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).
The SPI features include:
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!