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.
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Although the Asante, SMC, and now 3Com products are all sourced from
AMIT, the 3C510 is a closer relative
of the SMC Barricade than the Asante. The 510 uses a different
revision board than the SMC, but the components and layouts are virtually
- Built-in Windows print server.
- Supports dialup WAN connection
- Flexible port range mapping with outbound
- Limited Access Controls
- Can't set LAN IP address
- Very limited LAN DHCP controls
page for a summary of the 3C510's features.
Link/Activity, for each of four LAN ports
Link/Activity for the WAN port
One RJ45 10BaseT for the WAN
Four RJ45 auto sensing 10/100BaseT LAN
Printer (25p female D parallel port)
COM (9p male D serial port)
CD with PDF copy of User guide, and Windows
printer sharing software
one page printed foldout "Installation
two 10 foot Normal UTP cables
100-240 VAC Power supply
NO Hardware Reset switch
NO Uplink or Normal / Crossover switch
for LAN Ports (see this
page if this concerns you!)
The 3Com Home Ethernet Gateway is essentially the same product as the
SMC 4 port Barricade router, but in a stylish white case, older firmware,
and access controls limited to four common services, and other feature
I took the
boards for both products out of their cases and forgot to label them.
When it came time to reassemble them, I had to fire 'em up and look
at the admin pages to tell which was which! D'oh!
can load AMIT or SMC firmware into your 3C510 (see
this page), but remember you're on your own for tech support
if you do!
If you're not familiar with what the SMC Barricade can
do, check out the Asante FriendlyNet
review (that was the first of the AMIT clones that I reviewed,
so it has the most feature details), or check the Router
Comparison chart. I'll just focus on the differences:
- The 510 is based on AMIT's 1.89 version
firmware. At the time of review, SMC is at 1.91a.(read
the Release Notes here).
This means that some of the bugfixes that are in the SMC firmware
are not in the 3Com's. One that I got caught on is the
problem that causes the router to keep the WAN port connection
alive, regardless of the setting of the "Renew IP Address
forever" checkbox. My ISP connection stayed up all
night as a result! This was fixed in one of the 1.90x
revisions. There are other fixes in PPPoE functions that
you won't get either until 3Com issues new firmware.
- 3Com has limited the Access Controls (they
call it "Client Privileges") to just Web (HTTP),
Email (POP3 and SMTP), FTP, and News. You can assign
users (by IP address) to one of four groups and block access
to any of those services, or limit access to just those services.
You can't specify any other ports to control access to.
- The default IP address of the 510 is 192.168.2.1,
but this can't be changed! So if you're adding
the 510 into an existing LAN, you may have problems if the other
LAN devices aren't flexible in their IP address setup.
- You have limited control over the LAN DHCP
server. You can enable or disable it, but can't set the
starting address or range, can't enter a Domain name
for the server to hand out to clients (handy for @Home users),
and can't get a list of DHCP clients.
- You can connect up to 99 devices vs.
the SMC's 253. (Of course you'll need to add the required
ports by cascading hubs or switches.)
That's about it for the differences. Fortunately,
3Com left the built-in LPR compliant printserver, support for
dialup WAN connection, and port mapping (both single and
triggered port ranges) features alone!
Since I never ran the full Qcheck test suite on the SMC, I ran it on
the 510 to see how it would do:
[Tests run with Ver 1.89f firmware]
Transfer Rate (Mbps)
[1Mbyte data size]
Response Time (msec)
[10 iterations 100byte data size]
Comments: Results are in-line with its siblings,
and just dandy for most broadband use.
If you're going to be late to the party, as 3Com is with the "Home
Gateway" market, then you should come to the party with something
that folks will want! The Home Ethernet Gateway may be a clone,
but it's a clone of one of the best inexpensive routers on the market.
All 3Com needs to do is watch their pricing, get the missing features
added by catching up to the latest AMIT firmware releases, and they
should have a hit on their hands!