Tips for Securing Your Home Router
Seemingly minor and easily overlooked settings can still have profound security implications. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your wired or wireless home router — and by extension, your network — is as secure as possible.
Most Popular Reviews
Microsoft Windows Home Server
If you have a home network, you'll welcome the easy file sharing, remote access and the image-based backup features of Windows Home Server.
MikroTik's The Dude
This free tool delivers many of the same capabilities that you'd find in pricey network monitoring tools. As long as you don't mind tinkering, The Dude is a decent network utility that should be worth the download.
We're often asked what products we recommend. We someday
hope to have a data-driven objective rating system, but until
then, this list will have to do.
Much as we hate putting these "weasel words" here,
we feel we must, since some people think that a recommendation
is a guarantee!
Use these recommendations at your own risk, and
don't blame us if a recommended product doesn't work in
your application. There's no substitute for doing
your own homework. If this stuff were easy to choose
or use, we wouldn't be here!
If you have only a few computers sharing
the connection, and have a PC, use Sygate,
due to its low price, ease of setup, and ability to handle
most new applications without having to reconfigure it.
If you have a Mac based network, use Vicomsoft's
SurfDoubler if you can deal with only two
computers being able to share the connection simultaneously,
otherwise you need to use Internet
If you have both PCs and Macs in your network, set up
the sharing on the PC, since there are more (and less
expensive) options for it.
This is probably the toughest category to make
a recommendation for. Experience has shown that due
to differences in BSP (Broadband Service Provider) network
setups and other considerations, what works well in one situation
may be a disaster for others. Look at these recommendations,
but do your own research! Check the
Opinions if we've reviewed the product you're
interested in, and check the Forums,
If price isn't a prime consideration, you
can't do much better than the SonicWall2
product line. The SOHO2 will handle small LANs of 10 users
and the Tele2
may be better if you have heavy VPN requirements.
A stateful inspection firewall, excellent logging and
alarms, access controls, content filtering and flexible
firewall policies are among the features that make this
product well worth the money!
A good choice on the inexpensive (around $100)
end of the product spectrum is the SMC
Barricade line, which comes in 4
port, 8 port
(see below) models. The Asante
FriendlyNet is essentially the same product, but
is "officially" supported for the MacOs.
The built-in Windows (LPR based) printserver, and support
for dialup modem WAN connections tends to tip the value
scale over competitive products. SMC also does a good
job of quickly responding to problems with stable firmware
updates that don't break existing features. Logging
features are pretty weak, however.
Wireless Router: The SMC
Wireless Barricade and its twin, the D-Link
DI-713P take this one hands-down. Features
include: 3 port 10/100 switch plus 802.11b Access point,
built-in Windows (LPR-based) printserver, and support for
dialup modem WAN connection.
Wireless Access Point: No recommendation
yet for this area.
Wireless Client Cards: The ORiNOCO
PC Card Adapter has drivers for just about any OS
you can think of, excellent speed vs. range, and the best
set of client utilities that we've seen. The same
can be said for the USB
Gold, except that its driver support is limited
HomePortal line can handle LANs with Ethernet,
HomePNA, and 802.11b wireless segments, all
in one box! The HomePortal
100 sells for $200, handling Ethernet and HomePNA,
and the HomePortal 100W adds 802.11b wireless access for
Buy HomePNA2.0 products...HomePNA 1.0 is old
news, slower, and will slow down 2.0 products on the same
network. No specific product recommendations here
since all products perform about the same. However,
many users have complained about installation problems with
NETGEAR HomePNA adapters, so... fair warning!
NICs, Hubs, Switches
We have no specific recommendations for these
products and also don't generally review them. Consumer-grade
non-managed products in this category are basically commodity
products, with virtually all functionality provided by the
chipset used. Buy on price from recognized manufacturers
and avoid generic computer-show specials if you're concerned
about long-term reliability. For switches and hubs,
buy based on the layout and packaging of the product, i.e.
location of connectors and indicator lights.
We have no specific recommendations in this
area and would like to review them, but haven't gotten around
to it yet. Some things to look out for are:
Protocols supported - Some of the
inexpensive models don't support TCP/IP or Apple's Ethertalk,
but only Windows' NetBEUI and/or IPX/SPX.
Required applications - Many products
require that you install an application on the machines
that will access the print server. These apps
may be Windows-only.
Bi-directional support - If your
printer has features that require a bi-directional parallel
port (and many do), either check that the features can
be disabled in the printer, or make sure your print
server has a bi-directional parallel port!
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