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 Netgear RO318 Cable/DSL Security Router

 Author: Tim Higgins
 Review Date: 5/29/2001


Model: RO318

Pros:

- Fast
- Stateful Inspection firewall
- Keyword content filtering with scheduling
- Email-able logs and security alerts
- Auto MDI/MDI-X LAN ports

Cons:

- Nothing major


Review Updates

9/1/01 Port filtering added by 3.26 firmware. Go to the Help page for the download link and info.


The Basics

Indicators
  • Link/Activity, for each of eight LAN ports

  • 100 BaseT for each of eight LAN ports

  • Link for the WAN port

  • Activity for the WAN port

  • Power

  • Test

Connectors
  • One RJ45 10BaseT for the WAN

  • Eight RJ45 auto sensing 10/100BaseT LAN

  • Power

Comes with
  • CD with PDF copy of User guide and Applications Notes

  • one page printed Installation Guide

  • one UTP Normal cable

  • 120VAC power supply

Other
  • Hardware Reset switch

  • Power switch

  • NO Uplink or Normal / Crossover switch for LAN Ports, but ports are auto-MDI/MDI-X sensing (see this page for more info).


Introduction


The RO318 is NETGEAR's 8 port follow-on to its new RP114 (reviewed here), with schedulable, keyword-based content filtering, and email-able web-traffic logs. They've also upped the ante and added a Stateful Inspection Firewall. You'll lose something, at least temporarily, that most NETGEAR routers have had up until now, however...


The Details


Like its little brother, the RO318 omits the serial COM console port that the popular ZyXEL ZyNos based RT311 (reviewed here) and 314 (reviewed here) routers had, but adds auto-MDI/MDI-X sensing LAN ports. This means that it doesn't matter whether you use a straight or crossover cable, or whether you daisy-chain to a normal or uplink port -- the LAN ports will automatically adjust! Very handy!

The 318 sports the newer 3.25 firmware browser based admin console, which supports 10 sets of forwarded port ranges, along with all the other RP114 browser based features. I won't repeat the feature list or the screen shots here, just go to the RP114 review if you need to see them.

As with previous ZyNos based products, you won't find the ability to set Access Controls (Port filtering) in the browser admin interface. The RO318, however, is the first of the line to drop the Telnet-based ZyXEL "SMT" console, so you won't be able to control Port Filtering until NETGEAR releases a firmware update. (Update 9/1/01 Port filtering was added by 3.26 firmware.) This probably isn't an issue for many users, since configuring port filters in NETGEAR routers up until now has been an exercise left for networking veterans, or more adventurous newbies!

Tip: You can still Telnet into the RO318, where you will be greeted by a "RAS>" prompt once you login. This is the ZyNos "CI" (command interpreter) interface, which you can find a reference for on this page.

On a positive note, however, NETGEAR has given the 318 a Stateful Inspection Firewall vs. the RP114's plain NAT firewall (see this page if you need an explanation of the difference).

NETGEAR RO318 - Security screen NETGEAR RO318 - Security Event Log screen

The SPI features include:

  • Immediate or scheduled emailing of "attack" detections.

  • Security log page that includes time-stamped entry with short description of the alert

I didn't throw any DoS attacks at the 318, but my port scans were caught, logged, and emailed to me without a problem. Note that the 318 automatically finds a network NNTP server and sets the internal real-time clock (you can set the time zone). This gives you time-and-date time-stamps for all logged events... none of the elapsed-time-from-startup stuff that some other products have!

Router Performance


My trusty qCheck suite revealed the following about the RO318's performance:

Firmware/Driver Version:

3.25(CE.1) | 5/4/2001

Test Description

Qcheck Transfer Rate (Mbps)

[1Mbyte data size]

Qcheck Response Time (msec)
[10 iterations 100byte data size]

Qcheck UDP stream
[10S@500Kbps]

(Actual throughput- kbps)

(Lost data- %)

WAN-LAN

4.7

5 avg.
6 max.

475

4%

LAN-WAN

4.6

5 avg.
8 max.

481

5%

(Details of how we tested can be found here.)

Comments: A little slower than the RP114 (probably due to the SPI), but plenty fast for most any broadband application.

Summary


The RO318 should be another popular product for the Gear guys! Nicely priced, 8 ports, and fast, with emailed security alerts, and a web admin interface that covers most all of what you need. As soon as they add Access Controls / Port filtering to the web admin interface, they can take the rest of the day off!


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 Opinion Summary:     79.2%   |   20.8%  |   out of 48 reviews  
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