When it comes to VoIP operations the Barricade is very much a work in progress as our review sample only supported the H.323 protocol for VoIP operations and required a firmware upgrade to change this to SIP. The user manual also only refers to H.323 setup and a separate guide for SIP operations has been placed on SMC’s web site. However, the firmware upgrade we were given was not available on the web site at the time of review so we recommend asking your supplier if the model on sale has this SIP upgrade already applied. We did discuss this with SMC which advised us that the firmware upgrade would be posted in the next few days.
Armed with the supplementary manual we found SIP configuration using our test account with Legend Communications surprisingly simple. After adding details of the proxy, registrar and domain servers along with our user account we were happily making and receiving phone calls over the Internet in around five minutes. The Barricade supports QoS (quality of service) and automatically prioritises VoIP traffic by default. We found voice quality reasonably good although naturally this will be affected by other Internet activities such as downloads. The backup port worked fine as we connected the router to a PSTN line, removed the ADSL connection and could continue to make phone calls.
The USB port is the least well supported feature as the neither the documentation nor the on-line help discusses its use. SMC advised that it is designed specifically for adding external storage and does not support USB printers. We did successfully test the latter using an Epson Stylus Photo 950 although this required a router reboot before it would be properly recognised and the File Server web page wasn’t aware of its existence so don’t assume it’ll work on all USB printers. USB storage is easy enough to configure as you simply connect your device whereupon it appears in the management interface under the File Server menu option. You can select partitions, browse and share existing folders, set passwords for read and write access and change the workgroup and server names to suit.
We would advise checking that the latest firmware for this router is available before buying – particularly if you want to use it with SIP. The manual also needs an overhaul but otherwise SMC is offering a lot of features for your money, plenty of strong security options for wired and wireless networking and a PSTN backup port for VoIP operations.