Netgear makes a big deal about this appliance being fully SNMP manageable although the level of information available is minimal. Using Ipswitch’s WhatsUp Professional 2006 monitoring software we were able to discover the device but Netgear’s SNMP MIB doesn’t allow you to monitor all network interfaces. All we were able to do was check for general device availability using Ping and monitor the WAN port and the LAN IP address of the unit. Even here, no utilization information was forthcoming and the appliance couldn’t even provide details of the negotiated interface speeds.
VPNs are high on the menu with support for fifty tunnels between other routers and remote clients. The client VPN setup routine is by the numbers as a wizard configures the router in three easy steps and a guide is provided for setting up the remote client utility to connect to the default policies. The biggest problem with IPSec VPNs is their inherent complexity and while Netgear’s quick start method is easy enough to use you won’t be so lucky when it comes to manual configuration as the process is overly complicated.
Netgear’s partnership with Trend Micro enables you to optionally use the appliance to ensure users are running the latter’s OfficeScan anti-virus agent on their desktops. It works with Trend’s latest Client/Server/Messaging Suite for SMB software and enables you to block Internet access to unprotected systems. The router has a single entry in its management interface for this option where you provide network details of the system running the anti-virus server components. It’s a good idea that increases the effectiveness of the router although we weren’t impressed with the fact that Netgear neither discusses this component in its documentation nor offers any support for it making it more of a token gesture than a serious attempt to deliver a complete UTM (Unified Threat Management) solution. It’ll also add significantly to the overall cost with a ten user license costing around twice as much as the appliance itself.
This little router offers plenty of security features which include WAN failover, Internet traffic controls and optional anti-virus enforcement. However, on closer inspection a number of features don’t look so sophisticated, the Trend Micro option will add significantly to the price and IPSec VPNs are still a pig to set up.