Just when you thought the all-in-one communications router couldn’t get any more versatile along comes Billion and adds yet more features to this concept. The myGuard 7500GL from this Tiawanese manufacturer comes with the usual integrated ADSL modem and four-port Ethernet switch, adds an SPI firewall and 802.11b/g wireless operations to the mix, stirs in a dollop of VPN client/server support and then sprinkles on an interesting garnish of security features making this look like a tasty all-round communications device for the home and small business.
Features that make the 7500GL appealing to home users are those provided by Billion’s partnership with Trend Micro. Trend Micro’s Home Network Security Services come bundled with the router and provide a complete protective umbrella that includes measures against viruses, spam, hackers and spyware but also strong parental controls. The latter feature is of particular interest as it provides extensive content filtering to block objectionable web sites. The majority of ADSL routers claim to provide this but in reality they offer nothing more than simple URL filtering which requires the user to create their own custom list of web site addresses they want to block. The 7500GL is much smarter as it uses a service hosted by Trend Micro where it queries a remote database to see if the requested URL is listed. A range of predefined categories include pornography, drugs, violence, gambling and alcohol and you can choose which categories you want to block. This method does result in an almost imperceptible pause during this phase but the router also uses a local cache which does speed the process up.
Installation starts by pointing a web browser at the unit’s default IP address where you’ll be greeted by a quick start wizard to get the ADSL portion up and running. The auto-scan tool failed to work with our BT Broadband connection but after manually adding VPI and VCI values along with our login details we achieved Internet access in a matter of minutes. As soon as a PC accesses the Internet for the first time Trend Micro swings into action and automatically installs its Internet Security Suite plus an extra button on the browser toolbar for viewing the status of your subscription account and running security scans.
Make your next task to switch the firewall on, since this is left off by default. Three security settings are available which don’t affect the basic SPI firewall but determine the number of preset packet filters that are activated. A fourth setting blocks all inbound and outbound access requiring users to define their own packet filters. A handy feature is mail alerting as you can specify one POP3 mail server along with the user account and leave the router to periodically check for new messages. If it finds any messages, an alert LED on the front panel lights up. Wireless support extends to 802.11b/g clients and both WEP and WPA encryption are supported. You can also stop SSID broadcasts and create MAC address lists to deny or allow wireless access to specific clients.