements
Table 1: Parental Control Categories

As a test, I set up a custom rule to allow Internet use from 6 AM - 9 PM, seven days a week, and block website categories of Alcohol/Tobacco, Crime, Gambling, Pornography, and Weapons.  I applied this rule to my laptop and started surfing to see how well the restrictions worked.

The general Internet access timer feature was very effective.  Once I hit the 9 PM "off" time I had set, I was presented with the message in Figure 5 for any website I was trying to reach.

Access timer message

Figure 5: Access timer message

The access timer feature applies to all Internet access, not just web browsing. With access blocked, I couldn't even ping yahoo.com. I also applied a timed access rule to our PS3 to see if it would work on a gaming console. Indeed, with the schedule in place, our PS3 could not connect to multiplayer online games after specified hours. I liked this schedule feature. It means a "lights out" rule can be applied and you can be sure the specified devices in the house aren't getting on the Internet.

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