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Asanté FriendlyNet Wireless Cable/DSL Router

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 Author: Tim Higgins
 Review Date: 7/24/2001

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Model: FR3002AL-1PCM


The FR3002AL is an 802.11b wireless version of Asante's FriendlyNET router. It's a decent performer, but Asante made a few trade-offs in the design that you might not like...

Pros:

- Fast routing
- Good wireless performance
- Built-in print server supports Windows, MacOS, and UNIX/Linux

 
Cons:

- Overpriced
- Only two LAN ports
- No dialup support
- 50% WEP-enabled throughput decrease

 

Review Updates

None yet

 

The Basics

 
Indicators
  • Power

  • 100Mbps, Link/Activity, for each of two LAN ports

  • Link/Activity  for the WAN port

  • Wireless Activity

  • Ready/Test

  • Printer active

  • Status

Connectors
  • One RJ45 10BaseT for the WAN

  • Two RJ45 auto sensing 10/100BaseT LAN

  • Power

  • Printer (25p female D parallel port)

Comes with
  • printed User Manual

  • printed Wireless User Manual addendum

  • CDRom with HTML setup guide, PDF copy of User guide, and more

  • printed Quick Installation Guide for the Wireless Card

  • driver and documentation CD for the Wireless card

  • driver and documentation CD for the router

  • 120VAC power supply

Other 
  • "Patch" style antenna on removable PC card radio. No way to attach a "booster" antenna.

  • NO Hardware Reset switch

  • NO Uplink or Normal / Crossover switch for LAN Ports (see this page if this concerns you!)

 

Introduction

 

Basic Design


NOTE: I reviewed the original FriendlyNET last July (...boy has a lot happened in inexpensive routers in a year!).  Since then, Asante has changed the admin interface and feature set enough that I thought it was worth including new screen shots and another feature summary.  You might find it helpful to read the original FriendlyNET review if you need a little more explanation of features.

The AL's design is essentially the same as the non-wireless FriendlyNETs, except for the following changes:

  • new 3 port 10/100 switch chip is used

  • serial COM port and dialup capability deleted

  • 2 10/100 LAN ports vs. four

  • PC Card slot added for the wireless card

With only two LAN ports and no uplink port, it would have been nice if Asante had used a switch chip that provided auto MDI / MDI-X capability like other newer routers are doing.  But they didn't, so if you need help with port expansion, just see this page.

 

Routing Features


The AL contains a pretty full set of routing features and the screen shots below show most of what you can do.  All broadband connection types except for RoadRunner TAS login are supported, but note that the dialup capability has been removed.  Logging features are still very basic, with no data traffic (Web site) logging, or ability to save or clear the logs.

Asante Wireless Router - WAN Type Page  Asante Wireless Router - Status Page

For Access Control, four sets of port ranges can be defined to block or pass specific port ranges for groups of IP addresses.  Port forwarding includes a "Popular Applications" (Triggered port forwarding) feature with 4 sets of port ranges with a single trigger port for each, 20 "Distributed Servers" for single port forwarding, and one DMZ port for placing a single computer completely outside the AL's firewall.

Asante Wireless Router - Security Page (upper)  Asante Wireless Router - Security Page (lower)

Asante Wireless Router - Advanced Page

That about covers the Routing Features. 

 
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