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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SpeedStream 2614 4-Port DSL/Cable Router
Author: Joseph Moran Review Date: 8/6/2002
Model Number: SS2614 ($99)
The $99 SpeedStream 2614 has everything you need in a broadband router, and
then some. In this case, the "and then some" consists of a built-in
print server and a serial port to be used for modem backup. These are two immensely
useful features, and I wish all routers included them.
No e-mail alerts
The unit's more run-of the mill features include four switched 10/100 ports,
DHCP server, DMZ, virtual servers, special application support, client filtering
and a firewall feature.
The 2614 chassis is made of sturdy black plastic. My one complaint is that
the LAN ports are on the front of the unit, which makes cable management more
difficult. However, this was necessary in order to keep the unit svelte while
still accommodating the parallel and serial ports.
Documentation (which you probably won't need, incidentally) and the printer
driver are included on a CD. SpeedStream includes a one-year warranty, which
they'll promptly double if you register the product with them.
Setup and Installation
The SpeedStream's Web-based administration console is extremely clean and simple.
All router configuration functions are organized under four main pages. Navigating
from page to page is quick, with none of the delay sometimes found in some router
You start by running Simple Setup, which prompts you for all the requisite
information to get the 2614 up and running with your broadband connection. The
unit supports four WAN schemes; dynamic address, static address, PPPoE, and
dial-on-demand routing. You can configure the dial-up to automatically kick
in should the broadband connection go down. We had no difficulty getting the
2614 to work correctly with our Road Runner cable modem connection.
Naturally, the 2614 can function as a DHCP server, and you can adjust the lease
time, choosing from nine pre-defined increments, ranging from a half-hour to
The 2614's status page offers a one-glance view at a variety of important information,
including the status of the Internet connection, whether or not various router
features are enabled, and even such minutiae as the firmware version and the
number of clients connected.
The status page is also where you can view the two router logs; one for security
and one for DHCP clients. The information, particularly for security, has limited
usefulness as presented. The security log has a tendency to fill up with DHCP
DISCOVERs, making it tough to locate entries that may indicate legitimate security
Moreover, the 2614 does not send e-mail mail security alerts. As a result,
the only way you'll know about an attempted unauthorized access is by manually
fishing through the logs on a regular basis. You can, at least, save the logs
to the desktop as a text file.
You can set up router access from a remote IP address. I also liked the fact
that you can reset the router to factory defaults through software, saving the
trouble of having to perform procedures like holding down a reset button while
power cycling the unit.
Access Control and Security
The 2614 lets you control client access to network services. You can restrict
access (based on IP address) and specify traffic types and port ranges. A nice
touch is the ability to restrict access based on day and time (in increments
of one hour).
The firewall doesn't offer any user-configurable parameters; you simply enable
it or not. It is pre-configured to detect and prevent a variety of common IP
attacks. I'd prefer a little more control, but I did not find any apparent weaknesses
when exposing the router to various online port scanners.
Start with the SpeedStream 2614's ease of setup, clean interface, and features
as modem backup and print server, and you're well advised to consider the 2614
for use in a home or home office environment, especially at a rock-bottom price