It's been nearly two years in the making but Netgear's latest business class firewall router finally amalgamates an ADSL2/2+ modem and Ethernet broadband connection into a single unit. Netgear advised us that its stringent beta testing program threw all up sorts up broadband related issue mainly due to the unreliable services provided by many ISPs so it's only now that its decided to offer the integrated modem as an option.
Along with a choice of broadband connections the DGFV338 delivers a NAT/SPI firewall, teams this up with standard 802.11b/g wireless services and supports IPsec VPN tunnel pass-through and termination. Alas, Gigabit Ethernet still isn't on the menu as you get an octet of Fast Ethernet ports instead. Considering it has taken so long to bring this product to market Gigabit would have been good but at least the Fast Ethernet ports keep the costs down to a very affordable level.
No wizards are provided for installation but none are necessary as we found this easy enough. The web interface sees some welcome graphical refreshment and is consequently easier to use than some of Netgear's older ProSafe security products. Using the internal ADSL modem as our main link we ran the auto-detect option, which correctly identified VPI and VCI values leaving us to enter our account details. We also tested using the Ethernet port with an intelligent ADSL modem and found the process just as painless.
With a pair of broadband connections in the mix link failover comes into play. Coined rollover, you can designate either interface as the primary link and if this fails it will automatically swap over to the secondary link. Three WAN failure detection modes are available as the router can execute lookups on the WAN DNS servers or one you provide yourself or you can enter an IP address that it'll ping at preset intervals.
The traffic meter can be used to limit monthly Internet access for all connected clients on the primary broadband connection. It keeps an eye on WAN activity and can block all further access if a preset limit in MBs has been reached. You can apply limits to both directions or to downloads only, add a temporary increase to the limit and also block all traffic except email. General traffic statistics are provided and show inbound and outbound volumes in MBs and the percentage of the limit that has been consumed.